10 November 2012 ~ 1 Comment

Tour of the Americas – Part 3

We are currently in Brazil on the last leg of our Tour Of The Americas, covering Canada, the USA and Brazil. In part 3 of our tour report Glen talks about (the lack of) manners in Brazilian traffic, deceased Formula-1 drivers, Brazilian coffee and more.

“Welcome to the jungle!”. These are Julio and Sandro’s welcoming words when picking us up from Guarulhos International Airport at 8am, after an 11-hour overnight flight with quite some turbulence. Whether the guys are fans of Guns N’ Roses we haven’t been able to figure out, but their remark is clearly meant to describe the traffic situation in Sao Paulo: ultimate mayhem! With a temperature of 21 Celsius at 8 am, it is bound to get a lot warmer still. After a bumpy ride through Sao Paulo traffic, we meet up with Uirá at his friend Caio’s apartment. Uirá runs Undermusic records, which released our last record here and he booked this tour for us. We spend the day chilling (well..) at the apartment, and when the night falls and the temperature finally drops below 35 Celsius we take a 12-hour bus ride to Florianopolis, where we pick up our van, gear and driver Nico.

Day 1 in Sao Paulo – 35 degrees Celsius

Having lost at least 7 of my 9 lives in the first 30 minutes on the road, it feels kind of weird to say that you do actually get used to Brazilian traffic. Cursing, sticking your hands out of the window instead of using blinker-lights, using no blinkers at all, cutting in traffic whenever possible, honking until your battery dies or just honking at pretty females; it’s all in the game. The fact that one of the highways around Sao Paulo is named after Formula-1 driver Ayrton Senna (who spent his last living moments on the racing track) says a lot about how people think about driving here…

Florianopolis

After spending the first 2 days with Uira as our tour manager and translator, we spend the next few days with only driver Nico. Uira is working at the WROS Festival, which is pretty much the Brazilian version of Groezrock, with Rise Against, A Wilhelm Scream, Strike Anywhere, Anti-Flag, Alkaline Trio and Pennywise on the bill. As it turns out, Nico does not speak an awful lot of English, and I’ve come to realize that I don’t understand a single word of Portuguese. Luckily, people here are very physically expressive, so a lot of situations make sense, even if I don’t understand the words. And of course there is google translate, which proves to be quite a good tool for communicating. In all honesty, I thought that people here would speak more or better English than some of them do.

Driver Nico and his van

The surroundings here are just beautiful, so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. We’ve been spending most of our time here moving from city to city to play our shows, and trying to catch sleep whenever possible. Some shows don’t even begin before midnight, and having to check out of our hotel at 10 am after a short night is quite the downside to the luxury of actually having a hotel. Sometimes those short nights make you a little tacky, and that comes to the surface easily when you’re spending close to 24 hours a day with the same people.

Streets of Porto Alegre

Something that I really like about Brazil is how people seem to be very relaxed and open, a lot more so than in Europe or the US. For example: driver Nico needs to ask for directions every now and then. He’ll just pull up to the side of the road, asks the first person he sees for directions, makes a little social chit-chat and then drives off again full speed. Everybody takes the time to have a talk and it seems to be the most normal thing to ask for directions like this.

The shows so far have been quite intense. Not a lot of bands from outside Brazil come on tour here, so upon first contact first people can be a little shy. Once the bands play, the dancing, crowd surfing and singing along commences, and all the ice is broken. We don’t understand most of the comments that people shout at us in between songs, which results in a few funny miscommunications. Even though it’s our first time here, people seem to know our music. It’s so cool to see people singing along to our songs, or seeing them buy older albums, because they already own the last one.

Chilling at Tramandai beach

Before going on this tour, we received some tips on how to stay healthy, which we are ignoring completely. A certain band member was scared to death when he needed to get his vaccinations for Brazil (afraid of injections..). Among the advices we received was to closely keep an eye on how your food is prepared and to get rid of the ice cubes in all the drinks. As it turns out, it’s almost impossible to keep an eye on all these things, and the aforementioned band member (who shall remain anonymous) thinks it’s a little exaggerated. In the meantime, none of us have been sick, so we must be doing something right. At almost every gas station they serve free shots of coffee / espresso and it’s delicious! The tea however, brewed with tap water that contains tons of chloride, is not really my ehm.. cup of tea!

Let the last week of this tour begin! We still have a 13-hour drive to go, which is scary enough in itself, and 2 shows on one day in Sao Paulo. I’m sure there will be enough material for another tour report.

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