Sunday, 22 March 2015

Corumba to Rio

Corumba in Feb 2015 was a hellish hot at 37 Degrees during the day it was super burning. I took a long awaited shower after crossing the border and a 18 hours train ride only to be soak and sticky smelly again in 5 minutes out of the shower. Walking around town looking for that first bank or atm to make sure that my card works in Brazil I got a tan in less than an hour but luckily no sunburn.

BRL 329 for the 30 hours bus ride to Rio. Superbly expensive compared to when I was in Bolivia not long ago. Still there was no other option so I paid the bus ticket and went back to the hostel and locked myself in the air-condition room.
Androniha Bus from Corumba to Rio
The next day; Bus was late, didn’t show up at 1130 but finally at 1215pm it came and we all rush inside the bus to seek shelter from the heat and air conditioning. How I survived a 31 hours bus ride, I still wonder. The bus was good and comfy with toilet, WIFI and power point as well. Still 31 hours of just sitting and doing nothing drags at your mind and soon I was in zombie state. Pit stop, smoke, eat, drink, pee, back on the bus and sleep.

Along the way we had many stops and police checks as well. Totally looking for drugs the bus was pulled over and searched inside and undercarriage as well. I was asked questions in Portuguese which I had no idea what they say. One police asked … English ??? I said yes and she signal her buddy and he could speak a bit of English. Amazed that a Malaysian that does not know Portuguese was on the bus he asked some standard traveller question and gave me back my passport with safe travels wishes.
Soon sleep was even too much and I gave up being cautious, taking out the tablet hoping I won’t get robbed or targeted and started reading. Soon even that was too much but nothing else I could do but just alternate between sleeping and reading and always checking google map to see where I am and how far I have to go before Rio, the small dot showing where we are never moving faster than I hoped. There was no food on the bus even for that price that I paid. Every 6 hours or so the bus would stop at a super large rest area which sold food and a little groceries.

When I thought I was finally going crazy, the bus stopped at Sao Paulo unloading passengers and one cheerful guy glad to be rid of the journey shook our hand with a large grin on his face saying good luck and have fun.
31 hours exactly plus 1 hours ahead time difference made it 32 hours and I was in Rio. Journey was not ended yet and I was out the station looking for how to get to the hostel. Local Omibus and I hopped on for 15 Real to the street near the hostel, hopped off and use the GPS on google maps to walk to the hostel all the while thinking this was bloody dangerous. I had no idea if I was in a good neighbourhood or bad one and walking around at 10 pm with a phone in hand and full backpack was a stupidly easy target. I had to trust that my friend I was about to meet choose a safe place to stay and thankfully he did.

Got to the hostel and while checking in I saw the friend I was rushing to meet sitting at the table engrossed in his phone …. Mission accomplish J
Never again I said to myself …. But long bus ride in South America was just the beginning.

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