D 402 day. Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
Location: Hostel in Brasilia, Brazil, Latin America
Update: Safely reached Brasilia and established communication with the Indian Embassy. Mobile broke down so working with laptop only.
So, we were at the bus terminus in Rio de Janeiro, yesterday. Lets continue from there….
I boarded bus. It was a 20 hours journey. I was expecting my co-passengers to be of same age or at least English speakers. Well, my co-passenger was a 75 years old lady. She was like the old lady in the film Titanic. I kept my luggage and said, “Oi Todobon” (hello. How are you). In a braking voice she said “Todu” and smiled. I helped her to put her bags. She was cool.
Today morning, at 9.30 am I reached Rodovihar (read Hodovihar) – the main bus terminus in Brasilia. I had two options: first to search hostel – get fresh and then go to the Indian Embassy and second option was to go to the Embassy directly and start the process of tree plantation.
I chose to go to the Embassy. I had not taken bath since past two days and had not changed my cloth. Embassy is close from the Rodovihar. It has very big premises that houses the Embassy building and living quarters. I went inside, there I saw a handsome Brazilian boy and a beautiful girl at the reception. Then came Mr Kar. I introduced myself to them. Mr Kar said that Ambassador is not in town. It was a shock for me. In Argentina also, at the last moment, Ambassador had a sudden meeting outside the city.
I asked him, is there any officer from Indian Navy? He said, “Yes, Capt Atul Deswal.” I said- “Please allow me to meet him.” Since he is from the Navy, he may know the concept of circumnavigation and he will definitely know Cdr Dilip Done and Cdr Abhilias Tommy who did circumnavigation by sea for India. So it would be easy to convince him.
I introduced myself as a journalist entrusted with coverage of military affairs and regional politics. There was flash news on TV of some submarine. Since it was in Portuguese I could not understand. Capt was interested in my journey mainly because (unlike Cdrs Donde sir and Abhilash) I was travelling as a private citizen and without corporate or government sponsorship.
Then Capt recommended me to meet Mr Kshitij Tyagi, Head of Chancery. Capt was kind to introduce me, my objectives and mission to Mr Tyagi. So, I did not need to introduce or explain. Mr Tyagi recommended that I should meet Mr. Abhay Kumar who is second in command and Deputy Chief of Mission. There was miscommunication on account of me. I was waiting but I did not send message for Mr. Kumar. Bruno realised it in the evening and then he coordinated.
Around 5 pm, I entered the cabin of Mr. Kumar. As Indian tradition/hospitality immediately after introduction he called for tea. I had four coup of tea in a day (neither breakfast nor lunch). Mr kumar is an alumnus of JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University). He is a patient listener, speaks less, uses few but meaningful words. I was telling him about tree plantation and he said- “Wait, just tell me how can we assist you.” I told him my standard operating procedure (SOP). He suggested me two very very easy and practical options.
I need to choose one of these after discussion with my Brazilian friend Fabio Tito. Let me tell you how I met Fabio.
Still there was a problem. i did not get wifi at bus stop so could not find hostel. Brasilia is not like Rio or Sao. Here are very few hostels. Sharma sir, Bruno and maam helped me to search a hostel. hostels were 100 Reais (Rs.2,100) per night. Sharma sir saw my face with 100 Reaise and he asked to search a reasonable one. At last, we got one hostela and David dropped me at convenient bus stop.
Thank you very much all.
My senior in journalism Rahul Wadke of Business Line gave me contact of Brazilian journalist Dani Braun. She is from Sao Paulo. I could not meet her as I got her contact when I left the city. But since then she has been helping me in Brazil. She gave me contact of Fabio who is from Brasilia.
It is 11.49 pm here. I did not sleep during last two night. Allow me to say good bye. Thank you for your time and attention. With log of love and regards.
(Above text is edited by a special person. I do not have permission to disclose his name him.)
D 400 Day. April 23, 2017.
Location: bus terminus of Rio de Janeiro.
Night At Bus Terminus !!!
After long time, I have to spend a night at bus terminus. It was frequent in Asia and Australia. But this is first time in Brazil.
Let me tell you something interesting. Latin America has no concept of train. They have intra city local trains but no inter city long distance trains.
I read Portuguese has laid trains in Brazil on 16th or 17th century to transport coffee and minerals. (First train in India was introduced in 19th century 1853.)
I wonder where the trains have gone over centuries in Brazil? In the absence of train, bus operators have monopoly all over the Brazil. And bus companies hike price over night.
Normally bus ticket for a ride from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia is odd 198 or 218 Reais (1 USD = 3 Reais = Rs67 INR) depending upon company. Since today is long weekend, all companies have hiked the price to 300 Raies. So the price is hiked by 50 % for weekend.
I preferred to postpone my trip for 17 hours. I am too tired to search hostel and go metro station and then to hostel. I will enjoy night here. I am not sure how safe it is. So I have to be awake and conscious whole night. It’s 7.30 pm here. Next bus is at 1200 noon tomorrow. Let’s see.
Coming back to train: one Brazil Prof told me there was a plan to build train between Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo before Olympic. However that did not work out. He blamed for the lobby of bus operators He thinks there is another lobby of bus manufacturing companies which is even more stronger and they don’t want trains.
Let me describe how is terminus.
It’s big terminus like our two tire airport. Buses are on ground floor and tickets and eateries are on first floor.
I am sitting in open area of a eatery. Two table after me, is a couple. They have been engrossed in French kiss. Opposite them is young man, he is eating sandwich hurriedly. I guess he had a long day and tired. One lady is on phone and another is surfing on phone.
On my left hand is long queue to buy food. All are patiently waiting. On right side is shops of bus operators. Queue to buy tickets is short and thin now. The hungry young man has bought one more dish.
On 9 degree angle on left, African Brazilian man is reading some book. He is serious in reading and did not look at hisleft where a beautiful lady is sitting.
And there is Indian young man passing time, here. He has no work except to be awake till tomorrow morning.
I guess, the couple is tired of French kiss. The girl is poking her nose on his. She had put her hands around him and kissing on his face. The hungry young man has finished his food and cleaning his table.
Indian man is worried of pickpockets may run away with his mobile.
The hungry young man is a backpacker. He took his backpack and gitar and leaving. One family (husband wife, boy and girl) has occupied table of hungry young man.
African Brazilian man closed his book and started dinner. He has ordered small bowl of rice, meat and vegetable.
French kiss has again started but frequency is very low.
It is 8pm and there is no queue for food. Waitresses are talking to each other. Most of the passengers are either eating or enjoying surfing on free Wi-Fi.
Indian man is hungry now.
It is pass time post. I did not re read this post. It is factual. I request to be judicious while making comment on it.
D 401 day. Monday, April 24, 2017.
ALL IS WELL
In a what’s app gyan, on account of Tata was quoted: there is nothing called right decision or wrong decision. It’s just a decision and external factors are out of one’s control. So just one has to make the chosen decision right.
Last night, I chose to sleep at Rio de Janeiro bus terminus. I have saved Rs3,000. But the risk was heavy. Had I was robbed with my passport or mobile or ATM at terminus it was heavy loss.
I was almost awake last night. Late midnight, I realised someone touched bag, I got up, one African Brazilian man was there. He was awake.
I took my bag and went to another place in the center, alone. Again some one touched my bag. Then I sat on the bags and (hand bag is always on my body) slept till 5 am.
At 5 am police came. They were civilised unlike Indian railway police who kicks sleeping passenger.
Now got my breakfast and waiting for bus. I got cheapest ticket of 198 Reais (198×21=Rs). My bus came. See you. Bye. With lot of love and regards. Vishnu