Olá todo mundo! Btw, “todo mundo” (“everybody”) literally means “entire world”, so hello world.
As you may have noticed by now I have arrived. In fact, I arrived two days ago already (28th), but I’ve been quite busy catching up with sleep and getting to know my surroundings. Yesterday I toured the enormous UFV campus, saw llamas, and got shouted at by a street artist. But let’s backtrack to my travel adventures!
As you may have seen in my previous post, I began my journey on the 27th, so as to arrive on a weekday (Monday), early in the morning. Transferring in Rome almost made me miss my plane.. that airport I’d say is quite typical southern Europe. Quite disorganised and the signs.. oh, the signs. Got pointed into different directions by various transfer desks, and the signs I was following suddenly just.. stopped. I had 1h 45 mins when I got off my plane from Amsterdam, so I was quite busy running around like a headless chicken. But I managed, just when Alitalia to Rio started boarding.
The seats were some of the hardest airplane seats I’ve had the honour of laying my bacon on, so I had a hard time feeling my legs most of the journey. Though I can’t sleep on airplanes in any case (or any transport, except ships, for that matter), so I was watching movies, playing games on my phone and wrote stuff.
Landed in Rio de Janeiro-Galeão Airport early in the morning, 4:45 am local time (UTC-3). It was/is also unusually cold right now, which is probably my fault. The day before I had been spamming Facebook (about my move) like always, and a professor, Adriana, I had gotten to know at my university in Holland, who has moved back to Brazil, offered me help with transport in Rio. Lucky for me, because due to road (re)constructions (also probably my fault), the bus station in downtown Rio was semi-impossible to reach from the airport. My plans to get there would have been quite useless and I would’ve been stuck in Rio for probably quite a while. I managed to get onto the bus to Viçosa I was planning, at 8:30, after having run around with 45kg of baggage.
Got onto the bus and my seat was next to this old(er) lady who seemed nice. The bus smelled terrible, though. Mouldy and moist; I imagine a little like a wet stray dog. Probably because the bus often drives through humid mountains at cloud-altitudes. But I was enjoying the view a lot! Mountains and I work well together. And this woman next to me had a whole bag full of snacks and candy and insisted I kept trying everything! Nice lady, although she spoke so fast I couldn’t even understand when she said “você vai para Viçosa?” (are you going to Viçosa?) before my 5th “Desculpe, não entendo…” (Sorry, I don’t understand). The bus wasn’t really full, so I could’ve chosen another seat when I entered. But then I wouldn’t have been fed with Brazilian snacks that was completely unknown to me. I’m still alive, thanks for asking.
The bus trip that was supposed to take 6 hours ended up taking more than 8 and a half hours because A. the bus kept being slowed down by slowpokes and B. somebody about 2/3 way between Rio de Janeiro and Viçosa had decided his lorry looked better in the ditch. That took over 1½h to clear up on the mountain road that none but scooters could negotiate while the truck was napping.
I did finally end up in the right city, though, and was greeted by my friend and new roommate, Maurício, whom I already know from studies in Holland. This, my final destination, lies 650m above sea level and is inhabited by around 74,000 people, so it’s a small city in that sense. But it’s a big city in the sense that it has one of the largest universities in Brazil, and the city’s businesses mainly (r)evolve around the campus or the people having something to do with the university. I will post a separate blog post later about the city, campus and what I’ve seen here so far.
So yeah, that was my trip in short! A lot more small things also happened, but I think this is plenty of spam for now. Tomorrow I will register with the programme, choose subjects and maybe meet some of the classmates. Today I need to walk around in town and find some stuff I need.
Thanks and até mais tarde!