Sunday, December 20, 2009

a guide to the 'optionals' of Rio...

As the name implies, I will share with you some of the things I have observed so far as 'optional', or, the rule is only a suggestion, do whatever you want.

1. Seatbelts. The law in Brazil is that the passengers in the front seat have to wear their seatbelts and are excellent (as far as I know) with following this rule. However, seatbelts in the back are NOT mandatory and often are not even available. In the several cabs we have taken so far, fastening my seatbelt isn't even my own decision to make. Let me also clarify that driving here isn't organized and orderly either. No, no, we are driving like f'ing maniacs at the speed of light until AAAAAHHHHHHH VIOLENT SWERVE WTF WAS THAT?? oh it was just an ENORMOUS pothole in the ground! We couldn't hit it! Of course, what was I thinking? PS. the prior conversation is taken from actual events.

2. One way streets. Drive the way they say or don't! It's totally up to you.

3. Stopping at red lights. This one is tricky... where the PROPER thing to do is slow down come to a complete stop for 3 seconds the BRAZILIAN thing to do is slow down look a little and keep on going! Or slow down and honk is acceptable, flash your lights is also acceptable and pretty much it becomes treated as a stop sign.
I do realize that this is because of safety here. Stopping at red lights at night presents the risk of being robbed or carjacked (all things that COULD happen) but this fascinating event happens at all hours of the day. I don't know if I buy the safety thing... ;) I kid I kid...

That completes my list of optionals for now. Stay tuned for more.

PS I'm currently watching Family Guy in Portuguese. I don't get it. :|


  1. Ha HA! No Seatbelts in the back. What a crazy mixed up country that Brazil is. It looks like you're having fun and your family looks so nice and happy to have you both there. I love reading your blog so keep updating 'cause I miss you already. :D Say hi to Ro for me. xoxox

  2. hahaha, yup, I think these 'optionals' can apply to other parts of Brazil as well (at least Salvador Bahia). I feel like I spent half my time in the car with my boyfriend driving either reminding him to wear his seatbelt (even after he has been in several accidents including one that led to hospitalization) or squeezing my eyes shut hoping it will make the ride seem less scary, lol. And I definitely find the leniency about red lights and stop signs to be entertaining!

  3. Hahaha!!! Just to add further insult to injury, riding the bus has got my scared for my life too!!! The bus drives at at least 80 kph down single lane residential streets where streets are in need of repair... I am constantly amazed at how precise the stops are when we are driving this speed. The driver never fails to overrun the ponto (bus stop)

  4. Family Guy in Portuguese.. could that show get any more messed up!

  5. Love it. Very accurate. The stop light thing is a 24/7 "optional" which really is only observed when traffic is "engarrafado".


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