Randomness (r_ness) wrote,

A bus ride to Pampulha.

A press of people crowding the sidewalk to get on the bus to Pampulha is my first indication something is out of the ordinary. Thus far the lines for buses in Belo Horizonte, and in Brazil in general, have been pretty orderly. This time, though, it's a pushing scrum.

Of young men.

Hmmm. I pay slightly more attention to the pocket into which I'd stuffed some money for the day, and let the push of the crowd carry me onto the bus, past the conductor's station--where I pay and get my change--and through the turnstile into the rear seating area. Not that there's any place to sit; we're all pressed up against each other, and there's hardly any reason to grab a handhold as the bus moves off.

Then the chanting starts, and I remember that the route to Pampulha takes us past Estadio Mineirão, with space for 130,000 screaming futebol fans. I'm told only Maracanã, in Rio, is bigger. And it's Saturday, a game day.

Oh my.

I'm on a bus full of Brazilian football fans, who are chanting and singing at the top of their lungs. The bus is rocking as they stamp their feet and slap the roof in time. On the other hand, everyone seems cheerful. The fans grin and laugh. It's a festive occasion, and even those of us who aren't going to the game are nodding along, as the mood is infectious. There are apparently a number of chants and a few different songs, and someone on the bus picks up a new one as an earlier one finishes. I'm having a fine time bouncing along.

One bright boy discovers--after reaching through an access cover someone's popped open--that a connecting hose for the pneumatic rear door opener can be pulled loose. He finds he can cap the hose with his finger in time to the chanting and stomping to make the whooshing sound to the beat. Many thumbs up from the guys around him.

Not from the driver, however, who at the next stop discovers he can no longer open the back door remotely. He gets out and walks around the outside of the bus to examine the door. When he finds out it is because his door opener has been turned into a percussion instrument, he loses it, starts shouting, and throws everyone off the bus.

The football fans don't mind; the stadium is just around the corner and up the hill. They shrug and get out. One middle-aged man with his young daughter, however, refuses. Despite the fact that my Portuguese is still poor, I can tell by the gestures and shouts pretty much what's going on: the driver says he won't go on with a damaged bus, and the passenger says he's paid a fare and won't leave until he and the child are taken to their destination. The shouting gets louder and more angry--though I notice the conductor is quietly staying out of it--and I decide it's probably time for me to join the football fans and get off the bus before things get out of hand, even though Pampulha is still a couple of kilometers away.
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