Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Recife--Mosh Pit Madness--May Day & Last Day

When I booked my bus ticket from Salvador to Recife for The night of April 30th, there was only one seat left and it was at the back of the bus next to the toilet. The agent said that May Day was a big holiday and many people were extending their weekend to travel. Lucky me. In the two seats in front of me were a young couple with two little girls that they shared their two seats with. To have more room for the 12 hour night ride, they fully lowered their seats which gave me very little front room. My very large seat mate was whining to the ticket agent about not getting a seat closer to the fronts, and she let him rant on for about 10 minutes saying nothing. He finally resigned himself to his fate and just before the bus took off, she patted home on the shoulder and said, "Tchau".

It was a good thing I cinched up my seat belt because if I had not, I would have hit my head on the ceiling when we went over the frequent topes--sleeping policemen/road bumps---that bracketed every town.

If that wasn't enough, instead of the usual super A/C cooled bus ride, I ended up getting overheated from the engine heat oozing through the back walls and floor of the bus. This will definitely be the last time I ride the back of the bus with the extremes of heat, smells, and movement.

As I arrived in Recife, I noticed that the crowds were quite large with lots of families as I made my way from the bus station to the Metro. The Metro was standing room only all the way to my stop

Suddenly, as I turned the corner from the Joanna Bezerra metro exit, I found myself like others being funneled down what seemed like a cattle chute as we all foot shuffled our way to the buses. The only direction I could go was where the crowd was going. I was suppose to take the number 80 bus, but the bus staff had us get on the next articulated bus that along. When I got on the bus, I thought it was full, but no, they continued to let more get on. My pack started to get separated from me, so I just grabbed it harder and was pulled further into the bus next to a father had his baby slung on top of his shoulder who he handed it to a stranger who was seated. He then continue to call out for Leyla, as well as whistling, but she never answered. hopefully they rejoined at the bus stop. It was so packed, I don't think even the pickpockets could get access to our wallets or purses. It reminded me of the times when we would try to see how many could fit into a VW or phone booth when I was in school. It was truly a Recife Mosh Pit Bus Ride Experience! No pictures since I could not reach my camera.

This is the Metro entrance as Ieave Recife
The bus rides the following days in Recife, were just your normal capacities until I left.

When I left, were lots of people at the bus stop. When I saw my bus #80 come up, it zoomed past our stop. The people on that bus were jammed in like sardines with their faces and butts firmly planted against the door windows.

Fifteen minutes later another #80 went by without stopping. It was starting to rain, and get dark so I started walking to the earlier bus stops. I was also trying to flag down a cab with no success. A #80 bus was just pulling away from the third bus stop when it stopped just for me. The driver must have felt sorry for the only Gringo trying to ride the buses that night. The front was too jammed to enter, and door at the back opened. Three women were sitting on the bus' lower step and one of them stood up in the jammed crowd so I could fit in. This time it was my butt pressed against the window doors. We bypassed all of the other ten stops and sped directly to the metro station. Again, it was a repeat of the Recife Mosh Pit madness that I experienced when I came to Recife, but this time it was both on the bus in on the metro you see below.

Next are views of Olinda and Old Recife.

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