Finally things have started moving and I got the contact of the company that is supposed to ship my belongings to Brazil (after 2 months of begging and requesting in every possible way). So I decided to go down to storage home base – 2 hours away- to mark my belongings with an obnoxious pink leopard tape. Due to the wonders of bus wi-fi, this post is being written en-route. 2 hours to get there, 3 hours there sorting through my stuff, 2 hours back, plus 1 hour way to the airport puts my commute to JFK at 11 hours. What an efficient way to spend my time. Kids, don’t try this at home.
The most unusual thing about this whole hurricane situation was riding a cab through an empty Manhattan on a Saturday night. The city looked abandoned.
Apparently in Battery Park, some steps got flooded. Oh well. Next hurricane.
I have been given the “gift” of perfect timing. Of course, a day before my trip to the East Coast, they had the once-in-a-gazillion-years earthquake and now I am preparing to meet hurricane Irene with open arms tonight. Exciting times!
Having arrived here on Wednesday, I had enough time to remember the many reasons why I love New York City. This time, I branched out from my beloved upper west side, and decided to stay with a friend in the hipster East Village. Once I got re-acquainted with the drug-addicts and homeless people, I had time to enjoy the many good restaurants/coffee/shops/bars this area has to offer. It was amazing to walk down the street and see persons of any race, nationality, gender around me. I barely heard any English. You forget about this, living in real America. I saw so many weirdos, too. One guy was riding a little girl’s bicycle with pink tassels and everything. He was dressed in tighty-whities, a wife-beater and white straw hat with a pink ribbon. He was just riding the bicycle, stopping by the windows of restaurants and cafes, and trying to get people’s attention.. incredible.
Otherwise, it has been interesting to watch Manhattan prepare for the storm. Many of the businesses decided to close for the weekend, while others proudly displayed signs stating they will stay open until the sign you are reading will fly away from the door. People as always started freaking out and buying out every possible crap at the stores, which reminded me of the last hurricane that threatened Houston, leading to mass paranoia in Austin, Texas. At the end, there was no hurricane in either place but loads of people got stuck on the highway between the two cities in an 18 hours traffic jam (normally, the journey takes 2.5 hours..) because they ran out of gas. I hope the case will be the same here.
Last night, while out for drinks, everyone in the hood displayed a positive and careless mood. 4am at local pizza place, everyone was cracking jokes and saying that the city is over-reacting. Today, the mood morphed into anxious curiosity. Most people are just wondering how this will play out. It’s kind of strange to see no cars or buses on the streets and having to figure out how to get to places without public transport. Thankfully, there are many free cabs around, not that I really wanted to go anywhere. It’s interesting that things here seem quite calm, while outsiders watching TV are freaking out about us. One has got to love New Yorkers’ cynicism. Surveying my Facebook friends’ status updates, all the folks in New York are posting jokes about stacking up on wine instead of water, preparing Hurricane parties and sharing video clips, while their friends in other places are posting worried messages and prayers for their safety.
I say, if we go down, we should do it in style!
To be continued…
Here is one of those videos in the meantime:
In the past few days a couple of things happened that made me seriously doubt my eternal skepticism and also remember a few things I heard before.
Well, in the last few months of many delays, I learned to have patience and expect further delays. I was then (of course) really shocked when last week, despite my company saying that they cannot hire me remotely while I wait for the Brazilian work permit, I suddenly got a local contract in the US. As I was starting to plan my temporary visit to Rio, to my further disbelief, I received a notification today that my work permit has been approved – a whole month ahead of schedule!! Incredible. This means I will most likely be moving pretty soon.
When all of this took place, I remembered firstly, the 60 minutes show, Brazil’s Rising Star, which covered, among rest, the country’s and its preparations for the World Cup/Olympics in 2014/16. One of interviewees (a Brazilian journalist) said that Brazilians always delay stuff for the last moment but then they wake up and execute well at the end (this was said about the fact that the preparations were way behind the schedule promised to FIFA). The second thing I remembered was something similar, said to me by another foreigner from the Rio office had told me: “have patience,” he said. “” It’s like when you are at the airport in Brazil and the lines are so long and not moving. You think that you would never make it to the flight, but you end up making it just fine.”
Today I really became a believer.
I leave you this video for some fun happy music:
And here is 60 Minutes just in case: