The kindness of strangers

I´d read about this before, and heard stories about it as well, but I wasn´t prepared for how quickly and readily I would be helped by random people I meet. And I´ve been out here for two weeks.

It started on my flight to Rio, when the French gentleman I was sat next to helped me to fill out my entry card to Brazil.

Then my couchsurfing host Henrique, who gave me a room, food, tours of the city, as well as numerous stories about the history and politics of Brazil. Miguel, his Portuguese friend, who invited me to visit Morocco with them within moments of meeting me. Who helped me translate and told me I was the bravest girl he´d ever met.

The Colombian brothers I shared a taxi with to the airport, without whom I probably couldn´t have found the right terminal, let alone my flight. They listened patiently through my first shaky Spanish conversation and told me all the things I could do and see in their country.

They lady at tourist information, Cuiaba airport, who despite not speaking a single word of English, found me the address of a youth hostel and wished me on my way.

The elderly Slovenian couple I met in the Pantanal, who knew less Portuguese than me, but were cheerfully travelling around Brazil anyway. They told me about the places they´d been to – all over the world – and how home was still their favourite place of all.

The hostel driver who drove five hours non-stop because I wanted to get back quickly. Who taught me how to spot caiman´s glowing eyes in the dark and helped me get a photo.

A mechanic who actually drove me to the bus station when I wasn´t sure I was going the right way.

The Russian diamond dealer at the station who helped me plan my journey and bought me a coke while I tried to collect myself.

And my new friend Marcelo, who I met on the bus from Campo Grande, who walked up and down different banks along the frontier with me to try and find one that worked, and who helped me get to Santa Cruz.