First of all, I love this country. I knew I did when I visited this place 1 year ago and I am glad to see that I picked wisely. Granted there are still some 193 countries I still need to visit. I am glad that I have decided to make my first offshore residency here. I have a friend who happens to be in town right now, A Mr. John Finch, who describes this place rather succinctly. “They have everything that we do, just not as good.” This is very accurate but I am sure there numerous things that can be traded back home.
Everything is ludicrously cheap compared to what we pay in the states except for gas. Beer is cheaper than water. Wine is equally cheap. Medical supplies are a third of the cost. McDonalds tends to be rather expensive from what I have seen but I refuse to go there. It is marketed to the upper class here I think because it is the upper class who parties all night and emerges from a dance hall looking to scarf some bad for the earth food. A nice meal out will be $20 (us) out of your pocket with wine and apps and desserts.
Dinner is always after 11pm. And takes a long time. Clubs and bars do not really start their festivities until well after 2am. It is easy to find yourself coming home at 5-8am. The trick is to use naps and just go slow when you are out. No need to pound two jager red bulls and then a beer, and then move to the next bar because you were nothit on by the first 5 hottest girls you saw, and then jump in a taxi to find a hotel where you could get that last night cap before 2am. Just relax and enjoy the evening and just when you thought things were not going on tonight, you find a huge dance party in the middle of the street.
Cumbia and reggaetone suck in my opinion but I cannot escape it. If you go out dancing with locals, you will need to dance to this. It is the most repetitive music I have ever come across. Insert www.roachclipradio.com plug here.
At night the poor people from the suberbs come into the city and drag these carts that are 4 meters tall with recyclables. These people are called the carteneros and they keep the streets clean. I hear the city is trying to create a proper task force for this job but until they do, this is a good job for the poor people to do. They dont cause trouble, jsut drag a whole shit load of trash out of the city and into somewhere else.
I saw a guy at the airport racing another guy in the little buggies they have hauling bags. A backpack fell off of one and they didnt even stop or notice. I wonder whatever happened to that person and their bag?
The buses here have these strange air hoses hooked up into their hubs. You can hear that these buses are using a lot of air for what seems to be the shocks. icture to come. I can only gather that these hoses pump air into the axle and then into the shocks or something. Doesnt seem effecient but my guess is that there was some curruption at some point and a deal had been made to make this the popular way to make buses. The buses are also privately owned and you can see in some of them the driver has really personalized each one with custom mirrors and ornaments and black lights. A bus costs 90 centavos or roughly a quarter. Same with a subway ride. They are also pretty fun.
The city is documented in a small pocket book called the Guia T. Learn it, know it, love it.
They are incredibly good drivers here. They have four way intersections with no lights or stop signs and traffic just works. It makes me confident as I haul ass on the streets on my bike. When you cross the road on your feet, you try to be as close to the car as possible to make sure that you get in between that car and the one behind it.
I have noticed a lot of facial moles around here for some reason. Must be the weather.
The city provides free water to everyone and it must be drinkable. Lovely for someone sweating gallons on his bike and can only find bathrooms. No problems yet as far as I can tell but I have a miraculously strong stomach.
For the most part, all young people live with their parents until they are in their mid to late 20’s. Because of this, it is not easy to just go home with someone at the end of a night. So they have all these pay by the hour motels or telo’s all over the place. Yet to try one out but I did see a drive in one in Santos Brasil.
So there is this strange phenomenon regarding the one peso coin around here. They are in very short supply and if you buy something that requires that coin as change, they will ask for another way for you to pay. You say no, and then they scowl at you, yell in the back, some kid runs out and goes out side and does something to get a coin for you. That or they just ownt sell you the thing you want or they might even give it to you for free like the banana I got today. This is all because the buses run some sort of cartel that was in conjunction with the koreans. The buses would take all the peso coins since a trip costs 90 centavos, and then hoard them and sell them to the koreans who would then melt them down and sell the metal for more than they actual peso was worth. Fuckin rediculous I know. So there is this big question of why they dont introduce a card system into the buses, how hard could it be everyone asks. But it seems there is just too much curruption somewhere down the line and it never happens.
For such a large city, I can walk or take public transportation everywhere and it is another great example of what we need to do more of in America. Fuck density issues, just raise car taxes and gas prices, and provide commuter buses and light rail and small hovercrafts.
Good times, great people…