Entertainment on the Public Transportation in São Paulo

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Recently I’ve abandoned my ipod on my commute because

a. I decided to try not to get run over pay more attention to where I was walking

b. I wanted to listen to the sounds of the city :-)

c. And then when I wanted it back it stopped working… boo.

Because of this, I’ve been doing a lot of people watching and been overall observant on public transportation in SP lately. With this also comes frustrating and funny experiences… Here are a couple “public transportation” moments.

1. Since starting to take the metro to work (I used to take the train – both a 20 minute walk from my apt in opposite directions), I’ve been observing how people’s behavior differs from stop to stop. It’s really quite entertaining. I live in an upper middle class neighborhood where the stereotypical profile of residents is “bohemian/artsy, eco-friendly, politically engaged, and beer loving” (I’m clearly looking for my future husband living where I live). When you walk into the metro station, and get on the escalator, the left side is clearly for who walks up/down and the right is for who wants to just stand there. And then, to get on the train, everyone waits for whomever’s on the train to get off before getting on. For those of you who have experienced Brazilian public transportation, this is pretty cool, haha. And definitely not something I would see getting on and off the train station where I used to work (in an upper class and commercial area). And when I get off 5 stops later on the metro, I’m on Av. Paulista, the center of it all in SP. And where people come from all over the city. So you have those who walk on the left side of the escalator and those who don’t care much for whoever’s behind them. And you have people who run into you when you’re getting off the train and others who wait. This mini social experiment has made me want to study human behavior and societies even more so :-)

2. When I started school, it was great because the building was literally a couple of blocks from my job. Now, I work considerably closer to home but that much farther from school. And I get off work about 40 minutes before class starts. I was taking the bus to class and it was taking me at least an hour (so if you do the math, I’d be at least 20 minutes late). And unlike many Brazilians, I hate being late. So on Monday I decided to take the metro to a stop where there’s a free (and quick!) bus to the train station on the line that goes straight to where my class is. No traffic = Get the faster. I did the math and I’d be at most 5 minutes late if all went well… Well, it didn’t. I get to the metro station and there’s a HUGE line I wait 25 minutes in before getting on the bus. And then when I get to the train station, I get onto this packed train car which keeps getting fuller, and I honestly don’t know how that many people could physically fit in there. When it got to my stop, I was the only person getting off, and had to negotiate with the super nice people around me to TRY to switch places with me so I could get to the front of the car (btdubs, I was on the side close to the front and on one stop a slew of people was pushed in and I was taken into the car by the wave)… Long story short, I was nearly an hour late. Tuesday I took the bus again.


3.This one’s quick but funny. Last night, as I was waiting for the metro, idly looking around and observing people since I had nothing to read or dance to, I casually look to my side and catch out of the corner of my eye this guy who I’d drunkenly made out with met on Friday. You’d figure in a city of 20 million people… Of course I looked terrible – I was wearing khakis & sneakers, had my hair up and no makeup on… And when I pretend I didn’t see him, of course he comes up to me, gives me a kiss on the cheek, says hello, we chat for a minute and then he walks away and says “See ya later.” Awkward much?

These kinds of things make me not want to buy a car in São Paulo. My commute wouldn’t nearly be as entertaining. But I have decided I definitely need my ipod back to pass the time…

Do you have any funny public transportation stories or observations?


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