October 31, 2010 in Brazil, South America , ,

Fuck it, with a little knife in my pocket I’m going to Rio by myself. My sense of direction doesn’t always work, maybe because I don’t have a map, so in case I end up in favela I’ll have some protection or I just hand over my backpack.

I got some bus directions from Miry and went to the sin city. In the first bus a very helpful local-men informed me that there is a Scottish guy in the bus and he goes to the Sugar Loaf as well. Sounds cool. I’ve met Kenny and asked if he knows how to get there, he answered “no”. It’s always better not to know together than by myself.

Pao de Azucar is pretty cool, have been sitting over there for quite some time, watching landscape of Rio, Jesus hiding in clouds from time to time and drinking beer. We also went on a little beach located between two hills.

When it started to get dark it was time for us to go back. I thought I knew which bus we should take, but well, I was wrong about it. We started to ask around. Guy from the petrol station clearly wanted to help us but of course we understood none of what he was saying. Then, we stopped a group of young people who – thank God – were speaking perfect english and explained us where to go. So, we went.

It’s already dark, we’re standing on a bus stop waiting for a bus that is not coming when it was supposed to. I start to ask around and can see that Kenny is in a first stage of panic. One guy says that the bus we’re waiting for is quite rare and most probably won’t stop over here. He also suggested we should take a different one and then change. He offers to show us where to do so. I think “great!”, Kenny is in a second stage of panic. We stop under some bridge where it’s quite dark and empty and where we are supposed to leave the bus. It’s not looking like a friendly place, it’s too dark, too empty, too scary… We run and happily we find the right bus.

Conclusions of the day:

- people in Rio are very helpful and kind,
- some of them know decent english ( LP forum says they don’t),
- it’s not necessarily dangerous after dark,
- Rio is cool!

October 31, 2010 in Brazil, South America , ,

I was supposed to meet Miry at the Niteroi bus terminal but finally I’ve decided to take taxi to her place. Vision of loosing my way in Rio and ending up in in one of favelas was too colorful. Anyway, thanks to this I’m pretty sure they will show me in in Rio’s TV. No idea what it was all about, but they interviewed a woman standing just next to me. If see a white face with a big smile – that’s me.

For the next few days apartment 1106 in Niteroi will be my home. It’s a real students place in every possible meaning of that. After few days spent with Miriam and boys I was almost ready to stay for the next few months or even better – to start studies and to live with them for next few years.

Obviously, my first question was “so, is it safe over here?”. As an answer I heard that Miry was mugged like 4 times and one of this times was when someone was pointing a gun at her. You (especially boys from Sao Paulo) can imagine the look on my face.

Most probably she noticed signs of growing panic on my face, so she decided to show me some good parts of Rio’s reality. She took me on a trip around Niteroi, we went for lunch to Steak House and had big portion of meat, farofa, veggies and cola – Yum!. Then we went to the park which was beautiful and safe during the day but apparently full of rapists in the night time. Beach was beautiful and just next to the apartment, but don’t think about swimming in the ocean – water is polluted.

We also went to visit a friend of Miry, cute girl who was living in Rio for quite some time now and still is a bit afraid of surroundings. While we were swiping a beer someone knocked on the door. A man introduced himself as as a government employee. The only thing was it was Saturday around 7 pm. Make the adding. She didn’t let him in saying she’s busy.

October 28, 2010 in Brazil, South America ,

They say that Sao Paulo is dangerous but not with three amigos by your side. Fabio, Danilo and Jackson made my stay unique and my first days in South America just great. It’s not that I’m afraid of life but after going through Lonely Planet forum I felt like even breathing may be dangerous over there and older people are waiting to kill me.

Three nice gentlemens explained, that I’m totally wrong and if I obey few simple rules and use a bit of common sense, I’ll be just fine. In the effect I’ve been wearing not too-cool-clothes – Fabio looked like from the fashion magazine (italian style), I’ve been trying not to show around my camera – Fabio was taking pictures everywhere. We were carring a shopping bag as a backpack and the most important one – we were staring at everyone plus Fabio was talking to everyone around.

How did it turned out for us? Fabio is safe, I’m safe as well, Sao Paulo isn’t that crazy dangerous and Fabio got much better pictures.

Now I got up at 6 am. Took shower and finished packing. It’s time to say goodbye to Sao Paulo and welcome Rio. First I have to get to the bus terminal by myself with two backpack. Well, piece of cake. With a look on my face saying “I’m local going to visit my family”, I took metro, changed it, then I bought a muffin. Happy to be on my way.

October 27, 2010 in Brazil, South America , , , ,

We were supposed to see the Museu de Arte Moderna in massive Parque do Ibirapuera, but instead we ended up at Bienal. Three floors of art plus Fabio equals a whole day over there. When we got all the fun that we could handle, it was time to go home. And the question “How” popped up. We had few theories, we asked around and eventually made it home by coincidence with a little help from some locals.

In Sao Paulo there are hundreds of busses going in different directions, so believe me, it wasn’t an easy game.

October 25, 2010 in Brazil, South America ,

I was supposed to get up in the morning and to go back to the airport. But thanks to my great host Ana, I had a chance to see a bit of Lisbon and a yellow tram. This city rocks, but for sure I would not be able to drive a car over here.

On a plane to Sao Paulo I’ve started to wonder if I should have a visa to Brazil. I did double-check while planning the trip, but anyway couldn’t have stopped thinking about it. I hated the food, did’t like movies. I miss British Airlines.

When I arrived, there was a long line for locals and quite a short one for foreigners. Everything went fast, I got my stamp, I didn’t need visa.

I’ve met a Buddhist guy on a plane, who suggested we should take a bus to the city together. So, here we are, it’s 8 pm and it’s dark. Anyway I’m pretty sure it will be cheeper than a taxi for 120 reals. First bus, then the second and a taxi on the end and voila. I’m in front of the house of tres amigos. It’s 10:30 pm and nobody killed me, I still have my backpack. Seems like Sao Paulo isn’t that bad.

Next the morning Fabio takes me on a market, where one can find all sorts of vegetables and fruits. Everyone is friendly, they smile and are eager to talk. I should learn some more portuguese. Thanks god Fabio knows spanish.

In the evening we take metro and visit CBD. People stare at me, I stare at them. I carry camera on a strap hanging from my neck, Jackson and Fabio say it’s safe. Then one lady passes us and says “be careful, it’s not safe to show your camera over here”. I have eyes open now all around my head.

Just before we came back home we went for a coffee which unluckily ended up on the only jumper and trousers I have. Nice!.

So, my first day in Sao Paulo is behind me and I am still alive plus in love this city!

Notes from everyday life.
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