Wednesday, June 9, 2010

blisters on my feet and sometimes I hate transit in Rio!

Ugh!  So.  Busses in Rio.  They are hella complicated.  First of all, there does not exist any kind of schedule to be found online nor any phone number that can help direct you to the right bus.  How do you know which bus to take, you ask?  You just have to ask people!  Seriously.  Ask the guy on the street, ask people on the bus, ask the driver.  Just ask.  And how do you know what time the bus comes? You don't. You just wait.  Wait at a stop and hope that a bus that you need comes by.  Yeah, seems a little prehistoric to me too.

So, today after my class I had to exchange something at the mall.  Well, I should have worn flip flops because walking around in pointy heels makes your feet feel like they're on fire.  I actually think I saw sparks.
Also, side note, Barra Shopping is, like, the biggest mall in the entire world and I don't know my way around.  My feet were HURTING.

Anyway, when it was finally time to take the bus I couldn't stand any longer.  So, in comes the other confusing part of Rio transit.  At a major bus terminal there is absolutely no order.  Busses come and go without any direction as to where your bus is going to stop.  Also, amongst this madness, enter buses with the same line number but heading in opposite directions.  Tonight I learned this the hard way.

I waited for quite a while for a bus heading toward Recreio.  Seems that many people were waiting a long time because when the 179 bus came in, about a hundred people ran toward it.  Actually, the line was so long that I went to sit down again because my feet were hurting worse than ever.  When I had my chance, I jumped on.  Another lady jumped on behind me and asked the driver if we were going to Recreio and I heard him answer yes.  So, I paid my R$2.35 and got the last seat.  Then, I saw the same lady get off the bus one stop later.  It was then that I realized that this bus wasn't going to Recreio, it was the same 179 going the opposite way!  PUXA!!!!!  So I ran to the woman who takes the money and confirmed what I already knew.  But she spoke to me so quickly I could barely understand and then she continued watching the road, clearly not interested in the fact that I was on the wrong bus!  All I could ask her was "ok, so what can I do now??"  She told me I had to get off the bus and cross to the other side of the highway street.  No, actually it's a highway.  A major one.  With like 12 lanes.  And nowhere to cross.  Yet, I'm still expected to cross.  This is Rio.

The thing that really pissed me off is that I asked her for my money back but she said that because I had already gone through the turnstile, I couldn't have it!  AND they don't have transfers here.  PUXAAAA!!!!  MY FEET HURT!!!!

So, I got off the bus because what other choice did I have?  By that point, I'm serious, my feet had swollen up and I had crazy blisters happening.  The distance across the highway looked about 10 miles long.  The traffic didn't seem to be be stopping in either direction.  I was literally (figuratively) (haha anyone watch How I Met Your Mother?) dragging my feet behind me.  One. At. A. Time.
But still, I walked.

I walked to a corner.

And I caught a cab.

My feet hurt.  :(


  1. I feel ya (the bus thing, not the pointy toe heels). I have grumbled under my breath more than a hundred times at the lack of a route map or schedule. I used to live in San Francisco where everything was down to the minute (when on schedule). They even have little LED screens at many bus stops tracking in real time how long it will be for the next bus.

    But I do like that busses here will often stop and pick you up anywhere, even if you have not made it to the official stop yet. (Never in SF.) And they are fast.

    I've found a resource for Rio busses on the City's official guide website. Not perfect, but better than nothing. Check it out.

  2. I have done the same thing! Not in Recreio so a little more mellow of a situation. No highways in Zona Sul.

    But you do have to love that we can hail buses like cabs. That is pretty cool!

  3. Yeah, I never understood how people get to where they're going using buses in our small town. There is just no centralized source of information.

    Also, at least in this city, the lines just go in big circles, and rarely backtrack. So you can't assume that if you take one bus to go somewhere, you can't take the same bus home. Like Jim, I was also spoiled by the San Francisco public transit, so that just felt so illogical to me.

    However, the bus lines are mostly private companies (probably the same in Rio), so once, when I had to take a new bus, I asked Alexandre to call the company for me. He told them where I would be and where I needed to go, and the operator lady told him which buses I could take and where. So perhaps you could enlist Ro's native speaker abilities for a similar phone call.

    Oh, and thank you for the great idea about group convo classes! The problem is space-- my little classroom at home can only hold 3 people-- but I'm gonna try to find some kind of public space (a coffee shop or something) and see if people are interested.

  4. Your mother is very happy you took a taxi and didn't cross that 12 lane highway!!.Remember I had nightmares that Ro made me cross over and over and over again when we were visitng you.The highway crossing is too scary!!

  5. Linds - I just discovered this online search engine for tracking down which busline to take. Check it out.


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