Friday, February 28, 2014

How to Avoid Freezing to Death on a Brazilian Bus

Buses in Brazil are nice. Visually. 

Temperature-wise, they're hell. It took me three long-distance bus rides to learn how to dress appropriately. It doesn't matter if you're on an overnight bus or a day bus; the air conditioning will find you and make you yearn for the next middle-of-nowhere trucker stop where you can jump off the bus and stand outside while waiting for the circulation to return to your veins.

Here are a few tips on how to stay warm on these arduous journeys. 

To start with the positives, the buses usually have plenty of leg room. This comes in handy for stretching out, sleeping, and hair-braiding.

Mobile hair salon

Speaking of hair, the bus from Curibita to Sao Paulo happened to have free shampoo and conditioner samples in every seat pocket! Not that there was a shower on board...

Free samples!

The trucker stops are quite nice, and sell everything from junk food and soda to a full hot buffet. Stops are usually 20-30 mintues, every 4-6 hours.

Midnight snacking...
But to get to my main point, the temperature on Brazilian buses is freezing! Make sure you have SOCKS, a jacket with a HOOD, and ideally a fleece blanket. Multiple layers are important. My one pair of black leggings left me desperately rubbing life back into my legs every five minutes. Gloves help, as does tucking your pants into your socks to create a onesie experience. Wear as many shirts as you can. This will also make your backpack lighter.

Not sure why we're smiling, actually

Oh, but you can just close the air conditioning vent, you ask? Wrong. Cold air comes out of multiple places, including the floor, ceiling, side of the window, and two vents. One vent can be closed. The other is open all the time. Luckily, I happened to have notebook paper and a roll of scotch tape, and we were finally able to seal closed the open air vent. The tape was weak and the air persistent, however, but Billie and I relentlessly took turns re-taping throughout the night.

Good luck!

Our taped-shut air vent