17 November 2017
With the extensive use of South African sign language, we took the subway from São Paulo, which was 100m from the backpackers to Rodoviária Tietê (Tiete Bus Terminal) which cost R$4.50, all local transportation within metros costs the same no matter where you going. Bought our tickets at the station, for an overnight bus straight to Rio de Janiero for R$99 each. Let me tell you the buses in Brazil are freaking lush, the different classes from bottom up are conventional, executivo, semi-leito and leito. We got the executivo; seats recline like 45 degrees, there's a pull down foot rest albeit oddly slanted, air-conditioning, power points to charge devices and wi-fi…yip seriously. Makes me wonder if you get an actual bedroom if you choose leito. Made it from Sao Paulo to Rio like a Boss.
Can’t say the same for the trip from the bus station in Rio to the hostel though, we were at a loss… more literally lost. Got to the station which is in a dodgy part of the city at 6:00am and guess what? Still no English and guess what else? They apparently don’t understand South African sign language in this part of the country. Still feeling confident, rolling from Sao Paulo to Rio with such ease and being extremely aware of budget constraints, we threw caution to the wind and chose public transportation once again.
So it took us over 2 hours to get to the right bus stop, where we waited 45 minutes for the wrong bus which by the time we realised took us so far past the subway station that we would actually have been closer had we not taken that bus and just walked from the bus stop in the first place.
Let me remind you that we are heavily loaded like pack asses, with 65 litre 20kg backpacks on our backs and smaller 7kg backpacks on our fronts. And not to forget, the brazen Brazillian driving style mentioned in a previous post which does not exclude bus drivers. Let me also add that the metro buses have turn styles built for the anorexic, so we were missioning in less than ideal conditions.
We were rudely signaled by the bus driver to get in but obviously not being able to fit through, we had to take our backpacks off. So Dee’s still in the front with the driver after handing me her bag but still unable to turn the style or whatever you call that thing; the driver completely ignoring her pleas to let her through. It felt like forever and it must have been because we completely missed our stop a few times over. By this stage I had tripped my way through to the middle of this very full bus, trying to carry a bag in front of me whilst dragging the others behind me. Smiling sheepishly and feeling like Bambi on ice whilst being stared at by a few faces with judgement so firmly set that I almost held on for stability… However not easily fazed by adversity, I said “screw that shit” as soon as my Love made it through and she was by my side, we heaved and hurled ourselves buckle whipping knees and laddering panty-hosed shins all the way outta there whilst uttering apologies that I’m sure weren’t understood.
A little out of breath, we needed to pull ourselves towards ourselves so we stopped briefly at a little corner shop, grateful to have made it out together. Had a good chuckle about this latest shenanigans over an iced cold coka and well deserved smoke before making the long trek back to the subway station.
Smooth sailing thereafter taking the subway to Copacobana city centre and walking for about 2 or 3 kms. We arrived more than 5 hours later at Secreto Hostel where we booked 2 beds in a 10 bed mixed dorm for the next couple of nights.
Totally worth it, saving that 300 bucks on an Uber. Not to mention, the free work out.
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