I just remembered that Gabi told me yesterday about Crackland. You read that right: Crackland. As in, land of Crack. Or, in Portuguese, Cracolândia (Wiki article here). Apparently crack costs about $3 USD on the street. That’s about the price of a Gatorade here. I mean, when you have the choice between crack cocaine and Gatorade…
Anyway. Today was the first official day of our orientation. I got up around 8:00am and had an interesting breakfast in the hotel restaurant (eggs, pão de queijo, a weird lime-flavored mousse, some slices of salami/ham?, watermelon, honeydew, milk..and some meat pastries).
Orientation was informative: We talked about banking in Brazil, how to register with the federal police (something that everyone here must do when they arrive if they are staying for more than 90 days), what our grant money covers, blah blah etc etc. My confidence in Brazilian bureaucracy is high. And by high, I mean, “Fuck, I need to set aside a whole week do this shit? And the police will probably make me do it multiple times just because they feel like it? Great!”
We then left on a tour (in an air-conditioned tour bus no less!) of the city. I didn’t hate it! …i.e. it beats walking around for hours in the heat and humidity.
First stop: The Mercado Municipal. This is basically a giant indoor food market with restaurants on the second level. It’s not that cheap, but apparently locals come here for some hard-to-find foods.
Of course I was starving at this point, so I briefly considered eating at the Japanese restaurant…
Decided against eating here because of the outlandish prices ($20 USD for a mediocre-looking bowl of yakisoba). Did, however, continue to peruse their menu for more depictions of Japanese people.
Instead, I went with a sandwich and some juice. Came out to about $8 USD. Not bad, but it ain’t cheap!
Then I walked around the market, and discovered the meat section. Hoooly crap.
Next stop: Parque da Luz (Park of Light) and Pinacoteca (a museum of Brazilian paintings and sculptures, mostly from the 1800s/1900s).
There are giant trees here..
Okay now on to the museum..
Then we took our nice air-conditioned bus back to the hotel. I passed out (again) and was mildly annoyed when we got to the hotel. Thankfully, I’ve managed to control my urge to punch someone when they wake me up, so no one was harmed.
Anyway. After a few hours of putzing, my belly instructed me to eat something. Met up with some fellow students downstairs, and had a nice Italian dinner. :)
…Also, the toilet paper in our hotel keeps disintegrating on me. Maybe it’s just the chemical makeup of my my waste, but I suspect that the culprit is actually shitty manufacturing (har har!).
I can’t wait to get to Rio. Maybe then this infernal cough will go away (it’s been almost 2 weeks!).