Bus Adventures

Thien Tran - Brazil


October 10, 2013

The most exciting part of my day for the past few weeks in Florianopolis can be summarized in a few short words: pegar o ônibus (to take the bus). To me, taking the bus is more than a way of transporting myself from one place to another. I see it as an opportunity to dive into the minds of Brazilians, getting a glimpse of their daily lives. The bus is where curiosity can be expressed and where knowledge is obtained.

Every morning, the 466 Trevo Do Erasmo bus comes at exactly 6:48 A.M. Morning traffic hits its peak at 7:00 A.M. Morning bus rides usually consists of conversations with my host brother, Gabriel. Our conversation mostly consists of questions about each other’s culture and country.  He is curious about my life back in San Jose, my school, as well as the places I’ve been. For me, I hit him with loads of questions about Brazil that can range from

Where is the best place to visit in Brazil?

Where is the best place to eat in Lagoa da Conceição ?

What do you like most about Florianopolis?

He would answer me without a doubt and a smile on his face. Morning bus rides, for me, is an opportunity for culture exchange.

As the clock hit 7:20 A.M, the bus is approaching the Rio Tavares terminal in which my host brother and I separate. Without spoken a word of Portuguese, I feel as if all eyes were on me, the foreigner.

The first few days consist of quietly staring out the window while listening to the roaring Portuguese spoken on the bus. I knew that sooner or later, I wanted to be a part of the noise. One of the many favorite people that I’ve spoken to on the bus was Claudia, an art teacher who spends her time volunteering at various schools in Florianopolis. Though a language barrier blocked us from a full conversation, we were able to converse in Portuñol. (a mix between Spanish and Portuguese). She explained to me about her mission trips to Chile and Argentina, both in which she spent a year in and from there she gathered a passion for language and art. She felt that it was important to bring these ideas back to Brazil and allow the youth to indulge into the splurge of Latin American culture.

Each day as I step into the “ônibus, I know that there are new stories to be heard and things to learn. I am excited for every new day.

Random Things that have occurred to me on the bus/bus related:

       getting stuck between the automatic doors on my first day trying to make a run for it before the bus leaves

       feeling the sea breeze of Florianopolis and falling asleep on a random stranger. He later poked me to wake up when he finally reached his stop.

       Meeting Argentinian exchange students whom spoke English

       Falling all over the place and dropping my pastel as the bus swerved through the hills of Rio Tavares

       Telling jokes in Portuguese in which no one understood except for me

Here’s to more amazing adventures in Joinville, Santa Catarina.

Thien Tran