On The Road- Evading Carnival on the way to Monte Roraima

I am in Sao Paulo with Andre and we are driving to get some gear to get ready for our next trip. It is pretty empty now since lots of people have left yesterday and today to go celebrate carnival somewhere else.

There is carnival here too. I don,t particularly care for carnival. And every single attempt I have had to spend it in Rio made me feel like running away from there in a couple of days. I love Rio, but not during Carnival.

There are loads of people who like Carnival here in Brazil. To me it always feels that the discrimination and difference between social classes which is always part of Brazilian life becomes more latent. Therefore now I try to evade it!

Where should I go I ask Andre considering he cares as little as I do for carnival.

So we come to Sao paulo since we have a plan, we are flying from here. We want to go back to Manaus, which is in the Amazonas state, and from there we want to go from Manaus to Boa Vista. From there we will take the “in”famous BR-174 road. From Boa Vista we should cross to Venezuela in order to climb Monte Roraima.

Monte Roraima also known as Tepuy Roraima and Cerro Roraima is the highest of the Pakaraima chain of tepui plateau in South America.

Most of the people who have been there say it is beautiful beyond belief. It is also tiring to get there and it gets cold during the night, and it is enormously hot during the day. It rains and never anything gets dry there. Does that look like an invitation to come?

On top of that the Brazilian TV shows daily how dangerous is life in Venezuela. I usually dismiss the news from TV. Had I not, I would have never made amazing friends in Palestine, been alone to Kashmir and would have not seen and done so many things in the world. So I usually prefer to talk to those who have been there, or even better to those who are there now.

I ask Gonzalo, who is Argentinian and had come from his country through the south of Brazil in a trailer. He came all the way from the south to the north. He drove to belem, took a fairy and went to Venezuela with his trailer. I asked him whether it was dangerous there now.

“Well, no. I think there is not that much difference between Venezuela and Brazil. You should always use caution. But it is beautiful, and the people are very friendly. I have been here for the past 3 months . You should definitely come.”

After getting information from people all over the place, we decided to go to decathlon, which is a sports/adventure shop in order to get some last items.

As we were driving with open windows, which many people are afraid of doing here in sao paulo because of robberies, we stopped in a red light. Suddenly a man came running towards Andre’s window.

He looks at Andre and says:

” Brother, I am not going to lie. I am an alcoholic. I am missing 25 cents to be able to buy my cachaca (a hard liquor made of sugar cane). Can you please give me? I don’t need more than that. Just my cachaca.””

I am amazed by his honesty. I rush to get the money before the light changes and we have to go. He thanks us enormously.

As he goes we start laughing. So much honesty. I find it is truly admirable. I have seen so many times, new evangelics and “super” religious who drink too much, use drugs, cheat and bit their wives. And still preach how to lead a good life talk so much about honesty and lie, that this guy amazes me.

I remember one more time that my grandmother had once gave money to a woman who lives in the street. She said it was to eat. I was fifteen at the time and told my grandmother “this lady is going to drink”. And so my grandmother said “She said that to make me happy. Once you give something to someone you should learn to really let it go. It is no longer yours. Who am I to decide what is better for that lady. It is a cold day, maybe alcohol might be what she needs.”

I am still amazed by that awareness. Having the position to give is already lots of power you do not need to decide anything for the other too.

I have several times attempted to make people be more conscious. And many times there has been people telling me I should be more conscious. I also have several times heard from wise men and women that we should allow for the others to make their own decisions.

As I told all of this to Andre I realised that that was probably the most honest encounter I had ever had in a carnival period. I remembered being in Rio’s street carnivals singing about the freedom of oppression while poor children were collecting cans to sell. The poor serving once again the privileged singing the equality of all. The blatant discrimination of white rich Brazilians towards the poor.

My sequence of thoughts
are broken because it was time to arrive. We are in Decathlon I should buy almost nothing. I should spare money and should remember I could not possibly carry a heavy bag on my back.

It is hot here, but I do look forward to go back to Manaus. There it is “winter”just as hot as here, or even worse, but it is winter because it rains. I look forward to cross the famous BR 174 for about 13 hours inside of some kind of bus through the Amazon. I am apprehensive about the climb with rain, with nothing that dries, the heat and the cold, the sky, and I am definitely looking forward to it all but specially to meet the Venezuelans of whom so much has been spoken of of TV lately.

Insh’allah nothing will stop my path this time. Whenever I do have internet I will let you know about it.


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