The forro of traffic

I was trying to type the word ’traffic’ but somehow my computer – read: my fingers – typed the word ‘traffuc’. I know this is not the most decent way to start a story, but I'm writing this late at night and now I feel this is just so the right word of the traffic here in Rio. And I don’t mean in the negative way. No – the traffic is smooth as the velvety cape of a Middle Aged  knight. Yes, the armed one. Because here, to survive the traffic you have to be harsh as a warrior and yet smooth like an orchid. I’m not going to the orchid  and plant-theme, except later in my stories, if you wish. This time I purely will concentrate on the logistics of a Brazilians mind. Which I have no idea of. Truly! Because I really doubt there is a one!

Don’t understand me wrong. The chauffeurs we’ve had have been truly amazing. We are safe and sound, although we tried to get out of the bus the other night, in the middle of the ride. That was purely because the bus had been driving the same lane for 30 minutes, advancing like 500 meters altogether. I bet you would have done the same. In this case, we lost. Because the drivers are told to take us from A to B. Without any interruption. Honestly there are so many places that I really wouldn’t want the bus to stop at any point! So I just bite me bullet – once again – and let it go. Bite the bullet is such a spot on expression, because we have really heard gun shots. Yes, we have.

And what I am to complain! Or anybody else in the bus by the way. We have our own lane, the Rio lane, which gives a ride free from any other vehicles, for quite a long way. That makes the ride really great. The only thing is, that when we arrive to the Avenue, where the hotel is, that’s when we get stuck. It’s not very easy for Finnish people to tolerate a ride of that long time, because in our wonderful country we would just stop the bus and get out. But here we don’t do that. And quite frankly, that is maybe a good idea.

Because – the green light for pedestrians, doesn’t always mean ‘go’. Oh no, that is out of my comprehension, why the traffic lights need an extra person – with a whistle – to indicate when to cross the street or not. And forget the traffic lights. They don’t mean a thing. This traffic warden is the king of the crossing.

One other funny thing happened last night when I was out. The tram had a motorbike escort to travel the crossings. A bike with the alarm – of course! The police and other emergency vehicle noise is just very much Rio. Just as much as the church bells every morning at 6 o’clock.

Back to the Rio lane. What a wonderful invention! Gives us an amazing feeling that we are important and something special. Probably the intention originally has been more or less to secure our route back to the hotel, but it does give a special psychological meaning as well. I’m always happy to get to the hotel as quickly as possible and no-one can deny that!

In this city every driver has to be bold and – well, bold! Don’t give up! The buses usually put on their indicator very early and then the others just don’t bother until you are as near as possible. And then you just squeeze in. Like a foam rubber. The respect for red light is quite tiny. Hence I refer to the possibility that this population has a high rate of color blindness. Sofar I've traveled every day on a bus in the city centre and seen no traffic accidents at all. How is that possible! Then on the other hand I've seen close enough constantly.

Apart from that you must try to avoid the hucksters who unscary gets on the driveway and try to sell you popcorn, sponges, sweets or whatever people buy from the street. To shed them off seems sometimes rude, but then that’s what you got to do!

The sound of this city is just unbelievable. It’s ten o’clock in the evening and there is bells ringing for the evensong or just for fun. The sounds are amazing. They go on constantly, even in the evening quite late, until they start again in the morning. At 6 o’clock, with the church bell. And the campanulist-in-charghe is still alive. Got to follow t he law in this country. Challenge # six – enjoy the sounds. Sit in the bus, with a mantra of how lucky you are. Watch the sunset that makes you feel so small and humble. Give your life the right to enjoy. Every minute.