Uma outra greve? Well that’s just gravy.

Last Wednesday, Lara and I were working in the grad student office when André, our professor, walks in and asks us if we were aware that the bus drivers were on strike. My immediate reaction was incredulity. Are you kidding me?! The teachers are on strike, now the bus drivers are on strike…my brain is about to go on strike and refuse to do any more school work! Anyways, in our slight panic we decided to leave early just to avoid being stranded all the way away on the Pici Campus. After waiting at the bus stop for about 10 minutes one of the buses we usually take finally pulled up to let someone else off. Then it drove away. It drove away as we ran after it screaming and trying to hit it to get it to stop for us. At this point I’m thinking “Ok great…so this is what the strike means. We’re never gonna make it home.” Eventually another bus stopped stopped for us not too much later and we finally made it home. The guy driving the bus was not a regular and he kept asking people on the bus for directions. It was a little funny haha. Since André told us only about 30% of the buses were running, we figured we’d just have to wait around a little longer than usual the next morning and eventually make it to school. Lara had a test in the afternoon and I had projects to finish so we would be going to school no matter what.

Let’s just say it took much longer than we expected.

So Thursday morning, we left the apartment around 715ish, a little later than usual but not drastically late or anything. The bus came after about 10-15 minutes of waiting and the guy collecting the money was one of the guys we usually see in the morning so he knows us. When we went through the turnstile, he kept trying to tell us something about the strike. I figured he was just trying to tell us the bus drivers were on strike so we were like yeah we know just get us to school please. After an hour on the bus, we still had not even made it halfway to school. I could not for the life of me figure out why traffic was moving so slowly. It has never been that bad. Once we passed the hospital (the marker for “hey you’re a 1/3 of the way to school!”) the bus driver opened the doors, said something, and the other passengers got off the bus save for two elderly people. Lara and I just looked at each other completely confused. We decided we might as well get off and walk until we had passed the traffic then jump back on another bus the rest of the way to school. A couple block down from where our original bus was still stuck in traffic, we discovered the cause for the standstill traffic: the bus drivers had parked their buses in the middle of the really skinny streets of Fortaleza in what I’m guessing was a way to enforce their strike. Now, I’m sure they have perfectly legitimate complaints, but I am not okay with any more drama and problems in my life that I can’t control or fix! So at this point, I’m fuming and stomping down the street past the buses shooting death glares everywhere because it’s hot, we’re in a part of the city I only know from the bus routes, and now we’re walking trying to find some part of the city that isn’t in stand still traffic so we can get a ride to school. I mean, we could’ve walked from where we were, but we were still a pretty far off way from school in an unknown part of town. Lara and I ended up walking the next 1/3 of the way to school looking for a taxi or a bus that was actually moving in the direction of campus. As we’re walking, I hear a guy on the phone walking behind us mention UFC. I’m still incredibly on edge, hyper-alert, and wary of every person on the street after the beach incident, so automatically I don’t want this guy following us anymore. We let him pass us and watch him hop on a bus to school. We followed in suit and rode a similar bus the rest of the way to campus. By the time we got to the office, I was drenched in sweat, dehydrated, and way too angry to do any work. Once again, I was gifted a study abroad experience I probably could’ve lived just fine without.

The way back home on the bus went much more smoothly. No stops and relatively quickly. After that trial we decided not to go to campus on Friday and just work from home. This morning we took a taxi to campus since Lara had a test at 8am. From what I can find on the websites of the newspapers from the area, it looks like the strike might be over. I sure hope it is. We’ll definitely find out this afternoon though!

Only a week and a half left in Brazil then I’m back in Mississippi!

Abraços e beijos!!

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~ by dfsg1991 on June 25, 2012.

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