Hitchhiking in Brasilia
Between 1984-1986 our preferred mode of transportation was hitchiking. Growing up in Brasilia seemed so safe we never once felt we were in any danger. Even so, we’d never give them our correct phone number (some people asked) or told them exactly where we lived. I was 13-16 years old. Reading this I think my friends and I were probably responsible for most of the shoplifting in the city 😉
All sorts of people would stop for us and we’d never do it alone… So, here are some excerpts from my diary on the subject of ‘getting a lift’.(translated from Portuguese by me)
The first entry is the exception to the rule, when a large group of us got a lift with a horse cart! All other lifts were in engined vehicles. These are just a subset, I left out all the entries that just said ‘we got a lift to…’ and had no other descriptions.
BSB 18-12-1984 Tuesday
…a man went past in a cart being pulled by a horse. We asked for a lift. Initially he only wanted to take us to the 406, but we insisted and he said that after picking up a package he would take us there. He dropped us in the block R of the 406 and returned soon. There were 7 of us in the cart : me, Alexandra,Renata, Viviene, Debora, Ivone and the driver. We went through the L2 and everyone was looking at us. I never laughed so much in whole life! The cart nearly overturned as Alexandra kept running from one side to the other…
BSB 24-02-85 Sunday
…I just didn’t want to walk all the way home again. As we were leaving (Deca arranged to meet us at 16:30 at Summer) a car with 3 people was leaving the club. As we were crossing the second road after the club, the same car stopped and the driver called us. He said he would give us a lift up the road. When we went in and I looked at the back seat guess who was there? Patricia, the girl from the flight back from Rio! She said she was an Assefe’s member and had seen me today but wasn’t sure whether it was me or not. Then she saw us leaving and thought she would try and see if it was me and it was. How lucky!
Later on the same day…
We went to the bus stop (at around 16:00) and then a guy drove by and stopped offering us a lift. As Alexandra accepted we got in, Renata at the front seat. The guy was really nice, apart from being cute he was shy. He asked us only two questions: where to drop us off and what were we doing at Park Shopping. He dropped us off at the Eixinho by 205 and we went to Summer straight away.
BSB 15-03-85 Friday
NEW REPUBLIC: today is a great day, or it should have been. Last night Tancredo (transitional President, from dictactorship to democracy) had to be rushed to hospital with pains in his stomach. So he didn’t go to the ceremony and he still isn’t officially the new President: But he’s doing fine.
Jose Sarney took over (he’s the vice) in Tancredo’s place. Renata, Alex and I went to the club but it was empty. We came back 12:30 and we got a lift from an old man, very friendly.
BSB 17-03-85 Sunday
When we were waiting for Renata’s mum to pick us up about 15 girls (I’m not lying!) got into a car and the owner asked us if we wanted a lift!
BSB 22-04-85 Monday
I didn’ t go to school today. Tancredo died last night at 22:23. It’ s a national holiday for banks, offices, etc.
…We put the bikes away and went to Eixao holding the beautiful flag. When we got there Tancredo’s coffin was driving by. Alexandra, Renata and I got a lift with two guys and a woman to the Planalto Palace. It was packed there and Tancredo’s coffin was being taken up the ramp. We opened the flag (we were at the ramp at the right side of the congress) and it started getting dark. There were scuffles happening everywhere. It was really sad.
Renata started sulking because she wanted to leave and she started crying. We caught a lift with Acre’s Senator! He only gave us a lift because Renata asked for it nearly in tears.
BSB 04-05-85 Sunday
On the way back Binho gave us a lift, but he’s a crazy driver, just mad. He was driving at around 100km/h and nearly ran over Cesar at the 404. And then he drove against the traffic.
BSB 09/06/2012 Sunday
Lobao has a scooter and me, Alex, Cristina and Lobao rode in it. I was precariously propped on the spare tyre at the back. This is one of those old fashioned scooters but they are now very ‘in’. His is red. It was so cold (9c) and we came home at 21:20, with a lift with Cristina’s friend, Paulo. It’s so cold in Brasilia, a proper winter. A few nights ago it was 6c!!!
BSB 28/07/1985 Sunday
In the evening Alexandra, Cristina, Renata, Bia and I went to Gilberto (A zone full of bars/clubs). My mum didn’t let me go but I went anyway. It was worth it. We got two lifts, with two guys, up to the bridge. After that an old guy gave us a lift to Gilberto. We played table football at Fliperama. We were so hungry we decided to eat and run without paying but none of us were brave enough to do it. We decided to find some old man to pay for our food, but only a madman would agree to pay for dinner for 5 people.
We walked to the start of the bridge, to go home, and hitched a lift from there, by doing French can-can dancing! We got a lift pretty fast with 2 guys. Magnum (he said that was his name, mmm…) – when he said his name I asked him where his moustache was. We had a brilliant time in the car, clapping and singing, the guys were laughing a lot. When they were dropping us off, Renata didn’t wait for the guy to move the seat, the just squashed him to get out, it was hilarious!
BSB 29/07/1985 Monday
It’s Tuesday already but I’ll write about Monday. From morning Alex, Cristina and I were preparing the backdrops for the show. They both had lunch at my flat then went to Novo Espaco (dance academy) with Vivi, Renata, Bia and Debora to rehearse. Ana Cristina arrived at 16:40 and we got a lift to Galpao. The guys who gave us a lift were smoking weed, so Ana and Cristina had some. Alexandra and I just coughed non-stop. One of the guys called us ‘square’ and Alexandra said: ‘Square my arse, I’m smart!’
BSB 30/07/1985 Tuesday
We got a lift to SCS (Setor Comercial Sul) and went to the BRB building (the one with a clock) to pick some free tickets to a contemporary ballet show, by Grupo de Corpo. We got two lifts back. On the last lift the guy driving had a moustache, as we got off I said ‘bye Magnum!!!’ – he looked very full of himself after that, but he didn’t realise I was being sarcastic, he didn’t have much hair at the top.
BSB 31/07/1985 Wednesday
I only went out in the afternoon with Vivi. We called Alexandra and Cristina. Renata and Ana Amelia turned up. They said they hitched a ride to Park Shopping and stole dancing clothes. Lunatics! So we hitched a lift to Park Shopping, it took forever and went to C&A. There Alexandra and I devised a technique and got a lycra leotard.
Got a lift back with a Kombi and went to Realce, and while Cristina distracted Ines, Alexandra and I got a pair of leggings and leotard for me, as I didn’t have a full outfit. My dancing outfit is beautiful! Black leggings with a lilac leotard with black stripes. I didn’t feel guilty for stealing those things as those shops steal from us. School starts again tomorrow.
BSB 06/09/1985 Friday (the night we got kicked out of the National Theatre for being underage)In the evening Cristina took us to the National Threatre, to watch a dancing play she was in. When we got there the play ‘The Kiss of the Spider Woman’ was on (I read the book). It was certificate 18 but we smuggled ourselves in (via Martins Pena room) – it was a good play but if we had been caught we would have been in the shit (there were curfews in those days, police enforced ones). The play finished and Cristina went to get ready to perform. Renata, Ana and I decided to hide because if were caught in there!!! I had the idea for us to hide inside a bar, in the dark, but as were were leaving I kicked a bin the play’s director turned up. How embarrassing! We felt ridiculous. Hilarious. Three women hiding behind a bar. He explained we are under age and if the police turned up they would stop the play, he asked for us to wait in Cristina’s dressing room and when the lights went out we could sneak in and watch.
So we waited by some steps, all the actors were on stage, and a horrible girl, also on the play, told us to leave immediately. We left, a bit upset, and we didn’t get to talk to Cristina. It was hard to get a lift home, but eventually we hitched one and got home…
BSB 14/09/1985 Saturday
In the morning we were supposed to rehearse but very few people turned up and we only rehearsed for 15 minutes. Most people left and me, Ivone, Ana, Renata and Cristina stayed. We found 120 thousand cruzeiros and as we were hungry we went to eat. Actually we stole the money and I think the shit will hit the fan. In the afternoon Renata and I hitched a ride to her father’s at 216 South and we watched ‘Fame’. We got back when it was dark, we got a lift with a gorgeous guy!
BSB 29/09/1985 Sunday
Have you ever heard of going to the club at noon with bad weather? We did, me, Ana and Renata, got a lift with a woman and she dropped us off near the bridge. We only went to watch the football match, which started at 1. The only place where there were people was by the pitch, the rest of the club was deserted.
BSB 06/11/1985 Wednesday
In the afternoon Alexandra and I went to Park Shopping. We had to hitch three lifts to get there. We went there to take some trousers from C&A. Ended up taking lots of stuff. I got: three trousers (2 jeans and one black with white musical notes), 3 shirts, 1 skirt and 1 jeans short-skirt. I added it all up at home and it would have cost 1340 thousand. Alexandra only got 650 thousand’s worth, I took a lot more. In total 10 items. I’ve no idea how I did it! Never again! My mum gave me a huge bollocking, and wanted me to take it back. Honestly, never again, until the next time (only joking).
BSB 18/1/1986 Saturday
In the morning Vivi, Cristina and I went to to a club in the North Wing: ASCB. We got a lift there. A massive club, with 9 swimming pools! But only two work, what’s the point!? Sometimes some pools work, other times others work. The biggest one, 30m, was closed. We needed two lifts to get there but only one on the way back. I think Cristina’s big pregnant belly is an asset when it comes to getting rides, people stop really quickly.
BSB 14/2/1986 Friday
I went to pick the kitten up in the morning, with Alexandra and Ana. On the way back we were trying to think of a name. Mel (honey) because of its colour, Remi… We named it “Remi do Mel”, but we all call it a different name. We left it at my flat and then went to 103, to Pedro’s house. His sister, Wilma, had a baby on the 8th so we went to visit her and give her an invite to Cristina’s baby shower. Her baby’s name is Carolina. We got a lift back to 207 at noon and handed invites to Lu, Martha and Fa. We got home at 1, and half an hour later Alexandra and I went to 315N with Cristina, for her to have an argument with Reinaldo, her ex-fiancee.. . It took us three lifts to get there. After Cristina talked to Reinaldo, we went to get a lift to Park Shopping. We were about to lift our thumbs when Renata’s mum drove past. We told her we were getting the bus so she gave us a lift to the bus station. We went to the toilet in Conjunto Nacional shopping centre and then we got a lift to Park Shopping.
I stole lycra tights and a bikini from Sandiz. We tried to get a lift to go back but no one was stopping. Then one car stopped but he was going to Guara first, then back to the Plano. They were two middle aged guys, the car owner was besotted with Alexandra, asked for her number, and gave his number to her. Then he said he’d drop us by the bridge, all all the cars are going to the Plano from there. Then he said he was going to Guara and then would drop us home… He bought us ice-cream and then he dropped us home.
BSB 20/2/1986 Thursday
We got a lift back with a Bolivian gentleman, he talked away in Spanish.
BSB 29/4/1986 Tuesday
Alexandra, Ana and I went to volley at Santa Rosa but it wasn’t on. We got a lift back with an old man, he asked if we wanted to have a bite to eat and we said no thanks, and he gave us 100 cruzados, for no reason. As if we’d go anywhere with him!
BSB 13/12/86 Saturday
Last night Renata, Alexandra and I went to Gilberto.
Alexandra and I stayed until 2:30am. When we were going home, trying to get a taxi, two guys drove past, chatting us up, but we ignored them. They got out of the car and said we could take it. I got in, went into 1st gear and started to move, but I lost my nerve, and then we asked them for a lift and they took us home.