May 9, 2011 in Bolivia, Brazil, South America , , , , , ,

I was sitting on a mattress in Szymon’s appartment and it hit me – I’m going back home. In a few days I’m getting on a plane in Sao Paulo and I’m flying to Europe. I just have to get to Sao Paulo. I made that jurney the opposite way once already, so why would I have any problems going back?

I bought a bus ticket to Santa Cruz, said goodbye to all the crazy people in La Paz, the most crazy one went with me on a bus station and I’ve set up in the queue for the baggage. Guy in the window gave me a card that said Sucre, which surprised me a bit, so I started to explain to him that I was actually going to Santa Cruz. He told me that I have a ticket to Sucre. Word by word, person to person and that’s how my awkward journey started, one that went not really according to plan I had in mind. Lady in the window remembered me very well and of course my request for a ticket to Sucre. Nothing helped. Nor the explenation, that the glass in her window is bearing a great sign Santa Cruz or that I gave her a piece of paper with the same name (that one she no longer remembered). I made a research and it turned out that I won’t be able to take a bus to SC in the next days, so I went to Sucre.

A blessing in disguise, I met a girl on the bus, whose friend could arrange a flight to SC for a good price, more than that, she also had a good deal on a flight from SC to the Sao Paulo. The sun began to shine for me again. I bought the tickets, I visited the kids from Nanty at the pool and the next morning I went to the airport.

After 3 hours of waiting for my flight, it was canceled because, well, the sky was cloudy. It did not rain, no thunders, simply there were some clouds on the sky. In addition, I was told that they won’t refund my ticket, because obviously it’s not their fault. It is worth to mention that the buses in my desired direction did not run, because the roads were flooded. Oops. I had no other choice but buying a flight in another airlines and after 2 hours I was flying.

In Santa Cruz I ate ice creams, I requested a refund for the tickets in Boa airlines (they said they will send it within 2 months and there’s still nothing on the account until now) and I talked to the toucan, which bit me in the nose few months before.

At the airport, my bag went through security check three times! Despite assurances that the flight will fly on time, one hour after the scheduled start, monitors kept convincing us that everything is great.

I am in Sao Paulo, where again I’ve met the three coolest guys in Brazil. The last two days, wow, it’s hard to acknowledge that in 48 hours I’ll be on a plane to Europe. All good things come to an end eventually.

November 4, 2010 in Bolivia, Brazil, South America , , ,

Boys ate my bread so I went to buy a fresh one. I made my sandwiches and finished packing. While I was packing though, Pandora – the best cat in the whole universe – managed to get through paper wrapping to my sandwiches and licked the ham! In about an hour I was sitting in a bus to Bolivia’s border.

It was hard to leave Rio, specially that Miriam turned out to be an amazing girl and made me feel there like at home with no Tomasz around (we were talking via Skype).

The way between Rio and Sao Paulo (6h) went very fast. Then the bus filled up with families. At the night air condition got broken and children (about 6 of them) decided to make poo. Sound’s like fun – not really. It was impossible to open the window, so I went through few stinky hours. In total 30h non stop.

I was supposed to get out at Corumba’s bus terminal, but people kept repeating the Federal Police of Brazil is at the border and our bus goes there. Sounds good for me. I got kind of surprised when we crossed the Brazil-Bolivia border and stopped in Bolivia. You know, maybe I’m not a modern person, but I thought that a good-bye-stamp is required.

It turned out that border rules are quite flexible. It was hot and on brazilian side there were no cafes nor stores, so both countries agreed to make a stop on bolivian side. Usually in the afternoon hours there is a siesta time, so people wait in one of that cafes and then come back on brazilian side, for the stamp.

I had that thought, that after 30h I’ll feel like a stop in Quijarro (border city on Bolivian side), but no, following the bliss, I took another 12h bus to Santa Cruz. Let’s get wild. It was a night bus of course. I was sitting next to this lovely old woman who was pinching me each time she’d fallen asleep.

November 4, 2010 in Brazil, South America , , ,

It’s my last day in Rio and I’ve decided to spend it in Santa Teresa and Lapa. First I need to buy a ticket for a bus to Bolivia’s border on Novo Rio. In terminal’s information point I got directions to Santa Teresa, suburb located on one of Rio’s hills with a great vie on favelas and the rest of the city.

It’s a traffic hour so streets are blocked. It takes me over an hour to get there. Bus takes me all the way to the end of Santa Teresa. I ask one girl if it’s OK for me to walk by myself down the hill, she answers “NO”. Anyway, I decide to do so.

I can see other hills covered with favela’s houses. Different suburbs have different colors – green, yellow or none. There are times when I’m the only one on the street – not a good sign.

I meet two young girls and ask them for direction to the bus that can take me to Praca Xv. That’s where my real journey starts.

They say a lot, I don’t really understand. They try to say the same things slowly, I got like 20% of it. They repeat over and over again but it doesn’t make me understand more. They ask me to follow them so I do. We meet police boys sitting in a small golf car (don’t remember the name), they show me the way to the spanish stairs but also advise me not to go there by myself cause last month one german girl was killed over there. Police says I do go. I meet girls again, they talk and they talk and take me to the mother of one of them. She does just the same – speaks and speaks in Portuguese. Then we meet another couple of policemen. They take me to the first ones and on the end we decide that one of them will escort me to the proper bus stop. He tries his best but has no idea which bus is a proper one so he asks everyone around. Someone advises me to run through the highway and my guard agrees with him. What can I do, I run. When I got stuck somewhere in the middle I’ve noticed my bus and stopped it in the middle of the street. And you know what, driver was more than happy to help me. Rio is so cool!

In the evening we came back with Miriam and Blanca to Lapa for an art festival. Brazilians know how to rock and how to create.

November 4, 2010 in Brazil, South America , , , , ,

I went to all of them. Unfortunately weather wasn’t the best. I haven’t seen half naked bodies all over the sand, but I had an ice cream from Mc Donald’s and a trip home with a crazy bus driver who decided not to stop on any bus stop, so in rush hours the bus was totally empty.

November 3, 2010 in Brazil, South America , , ,

A well known all over the world statue of Christ is a must in Rio (it was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, yeah!). I’ve decided to ignore all taxi drivers and took a cog train all the way up. Someone told me it’s better to sit on a right side of the train and was totally right.

On the top of Corocovado it turns out that Christ is hiding behind clouds and it’s difficult to see even his feet. I have time, so with my new Colombian friend we’re going for a coffee. To be honest we didn’t even have to look at the statue, causes whenever it was possible to see Christ people started to scream, clap their hands and make many other sounds. Excitement around was big.

Finally, after watching it on pictures at TV and in movies, I was able to see it live, as it is. So, in reality it is small, much smaller I thought it will be.

One more thing – view over the city is just awesome.

Notes from everyday life.
Everything I like and I think is worth a moment of your time. My inspirations and objects of admiration.