Currently on the bus from Rio to Sao Paulo
The view next to me as the bus rolls away further from Rio to the next city. That was fast, but Rio de Janeiro will always, always be special to me – for the reason that I entered the city as That Siangyee, and now I’m leaving as This. I feel the slight change in my mentality – and it is this I love, the slight changes that come about as I hop from places to places, my mind hungering for more conceptions, ideas, notions to challenger my own.
As I sat on the bus this morning, I did not clutch my bag as tightly and as wary of the characters that board the bus and sit next to me. I’m still alert, but I have relaxed a little.
Brain on Day 1: OMG IM GONNA GET ROBBED TODAY EVERYONE IS GONNA WATCH OUT FOR ME AND ROB ME DANGER IS EVERYWHERE
Clutch my bag and its zip for my dear life and keep a safe distance from every character
Day 2: Ok la, maybe there’s a chance I won’t be robbed if I walk super quickly and just avoid the very shady areas.
Day 3: Chey, i don’t think there’s as many robbers as I have imagined it to be? Everyone is just doing their own things going about their daily lives, you think you so big shot meh, so poor who wanna rob you. I mean yes in shady corners possibly but seems like everyone is really just doing their own things. My Day 1 self is lame, even ridiculous. Siao scared until like that.
Of course it’s good to stay alert always, but it calls into question the ways by which I had perceived the city to be, and how it is. I guess if I were to be completely frank I did associate Rio with danger, chaos, homeless kids that take out knives to mug you, groups of children that run towards you and corner you to rob you, people throwing mustard and babies at you to distract you, stuff like that. I suppose these are incidents that have happened, and my subconscious mind projected these to the entire population; it sort of slipped my mind that there’s all these mothers, fathers, grannies and old couples holding hands, things like that (notably, what is my conception of a ‘robber’ then? typical gender and age group…_ It really isn’t as ‘dangerous’ as I had thought it might be, everyone’s been so sweet and lovely and helpful.
Today I dropped 50 reals from my wallet and the man immediately handed it to me. The other day a man brought me to the right bus stop and walked with me for about 20 minutes or so.
I talk to people everyday; in my broken Spanish, just simply listening, nodding, guessing their Portuguese… I guess in many ways, I have slowly eased myself into South America.
Reached Sao Paulo, I guess my first city is officially done. It’s interesting how half a year ago I was looking at these places on the internet and gaping at the fact that I could possibly visit, and now I have.