Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blood Moon and Bus Issues

This morning there was a lunar eclipse, also known as the Blood Moon. Last night, we found out about it and I decided I had to see it. The only problem? It started around 3am, was completely red at 4:45am, and then I had a meeting at 10:30am. I ended up falling asleep and waking up to see the moon at 4am. The photos weren’t that great, and I wanted to see the entire moon red, but it was so cold. So, I fell asleep for 30 min, dreamt that a bright red moon got really close to the earth, and then disappeared before I could take a picture, and woke up fearing I missed the moon being completely red. I ran outside to see a distant red moon in the sky, and started snapping pictures. It really was worth braving the cold and going without very much sleep! However, the rest of the day wasn't as nice... 
The Blood Moon. 
The Blood Moon from Catherine's Camera
What the hell is up with the busses here? At first, the busses seemed great. You could catch a bus on campus to go downtown, or walk 10min to the main road to catch almost any bus for Rio Grande. On top of that, you can catch intercity and interstate busses. In the south, the busses are pretty safe at all times of the day and night. However, sometimes the busses are just WTF moments waiting to happen. They typically do not follow the schedule; either there are extra busses or not enough busses most of the time. They seem to do whatever they want, and are either packed like a can of sardines or there are a total of 5 people on the bus, including the driver and the cashier (yes there is a person that you pay that sits in middle of the bus). The other day was no exception.

I knew I was running late. I had a 10:30am meeting and was running to catch the 9:45am bus, which I think I missed. As I approached the end of the road, I saw a bus with its lights blinking sitting on the side of the road. Then, a nicer bus passed. Since there was no sign saying it was a selectivo, or where it was going, I didn’t realize it was the bus I wanted until it was too late. I continued to walk to the bus stop, figuring that the other bus was broken down. Why else would it be sitting on the side of the road? After 2 min at the bus stop, the bus started up and drove right past me. (I was at the bus stop 30 feet in front of it.) To top it off, the passenger that was on the bus waved to me as it went past me. Finally, around 10am, a selectivo came by.

The difference between a selectivo and another bus is mainly in the type of bus it is. The selectivo is more comfortable, like a charter bus. Therefore, it is also slightly more expensive (R$4.45 vs R$2.75). Since it is more expensive, less people ride it, making it quite a bit faster as well. So, as I got on a selectivo for the first time, I realized I had no idea what was going on. There is only the driver that works on the bus. So, you pay him. Additionally, unlike the other busses, there is not a cord to pull or a button to push. I had no idea how to get off the bus! Luckily someone else was getting off where I was, so I walked to the front of the bus to wait behind her. I guess you just tell the driver when you want to get off and wait at the front of the bus until the stop. 

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