This blog post has been brought to you by excessive amounts of cachaça, tequila, and cerveja. I still haven’t gotten out of bed.
Yesterday was a good day. I got to sleep in, then Laura & I went to Mercado Municipal. Cassia gave us a list of all the “things to see” in Campo Grande and the surrounding areas. We’re using our free time to cross off all of the places on that list. We get everywhere by the use of buses, cabs, walking, and bumming rides from people- so we had to figure out how to get the bus downtown. Basically, the bus system here is a shit show. The routes don’t seem to be recorded in any physical realm, website, sign, pamphlet, cave drawing, or scripture… not even at the bus station itself. Also, bus stops are not marked in anyway that indicates what buses stop there. So in a nutshell, it’s a clusterfuck when we want to take the bus somewhere new. To get anywhere from our house, we have to take a bus that takes us to a transfer station, then get on a different bus. The bus station that we transfer at isn’t that far, so we decided to walk. It wasn’t too hard to find, but the neighborhood we walked through was becoming shittier and shittier. Finally, the bus station was in sight and out of nowhere, Dr. Fernando drove up in his Fiat hatchback and yelled, “HELLO GIRLS! You shouldn’t be in this neighborhood. I was born here. It’s very dangerous.” …Like what?
Good to know. Good to know.
But we made it to the station and got on the right bus to get us to Mercado Municipal. I imagined it would be like Feira Central, but it wasn’t at all. It was WAY WEIRDER. I loved it. It was mostly a market that sold food-related items: herbs, produce, seeds, meat, booze, tereré, and so on. Tereré (pronounced like tay-day-day) is a kind of tea-like substance that people drink here ALL the time. You basically fill up a mug with dried leaves, put a straw in it, and add cold water. The straw has a filter so you don’t get flecks of leaves in your mouth. Everytime I drink it, I feel like I’m going to get green stuff in my teeth. We walked up and down the aisles. I found an item for sale I couldn’t refuse… it was a mug made out of a cow’s foot. I could even get it personalized… and so I did.
I also bought a bottle of strawberry pinga (aka cachaça), but I really wish I didn’t. More to come on that later.
Did I mention that they had meat? I’ve been told multiple times that Mato Grosso do Sul is the Texas of Brazil.
So after walking through the market, we crossed the street and found that there was a whole second half of the market that sold non-food related items. It sold basically everything you could ever, ever want for dirt cheap. It was a winding labyrinth of tiny booths filled with shoes, bags, sunglasses, clothes, toys, fishing equipment, kidneys, phone cases, electronics, and much MUCH more. The clothes and stuff were certainly knock-offs. I felt like I was in some kind of underground black market. Like I would seriously stumble upon a booth selling babies or something.
And it was CROWDED AS SHIT. The booths had no more than 2 cubic feet of floor space and they were filled with people pushing through each other to rifle through discounted clothes. I thought I packed well for my trip but it turns out I really didn’t bring much at all. On top of that, I left a bunch of stuff in Maria’s backyard in Foz do Iguassu because they were drying in the sun after the waterfalls… then the horrible airport thing happened and I ran into a cab and forgot 2 shirts, a pair of shorts, and a tank top. So I bought a couple shirts. I found a booth with cute shorts… but I’m not going to buy shorts without trying them on. Clearly these tiny booths didn’t have a fitting room, right? WRONG. The woman asked me if I wanted to try on the shorts. I gave her a puzzled look and asked, “Onde?” She pointed to the back corner of the booth that had a little curtained-off cubicle that had less than 1 cubic square foot of floor space. She pointed to an area where I could put my bags—behind a little leather stool. I finally got the shorts on after much frustration and hitting my funny bone on things. I did think to myself, “Why does it smell like booze in here? Is she hiding a bottle of booze back here or something?” Then suddenly I hear the lady yelling, “Moça! Moça!” It registered in my brain ~8 seconds later that she was talking to me and I looked out of the curtains to see my bottle of pinga had EXPLODED everywhere in her tiny ass booth. I just looked at her with my mouth agape and said, “COMO?!?!” She looked at me with her mouth agape and she said, “NÃO SEI!” I think she may have pushed the leather stool back or something and my bottle got cracked somehow. It’s a mystery, really. It sucked, though, because inside of the bag with my pinga was a tank top I had just bought. Luckily it was black. I felt so bad that my bottle of pinga essentially flooded her store that I bought the shorts. I didn’t even really want them. But I didn’t wanna just be like, “Welp…. see ya later!” I really don’t know what happened there. That did it. From that moment on, my brain was like:
Laura had the duty of preventing me from walking out into traffic or stopping me from swallowing my own tongue.
We walked back toward the bus station and decided to stop at a really loud, fun-looking bar on the way. There was a soccer game on by this point. To say the Brazilians love their futbol would be a grand understatement.
[PS. They pronounce football like “Foo-chee-bowl.” I like it.]
There are TV’s everywhere so people can watch the game. I’m not just talking about in stores… there are TVs in random places like at bus stops and built into sides of buildings in the streets.
It seems to me that no one considers “staring” to be rude in Brazil. Or maybe I’m just that strange looking. But wherever Laura & I go, people will seriously lock their eyes on us for 30 seconds and just stare. There was a guy sitting at the table next to us and he just STARED at us unblinkingly the entire time we were there. Even if we made eye contact, he didn’t look away. We were the only girls in the bar, too, so there’s that. Finding the bathroom was an adventure in and of itself. I felt like a lab rat going through a maze, but instead of walls blocking my way there are men standing and staring with their arms folded. You should really try to not make eye contact with these obstacles or they ask you why you’re leaving.
After the beer, Laura & I now had the always-delightful task of finding our bus to get home. We know that 61 takes us right by our hostel. But we didn’t take 61 there. So we had to find a bus stop that that bus stops at… but they’re not marked. We probably wandered around for an hour before we found it. We asked people at various bus stops if 61 stopped there and no one knew. In fact, we were told that people don’t know the bus routes “by number.” WTF do you know it by, then? We finally found the right bus stop after literally an hour of that, and 61 was right there. The buses were particularly fucky last night because there was a protest going on in the streets. But there it was. 61. We could have gotten it too, but you have to swipe your card and go through a revolving gate and there were two women in front of us trying to cram giant trash bags filled with bedding through a tiny space. Don’t yank her ass out of the way by her pony tail… Don’t yank her ass out of the way by her pony tail… AAAAAND we missed it. FUCKING BAG LADIES WRESTLING WITH BEDDING. So we waited for another 20 minutes for 61, and watched about twenty 81’s pass by and no one ever got on it. GET MORE 61s, RAT BASTARDS. Eventually 61 came again and apparently everyone at the bus stop needed on it. And it was already full. Let me repeat this again: the buses are a SHIT SHOW. These buses get so packed full of people that you’ll often see the doors half-shut or with parts of clothing flapping in the wind. People literally pack in there so tight that the doors won’t close.
It makes EXITING the bus a rather stressful endeavor. It would probably be easier to crowd-surf off the bus, but I don’t know how to ask for that service in Portuguese. We finally made it, though, and we went home and made dinner.
I feel that I should comment on the state of our hostel during the weekend when the cleaning ladies are off duty. Our house mates are DIRTY as HELL. The kitchen, especially. It’s now impossible for me to do my dishes. There are also no bowls in the house, for some reason. It’s quite cold in Campo Grande right now. Their winter begins in June. So Laura and I were sitting in this filthy kitchen and eating soup out of warped Tupperware with blankets wrapped around our shoulders because it was freezing last night. It was a humorously bleak affair.
At around 10:30, Breno (the vet we met on Friday) picked us up to go to a
hock rock bar. A band was playing called Horse Society. They were pretty good. They had a lot of original stuff, but they also played some good covers like Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd. People in Brazil go out for the night super late. The night doesn’t really get started until at least 11 or 12. The band started playing at midnight, but by that point we were already pretty far in the bag. We were taking shots and drinking caipirinhas like it was our job. It was a good night… but we definitely drank too much. We didn’t leave the bar until like 4:30 AM. I woke up this afternoon at like 12:30 and my head was pounding. Laura went with Renata to the pharmacy and I just didn’t move. I just laid in bed, drank water, and watched a weird Brazilian movie in Portuguese. We are going out in a little bit to have a beer with one of the guys we met at Escobar the other night.