I've got a real problem. I do not adapt into Brazil. I was born here, raised here, but I've never ceased to be amazed at the ethos you can see here. My problem, in a nutshell, it's that my values differ significantly of my people's values. For some reason which I can not put my finger on, unlike my fellow countryman and women, I hate wild parties, vulgarity, intimidation, informality, immediatism and showing off my beauty (meaning my ass) and success (meaning my buying power). Let's not forget the hipocrisy that varnishes all the previous behaviours (and which will award me with tons of angry mail if any Brazilian reads this).
Brazil is a place where push is always coming to shove. Except when you can pay for it. Then it's a gentle nudge. Then seemingly no one will notice that you got into the Congress on narc money. Or that you kept your mistress' daughter private school off public funds. But if you're a commoner, if you can't afford a blinded car with film-coated windows, then you're subject to the law of the concrete jungle. You may be assaulted, disrespected, extorted, run over by bikes. The "res publica", the public patrimony, is of no one's concern. Not the people, not the government. The sidewalks are littered, crapped upon by dogs, destroyed by parking cars, parceled by "car caretakers" that demand money to "protect" your car from themselves.
Nevermind the written rules that say (so naive!) pedestrians should have preference at all times. Here is what really works on Brazilian streets: pedestrians should fear bikes, bikes should fear cars, and cars should fear buses. Truly a food chain. If you think just because the lights are red you can put your foot on the street, think again. You could lose that foot, like I almost did the other day, when a minivan came from behind a bus and flew across my face five seconds after the red light was on. What is more shocking is that no one offered a hand, no one asked if I was alright, no one barely looked even though I had stopped in shock at the middle of the avenue. They just crossed the avenue. They knew they weren't getting another "chance" so soon. This is normal. Common Brazilian sense.
When I went to England the first time, I saw a different kind of nasty, but a nasty I could deal with. I remember that when I went out at night I used a crack on the sidewalk as a reference for where should I get off the bus. A crack on the sidewalk! You'd have to see my neighborhood's sidewalks to understand the joke. Here, an uncracked sidewalk is a landmark. No joke here. I mean it:
Copacabana Beach sidewalk
link to this post ~ 1:42 PM
I'm going backpacking in Scotland (and some other countries). Do not say when, crazy stalkers may ensue.
I've carefully chosen my hostels in order to avoid 24/7 party moods and STINKING PEOPLE. "Oh, let's save 8 bucks per night so we can spend it all on beer, shall we?" Vade retro!
If you see things my way, you must have some guidelines in order to make the best of the available data. One of them is finding out which is the town party district (there is often more than one) and STAY AWAY of the damned site. Just take a look at the map of the hostel's location and see if it's far enough from the party 'hood for you to have a nice sleepy time. It's important to sleep well to fully enjoy your trip -- you don't wanna be half asleep and irritable when you find your email-pal to be.
Another pointers are:
1 - TOO CHEAP - like I said, cheap youngsters tend to save on the littlest things so they can get very wasted. If you do the same thing due to financial reasons, you'll be stuck with all the bad things extreme drunkeness can bring with it - use your imagination about the creepy stuff, but I should warn you: it can even make you spend harder, if they trash the room, for instance. Or you can say what the hell, befriend them, overdrink them and become their problem. Your pick.
2 - AVOID BOARDING SCHOOL DISTRESS - I often wonder what kind of people craves to sleep in a dorm with another 15 unknown human beings -- and the answers I've come up with are not enticing. The least appalling of them would be a compulsive friend-maker -- a kind I've come to hate. Do not stay in huge rooms with many beds.
3 - LINEN IS GOOD - and so are towels and breakfast. But try to find out which kind of "breakfast", "linen" and "towels" you're going for. The reviews by former guests of your prospective hostel in many sites can help you do that. If you're going to travel during chilly times, you don't want to pay through your nose for an extra duvet. Or proper heating. Or a nice hot shower. Maybe it's better to go out and pay for breakfast than paying "a little extra" for the in-hostel "goods" and getting hungry, frozen and annoyed.
4 - INTERNATIONAL DORMS - A good friend of mine said that, when in hostel dorms, she usually woke up twice at night: at four, Americans and Canadians coming back drunk from the club circuit; then Koreans, Japanese and Chinese at six o'clock, so as to get their cam schedule started. That's it; there's nothing you can do about it. I intend to do some clubbing and some sightseeing, so I intend to use the Asians as alarm-clocks sometimes. If they're OK I may team up for some clubbing and sightseeing as well. Or not.
5 - MIXED OR SORTED - I've heard horror stories about mixed rooms. Most Europeans are pretty cool about it, but let's remember: in hostels and trains we have people from different cultures, who may not be used to seeing a pretty girl sleeping in their pajamas beside them. As to avoid distress and have the best experience possible, I always go with female dorms. Which, as we know, is not 100% creep-proof but it's nicer. Besides, most lesbians are against rape.
6 - JUDGING BY THE LOOK OF IT - Would you be a good secret agent? Just by the uploaded pics and info of each hostel you can muster an idea of what they actually are. While looking at those pictures, you must take into account: 1) what they did not show or say (wonder why?) 2) the kind of people who occasionally appear in the pics (party animals? jocks? evil staff?) 3) the layout of the rooms (too busy? too much light? bad mattresses?) 4) the overall cleanliness (consider the cleanliness displayed should be an exemplary one for their standards, as they were taking pics for marketing purposes).
That's all for today, folks.
link to this post ~ 9:56 AM
|blog_sibylla (English version) - by Simone Campos|
Don't bother to buy any of it, it's all in Portuguese.