Monday, May 31, 2010

Driving in Rio de Janeiro

Driving in Rio de Janeiro is an amazing thing.  It's like being in a pinball machine, you bounce from here to there and one wrong move means game over.

In all seriousness, I haven't had a problem. Then again, I have the utmost respect for driving in Rio.  You have to.  Things on the road change from one minute to the next. If it's not a random delivery guy on a bike, it's a sudden traffic jam, or a car cutting over from the outside lane to turn right.

It's madness.  You also have to take in for account the fact  that not all streets have signs, and some that do have the tiniest ones you've ever seen. And if you miss your turn you could end up stuck on a highway for 30 minutes before you can turn around. It happened to a friend of mine. A short-cut turned into a long-cut when she missed her turn and wound up over by the international airport.  2 hrs later she was home with a migraine.

Now don't get me wrong,  this is not to discourage you from driving here.  It's an adventure and a hell of a lot of fun. There are no rules. I don't even know why there are lanes.  Once they repaved a highway leaving Rio and hadn't painted the lanes on. Daniel and I were laughing hysterically because it almost worked better. No one pays attention to the lanes so be prepared.

Here is a great site about driving in Rio. It's in-depth info for those who need to know:

Here's a less tense version:

In all honestly, you don't need to drive here.  Take a bus. There are buses everywhere and they go everywhere.  And they are an adventure. Hold on, I have literally fallen out of my seat on one of these bad boys. The drivers drive like they are in the indy 500... in a bus full of people.

The subway also works. Doesn't go to as many places as buses but it's a good system.

There are 500 taxis for every 1 person in Rio. You will have no problem getting one unless it's raining.  Cariocas melt in the rain.  It's been proven. They are made of sugar.

Take a van.  You'll see them. The guys hanging out of the VW bus shouting while the car is driving. Yes, that is mass transit. I've taken them. I save them for special trips like zona sul to Barra.

Lastly, walk. Great way to see everything.

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