This story took place on the first day we got here...posting to the blog today.
August 5, 2016...So, we, the roomies continue on this journey armed with bug repellent and our new found “street smarts” breathing a little bit easier by the news our new friend brings.
Actually with all this, I am feeling my sense of adventure loosen…we grab a bite to eat at a little Italian restaurant and the group decides to make our way to the P & G House (Procter & Gamble).
Our mode of travel today, the bus line along the beach, (Karla said it is safe), we solicit help from a local hotel staff…they negotiate for us with the driver of 538-Leme and we are on our way. I decide to pull up the destination on my google maps just to be sure… my maps app assures me that we are headed in the right direction…As we pass through the streets I notice the favelas (a Brazilian shanty town) in the hills…I first learned of these places on the travel channel with Anthony Bourdain and then once I had a conversation on a plane with a young lady (American) that studied in RIO…I am curious about these things-I can't help it!
I lean back to Mishal and whisper…I wonder how you get up to those places…not actually wanting to go just wandering at what the “point of entry” is…we move along the streets…my attention is averted above as we spot the Christ the Redeemer, the Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ. It’s all alone on the mountain, I am captivated by it…I try to take pictures through the buildings, the wires, all along while swaying through the streets at pace to our destination, we stop for passengers, the bus fills.
We begin our ascent, winding through narrow streets with high stone walls covered with ivy and moss, to the right I can see glimpses the favelas…we continue to wind until we come to the “point of entry we are in the favelas…we, the roomies, are quieted, all of us, no doubt sharing the same thoughts of “what if” scenarios playing in our mind, no doubt the same prayers going up at a clip, time seems to be suspended…our bus driver seems to turn in to a bus driving super hero has he navigates the narrow streets with oncoming buses, motorcycles, people, just to navigate the narrow streets the buses trade lanes…traffic laws need not apply…a sense of urgency almost…there is no backing up to navigate…it’s a constant moving forward and moving fast. I look over at Hannah and Hannah and I am feeling a real responsibility for their lives, you see, I am the one that led the charge on the bus travel and to say the least- I think I may have just gotten fired!
As we start our descent, Mishal leans up to me with a lightness in her voice and says “well, Connie, you just said you were wondering how you get up there” I am relieved by her grace…
I am thinking that I would welcome that the “worse” thing that could happen would be that our luggage would be lost, or our apartment would be subpar, or that my goodness there wouldn’t be a Starbucks around the corner, or there might be plastic bags floating in the bay, or I forgot my phone charger, or I am inconvenienced by this or that, or I am offended by this or that….
…or that I got on a bus that rode me through the lives that our “worse things” would be their “best things”
As we make our way off the bus I am thinking this is the most of appropriate times to sing the song “Three Cheers for the Bus Driver” we thank him, he smiles…we are back…while I am not discrediting the peril of what could have been, but I am wondering...that the best thing for all of us…was that bus ride.