I am a watcher of people and the best place I have found to watch them, is an international airport. Now after living in Brazil, I see that the Brazilian Metro is a close second.
The Metro (or subway) is an inexpensive way to move through a city. In my life, I have only used the metros in three countries. The Metro in the Washington DC area, the Metro in Moscow Russia and the one here in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The one in the DC area is the most costly, as you are charged on how far you travel. The trips I usually took cost about 4 or 5 dollars. The system is very efficient, and the stations are concrete, glass and steel. I rode it many times from Springfield, VA into DC for work, and goes right past the solemn Arlington Cemetery. It seems to be the only time the verbal noise on the train subsides.
I loved the Russian Metro system. The stations are like museums, especially the ones that existed back during the Cold War. You can see the old Soviet statues depicting how great the Soviet Socialist system was. The newer ones have no statues but beautiful decor built into the walls and even the floors. The Metro charges one fee and you can ride all you want until you surface and pass through an exiting turnstile.
It was an amazing thing to see during rush hour. Back in 2007, the system moved 9 million people a day. A train would arrive every 45-90 seconds, and the doors opened for 20 seconds, then closed and it was gone. During that time of day, you walked like penguins because of the volume of people.
The Moscow trains always rode like they were about to fall apart, yet I don’t think they ever will. As the car rocks back and forth, sometimes the flooring moves opposite the car. The cars are not very clean and is common to see someone sleeping on a seat, or someone drunk. But, that is what made it interesting.
The Brazilian system is like Moscow. I will pay about what is equal to one US dollar and ride as far and long as I want. We can travel clear to the other side of the city and back for 2 dollars. A taxi ride can be as much a 40 US dollars.
The Brazilian Metro is like the one in the DC area, concrete, glass and steel. But what makes this system so interesting, is the people. I wish I had a camera I can wear that records what I see. Brazil has many of these strange people that do not fully realize there are only two genders. It is nearing Carnival which brings out very strange individuals. Below is a picture I took of what I believe is of the male gender. The metro is full of things like this.I will also tell you the Brazilians are very polite and considerate. The first time I road the Metro in Sao Paulo, a young lady got up to give me her seat. I was quietly stunned and just shook my head. If I spoke Portuguese fluently, I would have chewed her butt out for thinking I am an old fart. Do I really look that decrepit?
In Moscow, you would see the opposite. Someone will stand to let an elderly woman sit and one of the arrogant Russians would quickly sit down before she had a chance to. I learned to watch for it when I gave up my seat. I would make a point to block anyone else from taking my seat before he/she sat down.
Anyway, now I am in a bad mood thinking about the arrogant Russians. Good thing I don’t have a pet. Carnival is coming up quickly and we are already seeing signs of it. I will try to get a mess of pictures for you.
Until then, continue kicking butt. D.