Just a thought....
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Glug glug

Blog written 'on the run' - Monday, 21 February 2011

The bus this morning is impossibly full. Traffic is manic. Wonder if everyone's out in preparation for carnival.

Road rage ~ an overload of testosterone to little point ~ insanity prevails

What on earth gets into people? One guy cuts another off. Sure, not a clever move. The 'offended' party then feels the need, in relatively smooth-flowing traffic, to swing in front of the 'offender', screeching brakes, to give him a verbal lambasting. I thought they'd come to blows. After almost causing an accident himself and holding up the rest of the traffic, el 'offended' stomped off to his car and took off with tyres spinning. Eejit.

On death ~

Crazy Cousin B sent me photos of A's 'velorio' (the open coffin viewing). *shudder* The guy was no oil painting when alive either. What is it that people get out of seeing the bodies of loved ones who've 'moved on'? I have a somewhat irreverent attitude to dead bodies. The spirit of the person is no longer in that 'container', so the 'container' has no meaning to me at all. I prefer to remember the person as they were alive. I expressed my horror to Tat, who, like a good little daughter, promised me faithfully not to have a viewing of my corpse and no red roses. The guy was smothered in red roses. He was definitely not a red rose kind of guy.

The raucous parrots in the trees were having a ball with the guavas...
biting off bits and spitting them out.

While I was waiting to go into the students, I stood in front of a high wall, enjoying the noise of the parrots overhead. The locals hate them because they're noisy. I love it. They sound like squabbling families. I can almost hear wifey scolding hubby and the kids.

All was good until a woman flung her soggy carpet over the wall to dry.

Ok, so today you get a *blog* When I finished the third student at 1:30pm, it was unbearably hot. I got the bus to the metro station. At that point, the humidity was sitting at an oppressive 99.99999%

In the space of 10 minutes, the sky went from glaring sun to dark purple. As I got onto the metro, the rain came down in solid sheets. I changed lines at Sé. The trains were already sporadic at that point, though I didn't know why. While in the tunnel, there was a tremendous thunder clap outside and even the train shook. I'd gone one stop on the second line when the power went - take a crowded metro, turn off the lights and the fans (no aircon on this one) and you definitely have everyone's attention!

The doors would open ever few minutes to let air in and briefly turn the lights on. I assume that as run on backup generators. The driver announced that the doors were being kept closed because of the rain, which would pour almost horizontally, crossing the wide platform and drenching everyone in the doorway of the carriage. I eventually made my way to the door, deciding to take my chances with the rain instead of the stifling heat of the interior of the carriage.

To give you an idea, to the left of the platform was a double set of escalators and a flight of stairs. The rain was driving across those, across the platform and into the train.

I eventually found a semi-dry corner to hole up in for a while. Audio books are good company.

The view outside from my sheltered corner.
This was half an hour after the blue sky photos shown earlier!

Power was eventually restored and I gleefully snagged the next train. At my metro destination, I was in for another surprise... the area was waist deep under water! I got off the metro, headed to the exits and wondered why everyone was just standing around. This is the view that greeted me when I looked out...

The waterfall is run-off from the roof. You can just see the flood waters on the road.

To give you a better idea.
The car circled in red is up to its windows in muddy water.

Thankfully, the metro station is on higher ground. That water would need overnight to drain. I eventually made the decision to get back onto the metro and go another two stops to Tatuapé, where there is a shopping centre I could hang around in.

But the day wasn't finished with me yet...

The shopping centre was in darkness. I took the opportunity to use the bathrooms, as I had no idea when I'd get home. Public toilets during power failures are definitely an experience. One central bulb was on. The actual toilets were in the dark. With no place to hang my bag, I hung it over the doorknob and prayed it would hold. Fumbling in the dark, I did what I had to do and headed out. Um... technology fail... the taps and soap dispensers are sensor operated.  You wave your hands in front of the sensors to get water or soap. Guess what needs electricity to function and wasn't considered important enough to be generator-driven =/  Here's where my Girl Guide training came in handy (also the reason my bag is double the weight of any sane person). I had some wet wipes in there. Whew!

With the shopping centre being in the dark and already overloaded with stranded passengers, no seating was available. The rain had eased off. I decided to stand in line for if and when the bus would come to take me home. We stood... and stood... and waited... and waited... The rain started again. At about 4:30pm, the bus rolled up. Was it really only 3 hours ago that I walked out of my student's apartment?? By the time the bus came, many of the people in front of me in the queue had given up and gone who-knows-where, so I got a decent seat. There were 3 queues for this bus. It was full, but many decided to wait for the second bus. On hindsight, that might have been a good idea.

Because of the flooding, the bus had to take a detour.... and got lost! We ended up on the Tieté, then Salim Fara Maluf... then back again, almost to the starting point! I packed up laughing when I saw the metro going overhead and the familiar blue-cabled span bridge. By now the day had taken on a distinctly surreal quality. The girl next to me swore (I learned a lot of new vocabulary). She was due at work. I think it was a new job and she'd left home early to make a good impression, to little avail. In the end I told her to just relax. There was nothing she could do and surely they'd know by now that the city was flooded.

The bus in question took a few detours, avoiding the worst flooding and made its meandering way home. I didn't take more photos, as my battery was fading and I didn't know if I'd end up stuck somewhere else before getting home. While on the bus, I cancelled my evening student... I was too late to make my way to him and I'd missed my afternoon student completely. I did get a call from a prospective new student while on my way. That was nice.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

I got home at 6:40pm, over 5 hours since leaving my student. It was an entertaining, but tiring day. I think I'm still recovering. The weird thing was that, with all that water, I never got to use the umbrella I was lugging around. As natural disasters go, the flooding here wasn't bad. We're fairly used to it. Now to just fix my schedule. One thing I did discover was that there is no way I can realistically get from Santana to Mooca in an hour and I can't move MF to a later time slot or I won't get to the evening student in time.


  1. Wow! An Adventure! It's always good to have an umbrella, but they aren't much help when its raining sideways. I always enjoy taking trips with you. Its almost like being there, but with dry shoes!

  2. *whew* I bet you were waterlogged when you got home. Have you turned into a prune yet? :)

    I'm glad there'll be no photos of your wake and no overload of red roses. Morbid and creepy!

  3. girl your days always seem to be quite the adventure! at least you have a camera...and audio books. :) love how you seem to be the only one NOT on the train. gorgeous pick of the wall/windows with the fern growing out. i'm for you when it comes to funeral/viewings as well. my grandmother had the same wishes. we had a closed casket, put lots of pictures up of her, her life, mementos and had her favorite tunes playing. it was a wonderful, joyful remembrance.

  4. I'lL have to come back later to read! Looks like a good blog.

  5. wow...it is exciting to have such nature happening to one self..at least its fascinating for me to read how someones life goes on in a different part of the world..

  6. What a fantastic blog Tint, enjoyable reading, though sure hate to have been in your shoes today. Sounds like a nightmare and you still laughing?? That is why you are so very special, you just take it in your stride, I would have been in hysterics ( you know spoilt rich white bitch thingie) How on earth do you manage your students day to day when these things seem to happen. Is that seasonal rain or unusual. I mean, you are used to our SA down pours where the road turns into a river in seconds, but we drive cars you rely on public transport. I am in awe of this country you have settled in, but how do you manage???? Thank you so much for sharing. It is getting late here, waiting for Melissa to come home and Russell is tired, fell asleep in the chair , poor thing. *smile*

  7. I think I need a nap and a towel reading about your day! I love it though!!! Man - the parrot thing is SO COOL! It's little stuff like that really brings home to me how distinct each area we live in can be. Parrots! Hangin' out... doin their parroty thing! Soooo funky!

    I'm glad you were able to make it home safe and sound (and,uh, hopefully un-pruned) and hey... I guess you learned a lot that way, huh?


  8. Some of those pics should go to the sites where they sell pics, they are excellent! The parrots an dthe guavas remind me of Bella and the grapes here! Your line about "The guy was no oil painting when alive either" was classic!
    And only you would have the bus that got lost on the detour, bless your heart! What an adventure this month has been!

  9. wow the weather really offers you some challenges these days! i hope you soon will enjoy the noise of the parrots again..

  10. Good grief! U yama glug glug indeed! Can you imagine when the only traffic jam you'll encounter is a herd of sheep or cows ... Jaldi jaldi!

  11. Oh no! lol It sounds horrible for you but was quite entertaining to read.

  12. Tint really enjoyed the journey but I bleed for the guide. Have not see a fresh guava for a long time but you managed to make me smell them again. Thank you again for another grand tour. You continue to amaze and entertain at the same time

  13. Deb, quite right... the umbrella would have been useless anyway.

    Kippy, I feel permanently pruned *laugh*

    Kimmy, I think everyone else was leery of the rain. I just happened to love rain and when it's already humid, I figure I may as well be properly wet.

    Kat, no problem at all!

    Tori, life here definitely is very different.

    Marianne, I tend to laugh when most others are grumpy. I'm weird that way... or at least, my humour is. I did find the whole experience entertaining. It was definitely a change from the same old grind. The rain is seasonal. We're used to flooding. This year has been worse than normal though. I come from PE, remember? Droughts with floods every 7 years : )

    Jaime, you definitely had your share of 'different' until recently! I look at it as stories for telling around future dinner tables.

    Marty, the pics are just different. They're actually terrible quality cell phone pics. Thanks for the compliment though : ) Try Bella on watermelon (when summer comes). Our cat loves it!

    Amalie, I will go to the area with the guava tree and parrots every week.

    Katey, indeed! We were talking about the goat traffic jam earlier. Oooh what fun!! Farmer Harry is going to town on his tractor, so traffic is slow. Oh heck, let's just walk! *grins*

    Laura, not horrible at all. I love days like this. I miss the classes (no work, no pay), but, to me, it's huge fun otherwise.

    Theo, our guava's here are different. They're greenish-white, which is so odd to me. Now I feel like some guava and ideal milk or cream.

  14. "Right on" as they say here


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