Monday, April 25, 2011

The Ugly Side of Rio de Janeiro

So Rio de Janeiro isn't really giving me her best past couple of days. I must have pissed her off somehow because it seems that she is showing me the side of her that likes to give people the finger.

Anyway, I came to this conclusion while cruising the neighborhood. I passed by an old man laying on the edge of the curb with people circled around him.  Poor guy had passed out and badly twisted his ankle in the process.

He was awake at this point and people were trying to help the best they could. The feisty old man was telling everyone to get over it and that he wanted to go home.  I think he forgot that he is super old, just randomly passed out while walking on the street, and that other people were involved at that point. Sneaking home was not going to fly.

The sad part about all this was the lack of professional help. A woman was calling, for the second time I understood, for an ambulance. I figured I'd physically go get one since we were down the street from the freaking fire station.

I get to the fire station to find another man already there telling them the same thing.

The response of the fireman was alarming. He looked slightly annoyed and said that he would go note it down.

Note it down?! I know that there's a lot bureaucracy here but this is ridiculous! The guy was down the freaking street. If you can't take the car walk your ass over there with a stretcher and carry him to the hospital!

It makes me wonder, do these firemen not deserve the raise they want or is it a case of they'd work harder if that had it? Actually, random option number 3, the bureaucracy is the real problem and it does not matter how much they make.

What do you guys think? Does anyone know how the system in Brazil works? 


  1. Rachel,

    That firefighter is lazy, crazy and a bastard!!! Not the acceptable standard by any means of the imagination.
    Next time you encounter some public worker like that, don't be shy, tell him if he doesn't "act" quickly you are going to look for his boss to report his lack of initiative and tell him if his boss can't be located you have newspaper and TV crews on speed dial on your cell phone and they will be glad to show up and ask him/her why they are refusing to do their job!
    I've done this before, it is interesting to see the change in attitude when they see you mean business and you demand their immediate action with the threat of a scandal on the news, because if you really call the news crew and they show up, not only the bastard will loose his job and FAT PENSION, but his boss will too!
    Trust me, this strategy works every time and by the way, I never had to actually call any newspaper or TV crew, the public employees threatened always delivered right away :)


  2. I agree with Ray. There is no excuse. The firefighters in NYC are grossly underpaid based on the job they have to do, yet when my husband had his heart attack, I was told that the guys at the fire station down the block literally ran down the street to save him. And I won't even mention 9/11. Maybe there is less idealism about the job here in Brazil than there is in the U.S. Maybe these guys here are firefighters because it is the best paying job they could get, not because they are considered heros. Regardless, you shouldn't be doing that job unless you are ready to save lives.

  3. Hi Rachel !I'm Brazilian,more specifically,Carioca (american citizen since September)and just discovered your blog.
    I have a blog,kind of the same situation,only I'm the foreigner living in the States and is mostly about american culinary. Anyway..situations like this are sooooo typical Brazilian !Yes,you could get on his face and threaten to call his boss or the news and that will probably be effective. should not be that way,and I will never accept that ! On a visit to Rio,a few years ago,my husband had to demand help and almost fight a crowd of curious onlookers to help an elderly gentleman and his little grandson,pinned underneath a car(they were run over while walking in the sidewalk).
    I'm just so sick of that kind of situation and attitude,growing up in that culture, that I don't even want to go to Brazil to visit.
    God Bless America,my home sweet home !

  4. There is no excuse and I really didn't feel the situation was grave enough to get into someone's face. If I were the guy, and I almost suggested it, I would have gotten into a cab. I always do that first!

    Claudia, That is crazy! Btw, on my way to your blog now :)

    BAB, I hear you about the NYC firefighters! They rock! I always tell my boys that firemen are heroes...

    Ray, Now I have the ammo to use if I need it. Thanks!

    2BKate, it was scary and eye opening