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29 avril 2013 1 29 /04 /avril /2013 15:20

 

Well, in our opinion Brazil is not a cycling destination, at least the part in the South we have biked. There is lots of traffic, aggressive drivers and a not very friendly attitude to people like us, homeless, nomads, moving from place to place. The landscape is nice, with green hills, continuous up and downs, never flat...it seems nice but with so much traffic you cannot enjoy.

Brazil is supposed to be among the top 5 economies in the world. However for us it seems to be the poorest country we have visited in the last 4 years. Ok, we do not measure richness by GDP or % of growth but by the happiness and welcoming of the locals towards foreigners.

 

Here are some examples to summarize life in Brazil based on our experience in the last 6 weeks in this country. Sorry, if it sounds too negative, it is not a general statement for the whole country but it is what we saw on a daily basis during our stay: People do not look at the eyes to greet each other, they do not even say “Bon dia” (if you do so, they look strange at you). It is a country with so many ethnics but still very racist: many times they asked me if I am a Bolivian fearing that I could be a drug dealer. Yes, huge fear to strangers, 2 people by bicycle who do not fit in their mental scheme and automatically they see us as “stranger and dangerous”.

We were denied many times to pitch the tent, giving stupid excuses and trying to get rid of us. It is the first time we felt that if something bad happened the locals were not going to help “the 2 strangers”. We wonder why the people have changed so much from the other countries in South America. Brazil seems like a continent apart, indeed the locals are proud about being Brazilian, most of them have never travelled outside and they probably think there are no other countries outside. This leads to a very racist attitude: if you are not from “the group=Brazil” you are not welcome.

 

We saw continuously signs of a sick society: people driven by money, consuming and consuming, huge poverty on the streets, the biggest gap between poor and rich we have seen since for long time. The welcoming by the locals was artificial; people seemed only to be interested in “how do you finance your travel”, the social values have disappeared. We have no idea where Brazil is heading to, probably it will keep the huge growth rates but for us it is the poorest country in South America in terms of humanity.

 

Fortunately, Brazil is not that bad. Rio is a very beautiful city blessed by its prime location between hills and next to the sea. We also had very good meetings with warmshower members like JP-Evelyn, Iracema-Silvia and Thomas and his family, a friend I did not see for 6 years. It was great to share time with all of you!

Finally the flight was waiting for us and after 11hours we landed in Barcelona where my sister was waiting to give us a huge welcome!!

 

 

RIO DE JANEIRO AND ITS FAMOUS 'PAO DE AÇUCAR'

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RIO DE JANEIRO AND ITS FAMOUS 'PAIN DE SUCRE'

 

Dernier troncon: on quitte les chutes Iguazu à destination de Sao Paulo, quelques 1’100km redoutés! Non pas pour la distance ni pour la difficulté (pourtant le profil du terrain est rempli de challenges permanents – montées-descentes, le plat est quasi inexistant) mais pour le type de route – que dis-je autoroute - et son trafic dense où les chauffeurs de poids lourds tout comme les automobilistes ne donnent aucune considération aux pauvres cyclistes que nous représentons – mais alors ZERO!


On organise notre survie, roulons sur la bande d’arrêt d’urgence, l’exercice se voit sans aucun intérêt, mais a pour avantage de nous garder en vie. Le problème commence lorsque cette dernière disparait pour donner place a une deuxième voire troisième voie lors des montées. On se voit donc obligés de traverser toutes les lignes et poursuivre à contre-trafic sur la bande d’arrêt d’urgence opposée.

 

Le paysage n'est pourtant pas moche, la chaleur est supportable, on dégotte des douches facilement et, à souligner, partout (station essence, restaurant, cafétaria...) là où les chauffeurs de camion font escale. 

 

 

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  Le meilleur spot de camping trouvé pendant ces 13 jours de vélo:

un terrain de foot!

 

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  Autoroutes et camions - passage du tropique du Capricorne

 

Un autre exercice de taille est de se trouver un endroit pour planter la tente!  Après 4 ans à voyager en vélo, on compte sur une main les fois ou l’on nous a refusé le “prêt” de 4m2 de terrain pour y passer la nuit. Que ce soit chez des particuliers, fermes, églises, pompiers…, en principe le voyageur cycliste attire la sympathie,  sauf ici au Brésil! 9x de suite en une soirée on nous refusera un endroit pourtant demandé dans un mini-village où l’espace vert ne manque pas. Visiblement on effraye les Brésiliens pour ne pas être justement Brésiliens. Y aurait-il un brin de racisme? Certainement! Voilà que l’on vous affiche notre pauvre vision de ce pays et ses habitants antipathiques, on ose espérer que cela concerne seulement le Sud – partie la plus développée du pays.

 

Qu’à cela ne tienne, on se débrouille et on survit une fois de plus pour la phase nocturne aussi: si demander autorisation se révèle un échec assuré, on décide de s’octroyer des endroits sans autorisation et pour ce, on plante donc notre tente derrière de petites chapelles abandonnées, terrain de football ou dans des endroits ou le “nomade motorisé” y est convié – c’est à dire – les stations essences gigantesques. Cette solution se révèle un peu bruyante et pas le top du top pour poser une tente sur un parking lorsqu’il pleut. Pour avantage on notera les commodités suivantes: douches chaudes gratuites et WC super propres, eau bouillante a disposition pour le café matinal tout comme de l’eau potable fraîche pour remplir les bidons de vélo, un signal WIFI pour checker les emails, bref, ces lieux deviennent pour nous comme des hôtels.

 

13 jours plus tard, l’épreuve ultime se présente à nous: entrer dans la méga cité de Sao Paulo et ses 20 millions d’habitants, rien que ca! On se souvient du trafic du Caire, Tokyo, Osaka, Pekin, Bogota, Quito, La Paz, Buenos Aires et on se dit que ca devrait passer, une fois de plus…

 

La réalité: les voies semblent se multiplier au fur et à mesure de notre rapprochement de la ville, 2 puis 3 puis 4 et ainsi de suite jusqu’a être bordés de 10 voies et un nombre impressionnant de poids lourds et voitures nous frôlant à toute allure. Le problème le plus redouté étant les entrées et sorties d’autoroutes où évidemment personne ne nous considère et où l’on se voit obligés d’attendre parfois 5 bonnes minutes pour enfin avoir 2 secondes pour traverser la voie entre 2 voitures entrant plein gaz!

 

Un rythme de malade, une odeur nauséabonde nous faisant lever le nez du guidon – tient on traverserait quelques “favelas” (réptuées dangereuses) et après 4 heures et demie, nous voilà enfin dans la ville ou le piéton réapparait et de ce fait pouvons rouler sur les trottoirs.

On s’offre quelques pâtisseries, se félicitons d’être toujours en vie et on se jure de ne pas pousser la chansonnette jusqu’a Rio de Janeiro. Oh non!

 

 

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  Avenida Paulista - Business Centre

 

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  'Pasteles' - rectangles fourrés et frits

 

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  Centro - Cathedrale de Sé

 

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Quartier Bohèmien - Vila Madalena

 

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Pieds a terre, Chotine et Kakarbita ont rempli leur mission Sud-Américaine haut la main, repos pour elles tout comme pour nos jambes. On décide donc de faire un saut a l’immanquable Rio, ses plages, et vues mythiques au côté du Christ en version aller-retour en bus.

 

 

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  Vue depuis ses épaules

 

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3 playas (3)

  Plage mythique de Copacabana

 

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et celle d'Ipanema 

 

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4 Rio (1

  Centro


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  Arcos de Lapa

 

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  Favela

 

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Merci a Iracema & Silvia - bel accueil sur les hauts de Rio! 

 

De retour sur Sao Paulo, l’exercice paquetage de vélo et se rendre à l’aéroport avec nos passés 100kg de bagages s’opère (un énorme merci a Denise!!), le check-in est a la hauteur de la réputation de la compagnie aérienne - pour ne pas la citer, Singapore Airline - le décollage est doux tout comme l’atterrissage, accueillis que nous sommes par Edurne, la soeur de Joseba: Barcelona nous voilà, que c’est bon et facile de se retrouver en terrain connu…

 

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Merci a Thomas - ami d'études de Joseba - Denise & Eric pour l'excellent accueil sur Sao Paulo.   

 

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Danilo 05/05/2017 02:21

Guys...please. You're giving a wrong idea of what Brazil is. You can't judge brazil by only visiting rio de janeiro. We are not that bad like the guy said. Brazil has different sides..good ones and bad ones like any other country. But the guy above alwalys tent to see the bad sides. I can't do anything about that. But I have to tell you guys that the person who wrote this article doesn't know anything about brazil and its people. I just saw a bunch of misconceptions that doesn't make any sense to a person who really knows the country by its core. We aren't freeloaders, we don't care about your money. We don't even care. If you are a foreigner. Our culture is vast and beautiful. But if you don't have the guts to live in brazil...I will give you a phrase that resumes everything here. Brazil, love it or leave it. Bye

Adela 25/12/2013 23:53

Great job guys!!! Finally someone wrote the truth. We spent 6 months cycling in Brazil and we have to agree with you 100%. Being nearly 4 years on the road, we think the same - Brazil is not a good cycling destination, particularly the south. Mentally it is the poorest country we have ever been to. People are either unfriendly or friendly in a very artificial way. Or if they help, they expect to get all possible compliments about their hospitality. We met some nice people but the majority was very arrogant and wanted to talk only about money and always was trying to show that they are better than others (including they pride of being Brazilian). The country is also completely devastated and the Brazilian nature is just a lay and a myth. Cycling in Parana, I am sure you saw 700 km of soya fields. Only 5% of original Atlantic Forest is left. Further soya is replaced by GMO bananas, and further by GMO eucalyptus. The Amazon is dying as well. From one pristine, virgin spot, to another are thousands km of destructive plantations. Moreover the Brazilian food is a complete crap! OK, you can eat a nice fejao but fruits and veg sucks - artificial, GMO, supermarket crap. And Brazilians are such opportunists that if they live a comfortable life they would never stand up to pretest about something (apart if it has a financial impact on them) and would never stand up to protect their poor people or their nature. T That's Brazil. When we were living to Bolivia, we were so released to finally enter a normal country. Don't worry about other comments you got. They are driven by Sergio Figueira who could not stand the truth so he made an action on Warm Showers to defend his poor country. Keep rolling and publicizing your insight thoughts, because it is very good to see people writing really what they think, not what they should write.

Paulo Ribeiro 14/11/2013 18:20

Dear Joseba and Corine,
I'm Brazilian and I live in Cascavel-Pr, (South of Brazil,near Foz do Iguaçu)I'm here to alert anyone who might read your post regarding the Brazilian culture, in which you advise anyone that Brazil is not a good cycling destination. Those who follow your advice might miss an incredible country and a vibrant cycling community.
In the beginning of your text you apologize and try to say that it's not a general statement,but reading this post was painful for us,here in Cascavel, in the Brazilian bike community. We are really sorry for you bad experiences,but from your post,it makes the reader thinks that Brazil is all about poverty and bad education towards foreigners.
I have to agree that people in the south are a bit less warm than northerners,perhaps it is because of the climate,perhaps ironically is the European influence in the south(many people in the south are Italian,German,polish descendants).hahaha.
If you dig a little bit,however you will find very nice people that have an admiration of foreigners and other cultures, and are incredible easy at making new friends.
I really think you overreacted by writing this post so hard on Brazilian culture because you were probably stressed out and homesick.(In your next post you say “Back to paradise,”despising all the cultures you left behind)
Ok,we have problems!But every country in the world has. One thing is to say and tell about a bad experience,other completely different is to state we all think the same. Yes,there are close minded people in Brazil,but probably there are close minded people in any part of the world.
Next time, describe all the facts and let the readers to decide whether they want to go to a place or not.
We have a really bad traffic,but richer countries in the world also have problems.(see this post http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/us-cycling-from-a-dutch-perspective/)
There's a lot of people in Brazil fighting to transform Brazil in a better place for cyclists,many of them are on warmshowers and are sad to read you opinion about our country and your post doesn't help things get better.
I believe it is healthy to have different perspective from people of other countries,but not with the aggressive tone of your words...
Good luck with the rest of your journey,hope you come back to Brazil one day and can enjoy the people and the country better.

Pedro Alonso 14/11/2013 14:34

Maybe 6 week trip is not long enough to draw conclusions so strong and negative about a country as large and diverse as Brazil, opinions that may offend many of its wonderful inhabitants , also bike enthusiasts and adventure.

I guess that influences the path we choose enough , there are always roads or dirt tracks that lead us away from traffic, but the most important component is certainly fortunate that makes great people you come across in your way, talk a little Portuguese also helped me open many doors.

I've been lucky enough to travel the country by bike for 6 months , in 2013 , from Foz de Iguazu to the southern border of Venezuela , my personal experience has been very positive, HOSPITALITY has been overwhelming , I was invited to rest and eating in countless homes, fixed my bike several times without accepting my money , even other parts gave me , I was very well received by Warmshowers or Couchsurfing Estates well as by public and private , anonymous people of all social strata , in my the balance weigh much more positive than negative experiences .

Maybe in the South, at times , be a little more difficult to find room for outdoor camping , but I understand that nobody is forced to give shelter and that this kind of life we have chosen us because we like it, do not want to compromise others, or that they feel obligated to understand what I do, and who come from very different cultures.

Sorry for my English I used google translate and maybe not 100% understand what I'm saying

hector zavala 13/11/2013 23:13

Mi friend:
I think you have a particular bad experience, maybe you looked for help in the wrong places.
I am a cicloturist, travelling all around the countries in America latina, and my experience has been completely different. As i told you, i have travelled at the moment more than 20 latino country and i can say that brazilian hospitality is very big. I have received help from people with good incomes and also from poor people, in the north of the country as in the south. The country is beautiful, is just necessary to avoid the main roads and look for more nature. For me Brazil has been a great experience, i have really good friends in the south as in the north and always was received in a house.

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