I have been sitting here for an hour; the house is quiet; Camillo still in bed and the workers who are giving the outside of the house a facelift have not yet arrived. I have known what I wanted to write about for at least 3 weeks. I even was out over the weekend, snapping photos just in case I needed just one more to tell the story. And still I sit and stare at the screen. The problem is this; do I want to tell the complete story which could take 3 or four posts or do I want to slap some photos up on the blog and be done with it.
Not that I write this blog to win popularity contests but when I have what I feel is an interesting story and I write it in some detail, showing a small fraction of the photos that I have to illustrate; I get very little feedback. And that is discouraging. The ‘what is the point’ question comes up regularly lately. So I will slap myself upside the head a couple of times and march forward, remembering that I write and take photos for my own enjoyment, and, of course, as an adult, a rather mature adult for that matter, I do not need the approval of my piers to be motivated.
Transportation in Rio / Nova Friburgo is a multifaceted issue. We have the Brazilian's love of their cars. We have what I think of as their competitive spirit. We have what I feel is their feeling of success being based on having and driving their cars. We have two cities that are at the base of a mountain range and one of them is locked in by the sea creating, in both cities, a narrow strip of land in which to live and to drive. We have Rio metropolitan area boasting a population of (approximately) 13 million. That means that (for the sake of argument) if one half of that population is on the move daily – needing to get to work, to school, to doctors, shopping and whatever, approximately 6.5 people have to get someplace TODAY, they need to do it fast (faster than you if you remember number 2 above) and they can only go through the narrow corridor between the Rocks and the Sea creating bottlenecks of mass proportions.
On December 30 2009 I wrote about the opening of a metro station in Ipanema. I used a similar map as the one above to illustrate the Rio Metro system. If you glance at that map and then look at the one above, you can already see the great strides being made to enlarge the system. Last month there was news of funding for many of the necessary projects had been approved and only last week information was given about the expansion of the Metro into Ipanema and Leblon. (see map to the left) There has been a lot of arguments against putting the metro through our area. I find it …. astounding… frustrating… mind boggling that anyone living in this area would feel that we shouldn’t have Metro stops.
From early Monday morning until late on Friday evening there is grinding noise and confusion from all the cars and busses that must drive down our streets to get to the next barrio. They are saying that the new Metro line to Gavea and on to the Barra will carry 300,000 people PER DAY. How can we not build this next leg of the subway.
I know that the primary objection is not the environmental impact of the system underground – 30 meters underground – but the subway stations themselves creating the objections. The stations in older parts of town, in Flamengo and Centro, for example, are dirty, have beggars and illegal kiosks that sell all sorts of junk (some not junk but mostly just junk), there is dirt and garbage on the streets and odors that we won't talk about and I understand no one in our area wants this mess. The stations underground are spotless, the bathrooms I don’t know cause I’ve not used them, they are well guarded and at least the General Osorio station is quite modern – so I say let's not let the blight above ground to take over our stations.
Last weekend Camillo and I used the Metro system to get down to (one of) the historic area in Centro (central or downtown). The trains ran every 5 minutes even though it was a Saturday. The trip down took about 15 minutes once we had gotten to the station. (add 15 minutes for the 8 blocks from our apartment to General Osorio station) Camillo rides for free as do all seniors and students with the proper ID card. My ticket one way was R$3.20 – coming back it was the same price but I also rode the ‘Surperfice’ metro bus the goes by our apartment. A taxi would be over R$30.00 each direction and even if there were no closed streets or traffic jambs the trip would be close to 45 minutes each way. So for us the metro is great and the expanded one will increase our ability to get were we want to go with the littlest cost and time.
a few shots to show you underground.
See the Pink sign – this car is exclusively for Woman – Monday through Friday – 6 am – 9 am and again in the evening. Not sure I see the reason but then I don’t ride the subway to work everyday dressed in my finery.
And the last 3 photos the Carioca Station in Centro