1) Minor celebrity?! The Brazilian media coverage from my Recife visit was amazing – TV, newspaper, internet and radio! And the lovely effect has been been loads of people recognising me as I’ve cycled north the last two days; soooo many showing their support by beeping and waving as they drive past, plus 6 times on Friday and 4 times yesterday actually stopping to take photos with me! Including this fellow cyclist (one of the very few I’ve met out on the highway during the trip):
My z-list celebrity status was confirmed last night by a phone call from a PR company asking me to open a new supermarket in Natal on Tuesday – KIDDING!
But seriously, I’m so chuffed to have been featured on Globo Esporte (that’s prime national TV as far as I know!) and so if you didn’t click on the media link above then please watch it HERE. It’s wonderful – and humbling – how the people here have got behind my journey.
2) Massive distance! My gps odometer ticked past 5,500km (that’s 3,418 miles) yesterday, and not long later I passed the turning for Ponta do Seixas which is Brazil’s (and the Americas) most easterly point – so I’m currently closer to Senegal in Africa than to Porto Alegre in southern Brazil where I began the #SambaCycle!
3) Slow speed! Another way to put the distance into perspective is to compare my cycling speed to that of a car… today my parents will overtake me as they also travel from Recife to Natal, but whilst they’ll drive up this stretch of the BR-101 in 4 hours, it’s taking me 4 days! Kinda obvious really, since a car can easily cruise along at 80kph, whereas I need to average 80km per day throughout my 5 month journey in order to keep on schedule. That might seem frustrating, but it’s great travelling at cycle touring speed as I get to see the places I pass through from a different perspective (there’s that word again).
4) Bureaucracy?! People in Brazil often complain about this. I think a classic example is something that I’ve passed numerous times now – the Posto Fiscal. This translates to ‘tax station’ and they exist either side of a state border on the highway, where trucks have to stop to, I assume since can’t find more info on the web, have their cargo checked and recorded. So it appears there’s more bureaucracy (and time wasted) to transport goods from state to state across Brazil than to go country to country in most of Europe!