RJ 14/02/1988 Sunday
Monday – smoked two cigarettes, met Daniel.
Tuesday – Nothing happened.
Wednesday – Bought 24 Garfield cards, Luciana and Patricia called me!
Thursday – went to Daniel’s house to see the kitten he found, went to Sergio’s.
Friday – Most horrifying day of my life. I went to visit Ana Claudia in Botafogo. We talked a lot as we hadn’t seen each other for 8 months (she moved to Rio in July). At 5:15, while it rained, I got on the 433 bus, ready for the hour long journey from Botafogo to Vila Isabel – Carnival Champion of 1988. Except the journey took nearly four hours. The way up until the centre was fine, but the rain got heavier and the traffic got really bad. Just before getting to Tijuca the water was high and covering cars’ wheels and many were stuck. It was safer to stay on the bus, as it could drive through the water.
I couldn’t tell what was the road, pavement, river. I was alone and the bus driver was thinking about stopping the bus in the Barão de Drummond Square, or at least go until the 28 de Setembro, where I’d get off. If he stopped I had no idea how to get home. I prayed so much for him not to stop, he kept on going. There were places where the bus was shaking because of the current, I thought I was going to die. I saw cars being carried by the water and people swimming in a river of mud. That bus was the safest place to be…
When we got to the final stop and I got off things got worse. The square looked like a lake. I tried calling my aunt, but the phone was engaged. My only choice was to face it and try to make it home on my own. With water up to my knees I started walking, then I realised the water was up to my waist. A bus drove past and I had to hold on to a lamp post otherwise the water would carry me away. There was a car near me, bopping up and down. The streets were full of people. People unblocking drains, people trying to get home, people inside flooded bars…
I spent ages holding on to a lamp post, building up the courage to cross the street (28 de Setembro) which had a strong current. A man said he’d help me cross, but he was so drunk I ended up helping him! The street leading to mine was VERY FULL but the water was still and I just went for it. I had already cried, pissed on my pants, and nothing else mattered. I just wanted to get home. I got into my road (Torres Homen) and it wasn’t flooded, there was a lot of mud but, in comparison with the rest, it was fine… When my aunt opened the door she nearly fainted with relief. I had a shower for ages. Lots of people died and lost homes. We went to LBA to help out yesterday.