“Why are you walking the streets at two:00 am! It is not secure!”
My hostel mate from Belgium screamed as quickly as I entered the hostel. She was operating in her laptop at this hour though I, half sh*t-faced, couldn’t utter the words to her welcome remark. It was currently the initially month of my solo female travel in Brazil so Sao Paulo currently grew on me. I wasn’t positive how to answer back in a way that will be pleasing to her.
The receptionist was half paying consideration. He was reading a magazine with his legs elevated on the table.
“She is from Manila. Sao Paulo is not scary for her.”
That was one thing a response I under no circumstances believed of saying but possibly he’s suitable? Possibly I am not scared of walking the streets of Sao Paulo simply because I lived in Manila? I’d like to think Manila was a instruction ground for me. My courage is coming from the broth of my experiences though studying in Taft Avenue — the most notorious street in the complete University belt. I was after robbed though crossing the street so getting further cautious and watching my back each day has grow to be a habit. It was a one particular-time factor but you can under no circumstances be complacent in Manila. One thing will usually come up, in particular when you least count on it. I’d like to think that if I created it in Taft, I can make it anyplace.
When I initially landed Sao Paulo, it looked specifically like Manila – the targeted traffic, the culture, the men and women – I felt like I under no circumstances left the Philippines. Due to the fact of that, I became comfy and stayed for 90 days. Yes, I was just in Sao Paulo for three complete months just simply because it didn’t really feel strange. I have nearby close friends there and that is possibly one more issue why I didn’t really feel unsafe.
Sao Paulo usually gets a negative press. Individuals skip it. Brazil is so huge that other individuals choose to go to the most touristy components (like Rio de Janeiro) to save time and income. I, on the other hand, went to Sao Paulo and felt like staying. My South America journey was set on indefinite travel time so there wasn’t a rush – I can keep as extended as I want to do my digital nomad operate. I also think that staying in a particular spot for a extended time contributes to its level of security. The longer I stayed in Sao Paulo, the extra it became my residence.
Quite a few Brazilians in Sao Paulo are typically from European ancestry. For instance, my Couchsurfing host didn’t develop up in Italy but has an Italian passport. The Italians migrated to Brazil in 1875 when Brazil opened its lands to improve their population. Nowadays, there are extra than a million Italians in Brazil. Half of them reside in Sao Paulo. By 1904, Italian migration decreased so Brazil and Japan signed an agreement enabling Japanese migration to Brazil.
With this, Sao Paulo has been incredibly utilized to foreigners. I was after mistaken to be Brazilian-Japanese (simply because of my Asian eyes and brown skin). I am only speaking for myself but I’ve observed my European travel companions did not get any weird glances though traveling Brazil. They are genuinely utilized to foreign faces.
On my second go to, I stayed for one more four months and spent my time mainly in Rio de Janeiro and the north. It has usually been my dream to go to the Globe Cup 2014. The streets had been complete of men and women from all components of the planet. I did not consider of becoming cautious till one particular drunken morning, I got pickpocketed in Copacabana. I was living with a couple of men and women in a rented apartment. We take turns in cooking each day and when my turn came, I went to the supermarket. As per any huge sporting occasion in one particular of the busiest cities in the planet, the supermarket was genuinely crowded. I place my wallet in the basket and began strolling the crowded alleys. I wanted to cook adobo, a renowned, tasty and effortless to cook Filipino dish. There was under no circumstances a time that no one liked it. It is usually a hit.
Even though this dish is effortless to cook, the components in Brazil are various. Adobo’s key ingredient is soy sauce but primarily based on expertise, soy sauce in various nations are various. In Uruguay, it was significantly less salty I had to place two liters. In Nicaragua, I got one particular that is sweet. In Japan, effectively, Kikkoman. It took me a extended time to determine which Brazilian soy sauce fits the Filipino adobo.
When I ultimately chose one particular, I place it in the basket clinging to my suitable arm and to my surprise, my wallet was not there. It would’ve been okay if the contents of that wallet had been effortless to receive but it was mainly identification cards (driver’s license, citizen ID, and so on) that I can only get in the Philippines. It is not a issue if I do not have these simply because my passport is nonetheless secure (thank God!) but I wasn’t comfy traveling with just one particular ID, in particular I was traveling for an indefinite period of time. What hurts the most in that instance was that I just withdrew my salary from my on the web job. It was $800 USD down the drain.
I panicked. I went to the consumer service region and asked for assistance. My Brazilian Portuguese was just okay to realize so the supermarket employees sort of understood me. They announced it on the PA but I was 100% positive I will not get it back. In a nation as poor as Brazil, it will be a miracle to get this back. But I did give not substantially worth to it just to please me. I nonetheless hoped that somebody would be type sufficient to leave it even devoid of the income. But how do I win with that when the income weighs extra worth to me than the IDs.
I wanted to burst into tears outdoors the supermarket. I left my telephone at the apartment so I couldn’t contact my close friends. Our spot was a couple of minutes stroll to the supermarket but I didn’t realize why I didn’t go back to the comfort of my close friends. I just sat there quietly analyzing the initially time I lost income in this extended journey.
“Are you okay?”
A guy carrying a buying bag approached me. I possibly looked like I was going to cry any minute. I told him the story on how I lost my wallet. He was listening meticulously and told me that pickpocketing is incredibly popular in Rio de Janeiro. He didn’t lecture me about getting mindful although it is possibly what I deserved.
“Come to my property for lunch. It will make you really feel greater.”
My mom has usually been worried about my habit of hanging out with men and women I do not know. In current years, there have been numerous rape and murder situations for solo female travelers. My mom’s (or one more mom’s) greatest worry is to see her daughter killed in the news headlines. But somehow, I felt the sincerity of this stranger. I felt his offer you was genuine and what else can I shed anyway? My wallet is gone. He can under no circumstances take something from me. If he harms me, effectively, I will fight back for positive. I am not positive if I will be capable to simply because I know that panicking is the initially response when you are going to be attacked. “Groins, eyes and knees” are the 3 words are the words I programmed my thoughts collectively with panic. These are the 3 locations I will aim to hit if I get attacked.
For the record, I was under no circumstances attacked or physically assaulted in my travels all more than the planet. Not even in the Middle East. I under no circumstances had to hit any individual on the groins, eyes, and knees but I’m positive it performs. Repeating these 3 words, I went with this man to his residence. The route he was walking to was going to Rocinha, the notorious favela exactly where I use to volunteer as a teacher.
Favelas (slums) in Rio de Janeiro is viewed as unsafe. It is not advisable to go right here on your personal. It is worth seeing as it is one particular of the most iconic of Brazil but you will require to sign up with a tour enterprise. My operate expertise there was the only purpose I would go by myself. Nonetheless, if I am not familiar with it, I wouldn’t dare go alone. Collectively with this stranger, we cooked, chatted and after once again, I had the possibility of seeing the very good in men and women. If you want to study the complete version of this story, you can click right here.
In 2017, a heard of a Filipino blogger who was robbed at gunpoint in the exact same favela that I have been to. This broke my heart simply because I under no circumstances genuinely had a negative expertise in Rio de Janeiro (aside from the pickpocketing). Possibly following some years that I didn’t go to, occasions have changed? I believed to myself that possibly occasions did modify. It changed my thoughts going to Brazil once again simply because I didn’t want to overwrite the very good memories I had. But then once again, I realized, that security, in particular in Brazil is subjective and private. I really think that our aura drastically impacts our security.
Following consuming at my new identified friend’s residence, I remembered that my close friends had been waiting for me to cook lunch – they should have been starving! I excused myself to my accidental host and told him I necessary to go back and inform my close friends that I am secure. As quickly as I got to the apartment, only two of my close friends had been there. They told me they had been seeking for me for hours and had been incredibly worried about me. I told them about what occurred and they insisted that I go to the police to report it. Like I was a couple of hours ago, they had been hoping there is nonetheless a possibility that I will locate it. But I honestly moved on. We all went to the Polícia Federal to file a report. I necessary this report to claim my insurance coverage anyway.
Is solo female travel in Brazil secure? Would I inform you not to go there? Of course, not! I take into consideration traveling Brazil by myself one particular of my greatest achievements in life. You deserve to see this nation. If you ever locate oneself forced to entertain unwelcome consideration, all you have to do is ignore them – do it with all your heart to make them really feel they do not exist. You know, like you are not hearing or seeing them. I have mastered this not just in Brazil but in most components of the planet. I realized that if you get started a conversation with them, even just a straightforward hello, they will under no circumstances cease bugging you.
Brazil, I guess is for knowledgeable solo female travelers. If you are not positive of your level, do not go out at evening by oneself. Make positive to usually hang out with men and women. In the course of my time in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, I have been super active in weekly Couchsurfing meet-ups which led me to meet a lot of locals. Anytime I am in doubt of going to a neighborhood I am not familiar with, I make positive that I usually go with locals or a group.
I wanted to attempt hitchhiking as I did from Uruguay to Argentina but this is not advisable for solo female travel in Brazil. Once more, if you want to do this, make positive you are with a companion or a group.
English is not extensively spoken in Brazil so you could want to study the fundamentals for emergency purposes. Ajuda is the planet for assistance. It is only one particular-word but everybody will realize this.
When it comes to what to put on, it is incredibly recognized to us that Brazilians are genuinely trendy and loves dressing up attractive. My option of wardrobe was under no circumstances a issue for me in Brazil. I wore something I want devoid of even considering!
Bear in mind to be mindful with your stuff. Most of the establishments in Brazil accept credit cards so it is okay for you to go about devoid of money. I only realized this through my third go to to Brazil. From then on, I only use a debit card when going out. Do not go out like me with $800 USD in your wallet simply because it will be problems.
Above all, delight in. Brazil is extra than an astounding nation. You will really like every thing about Brazil as substantially as I did.