The diversity of opinions and advice goes from one extreme to the other and it was neatly summed up by the two fellow passengers I sat next to from Heathrow to Rio. On my left was a young man from Scotland who had been working in Brazil on and off for a few years. On my right was a Brazilian woman who was returning to Fortaleza after a few years in England.
"I hate it", said the Scot. "I honestly can't think one good thing about it - maybe the beaches". He'd only just started and proceeded to tell me how all Brazilians, rich and poor, were untrustworthy and that they'll always try to rip you off. "Good luck, you're going to need it"
Lovely! Sounded a bit extreme to me, I have to say.
You won't be surprised that the Brazilian lady disagreed and painted a completely different picture. Everyone is friendly, there are so many beautiful places to see and things to do etc etc.
Well, she would say that, wouldn't she?
I guess the truth will emerge over the next few weeks. So far, the three or four Brazilians I've encountered have been absolutely trustworthy and have not tried to rip me off at all.
It wasn't just the lady from Fortaleza that was friendly. A couple from Rio were really grateful when I offered to swap seats so they could sit next to each other. The Scottish chap could have offered before I got there but didn't. When I got on the bus from the international airport to the domestic one in the city centre (Santos Dumont) I asked the driver...
To which he replied some number, far too quickly for me to understand. I gave him a couple of notes thinking R$100 would be expensive but not beyond the beyonds (actually it was around R$25 - about AUS$12) and he smiled, gave me the 50 Reias note back as well as my change. Several folks on the bus helped me get off at my right stop too. Similarly the taxi fare was fair and the driver seemed a very nice chap when road works meant we had to go a different route.
Here, in Santa Teresa, the place I'm staying is lovely and the lady who runs it is as kind and hospitable as one could get.
So far so good.
Here are some photos from the journey so far...
|Relieved to have a beer in Sydney|
|Locked out of Perth Airport at 2:30 am was not fun|
|The flight to London went over Lithuania. Such things impress me!|
|5 Tuns @ T5 is a great place|
|It was great meeting Boro again|
|The view from my bedroom window about an hour ago|
Santa Teresa, Rio