Destination Rio de Janeiro, the third travel to the former capital of Brazil.
The dormitory at UNIRIO in Urca, near Praia Vermelha
Day 2, 1 pm.
Now were were registered for the cultural festival, we had to find our dormitory. The festival was organized by the universities in Rio, and they had created a number of dormitories in various campuses in the city. For the students of our university (UFMG, Belo Horizonte) there were three different locations: the campus at Ilha de Fundão, just outside the center, the campus in Tijuca in the center, and the campus of UNIRIO, not far from the beaches of Leme and Copacabana. I didn’t doubt for long, and I joined a group of nine students to Urca. We had to grab our luggage from the bus, but Eduardo was gone. We were hungry and went for a cheap restaurant. I accompanied two beautiful students: Juliana and Mariana. That was the start of our friendship: we spent the remaining days in Rio together.
Students who already had finished their lunch, indicated a cheap buffet restaurant at some blocks from the aqueduct of Lapa. It was quite crowded, we however managed to find some vacant seats. The quality of the buffet was acceptable, the price was reasonable. We then returned to our bus. Jolly Eduardo, showing his big smile, already waddled to the cargo compartment en dragged out our luggage. He made some jokes about my Dutch nationality, he already had told me that he had been in…. Amsterdam. Easy to guess what he was talking about: indeed, about the Red Light District, Van Gogh and Coffee Shops.
Urca is not far from the center, but we had to find the proper bus. That wasn’t very easy. Not easy at all, when you have to carry heavy bags and mattresses. Mariana carried a heavy bag, she clearly had troubles to keep the bag on her shoulder. I offered her to exchange her bag for my lighter one, she gratefully accepted my offer. The three of us went on, searching the proper bus stop. Eventually, a friendly police officer provided us the correct information. He indicated us a bus stop, about five hundred meters away. Quite soon, the bus arrived. The bus trip lasted only thirty minutes. For us Europeans, half an hour is very long. In a city like Dutch Breda, you already are kilometers beyond the city limit. But here we have to deal with Rio, Brazil’s second city with about eight million inhabitants: more than ten times Amsterdam, more than fifty times Breda…
We arrived in Urca. There was a bus stop in front of the campus. The same bus stop was not far from the square where I was only a few weeks earlier, during my second travel to Rio. We then climbed Morro da Urca. We entered the campus. Some buses were parked there. The buses bore names of various universities throughout Brazil: Goiás, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Ceará. We crossed the large parking lot, to the two university buildings. These buildings had a different structure: they didn’t have stairs or elevators, but sloping ramps connected the floors with each other. A practical solution for a building in which many students have to walk from one floor to another at the same time.
We looked for our dormitory. It was on the second floor. We would stay there with ten students. We all knew each other. We slept in four tents, in one plank bed, and on five mattresses. I had borrowed a mattress from a friend. I knew him from an earlier travel, to Salvador. I unrolled my mattress and laid my sheets and pillow on it. I put my two bags under the sheet, when I left the room. As if there was some body, sound asleep. Next to me, Mariana laid her mattress, perpendicular to mine. Juliana had her plank bed in a corner. Now it was time to have a refreshing shower. We had to ask where we would find the showers.
There were showers. No shower cabins, but shower containers. Two for women, to for men. The entrance was made in such a way, that nothing inside the container was visible from the outside. There were ten showers, five at each side. There was a plastic holder for your soap and shampoo. You had to leave your towel at the entrance, to keep it dry. No one walked on bare feet, but on flip flops. Also here there is the possible risk of eczema. No one was showering without shorts, swim trunks or underwear. I was told that the girls wore bikinis when showering. The water was lukewarm. Thanks to the warm summer temperatures. I didn’t like that, I really prefer warm water. When everyone had taken a shower, we still had time left to enjoy some hours at the nearby beach: Praia Vermelha, the Red Beach.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom
- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (50). Start of the Third Travel to Rio de Janeiro (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (51). Third Bus Travel to Rio de Janeiro (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (52). Enrollment for UNE Cultural Biennial in Rio (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)