Neue Blog-Seite – New Blog Page

Oktober 26th, 2011

The recent days I redesigned my blog and added some nice features. The result can be find here:

www.mathias-travelblog.com

 Dieser Tage habe ich meinem Blog ein neues Design verpasst und ein paar tolle Extras hinzugefügt. Das Ergebnis kannst du hier finden:

www.mathias-travelblog.com

A roof for my country

Oktober 12th, 2011

What are you doing normally at the weekend after a long hard week at work in Brazil? Make a trip to one of the beautiful beaches!? Go out with some friends for clubing and spend the most of the time in bed to relax and recover!? Or go in a Favela and spend the whole weekend for building a house for a poor family! I decided to do the last, renounced to have some rest but invest my time and power to do something good!

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Together with around 600 volunteers we met in Sao Paulo for a briefing. At this weekend there should be build 60 new houses for the poorest of the poor in 6 different Favelas of Sao Paulo. We’ve been divided in a big group of around 100 people who work in one Favela and then in 10 smaller groups of 10 people who were going to build one house. By bus they brought us to the Favela, but first to the place where we were going to stay at night, in a school. There we prepared our night camp on the cold and hard floor in one of the class rooms. Another briefing took some time so we could go to our very comfortable bed at 2:30am. 3 hours and 25min later the woke us up for a small breakfast and than we went to the house of the family, which should be the owner of a new and stable house soon.

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I have seen some very poor neighborhoods out of the window of a bus, but I’ve never been really inside. Plus most of the house I have seen very build of stone, but what I saw there was hard to believe. The Favela was on the foot of a mountain which had on the other side a very nice park and cable railway to the top. This is Brazil – rich people on the one side of the mountain, the poor people on the other side. Welcome to reality! People lived in houses made of wood and trash. In a house of maybe 15qm and 2 rooms are living sometimes more than 6 people… Our family was living in this kind of pothole too. A couple of maybe 50 years, their two 10 and 12 year old sons and the grandmother. They were super happy to see us and soon we started to work for the next 12 hours. Our goal was to finish the ground floor of the house. Which means that we had to put 15 pillars into the ground and than put 3 panels of a total size of 18qm on it. The work was pretty hard, because some of the holes for the pillars needed to have a deep of 150cm because our ground had a different altitude. The sun was burning at we sweat a lot to finish our task of the day. Other families of the neighborhood were cooking for us the food we delivered them, that we could have a lunch which was giving us enough power to achieve our goal.

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Later at the day it started to rain that we sticked pretty much in the red mud, but finally we finished the ground floor. We went back to the school for dinner and everyone was very tired. After a reflection session we went to bed at around 12 and we slept so deep, that even the hard cold floor was not bothering us anymore.

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At the next day we realized, that we worked very hard the day before, because everything hurt a lot. But there was o space for complaining, we wanted to finish our house. The walls have been prefabricated, which saved a lot of time building the house. Unfortunately it started to rain again, but this time the whole day. Damned the whole week there was sun, and when we want to build the house it rains! But even that couldn’t demotivate us and around 4pm we celebrated the „Richtfest“ which is actually a German tradition, that if you finish the basic construction of the roof, you put a tree on the roof and celebrate… There was not enough time for celebration, but at least I found a tree…

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Finally we finished the house at around 6 and everyone was very exhausted. But when the family got presented the house and had tears in their eyes, that was just a emotional moment which compensated all the hours of hard work. They’ve been so happy! There were laughing, celebrating, crying at the same time. But our task was done. Now its time for the family for using this as a new start in a bit better life.

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We went back to Sao Paulo by midnight. I was so dead that I couldn’t manage to get a shower (after 2 days without) and I just have fallen in my bed and slept immediately. The next day I needed almost 1 hour in the bathroom, because I had dirt everywhere, even at places I was not guessing that its possible to get dirt there 😀 My body was still feeling weak and I went to work totally tired instead of recovered. But in my heart I was feeling great! With the help of  volunteers and me we could give a family a new house and hope of a better life…

More pictures can be found here: https://picasaweb.google.com/captainmathi86/UmTetoParaMeuPais

First days at work and first trip to Paradise

Oktober 4th, 2011

Last week Monday was my first day at work. Fernanda from AIESEC picked me up at my apartment at 8:15 in the morning and showed me the way to the bus stop, which is only 3min from my building. There is a bus going directly to my work – when the bus comes… There is no regular schedule for the bus and on the website of the public transportation company of Sao Paulo you can only get the information, how many buses are going in a special time frame (so for example between 8 and 9 there are 4 buses). So it happens, that you wait from time to time up to 15min for the bus in the morning. The traffic is busy, but the bus needs around 25min to work. On my first day the girl from the human resources where introducing all the people in the office. The office is in the 9th and 11th floor of a business building in Sao Paulos famous business district of Villa Olympia. They showed me the workspace where I am going to work until march. Well my computer at work is working with Linux, which i did not used that much before, so I had to get used to it. The workmate who is sitting next to me is a guy I am working together in the project they allocated me to. The problem is: His English is bad like my Portuguese, so there are some language barriers indeed. The way we communicate if we cant understand each other is using Google-Tranaslator. He is entering his sentence in Portuguese, the Webservice is translating it to English and I know more or less what his message should be… But after some days we managed it somehow to communicate without the translation tool. Also the other guys at work are not that good in English so making conversations for example at lunch is tough. But I told them to speak slowly Portuguese and I could understand than more than before. And if they don’t know a word in English, I am teaching them what it is. One guy said, that he was reading some English text before, but he with me it was his first time he was speaking English. And for me, it seems that the guys really like to learn English… Well somehow we will manage it, I am sure.

About my work. Its a start-up company for writing web-applications for Internet marketing. There are around 50 people working divided on two floors. Since my second day at work, the 9th flow is in maintenance so everyone is working now in the 11th floor (the 2 bosses included). So if you enter the office you feel sometimes like in a Internet-Café.  The working mentality is very different. Some people seem to work very hard, some other are using messengers all the time or are playing web games. I have a long list with task which I should do, so it wasn’t boring since the first day. I am working from 9 to 18 with one our lunch break. And if you have something to do, the times flies… The only bad thing at work is the air condition. Again I am asking myself why the people have to turn the temperature to ice age!? Come on, its Brazil, I am not here to freeze! Even if I have my pullover on, its cold, because the air condition is exactly in front of my desk… So it was only a question of time that I become sick, because I really have problems with air conditions…

Vila Olimpia

Neighborhood of Vila Olimpia where my office is

On my first day at work, Raquel picked me up and showed me the Bus home. For this bus you have to wait in the rush hour up to 30min and its needs in times of very bad traffic more than one hour for this 7KM to my house. Thats why I am taking now first a local train which stops 200m from my office and I have to change to two metro lines, but at least I need around 45min to 1hour to come home. Its incredible who many people are using the metro so there are especially on stops where to lines are crossing thousands of people trying their way to the metro…

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This packed can be the Metro during the rush hour

After work I am relaxing most at the time at home, watch some television, cook my dinner and something more that I have lunch for the next day and drink a ice cold beer. Sometimes I was meeting with some trainees  or couchsurfers for a beer in a bar. So, the week is always very fast over and the weekend comes, together with the question, what should I do on my two free days…

Paraty

For the last weekend I had several opportunities but the best was a trip to Paraty organized by some exchange students. Paraty is a colonial village between Sao Paulo and Rio de Jaineiro  next to the Atlantic. Our bus was leaving at 7 in the morning (the bus was supposed to leave at 6 but thanks to some French exchange students, which where coming from the party last night and where still drunk, the bus was leaving one hour late). In Paraty we moved in hour hostel and took a local bus into the mountains to have an all-you-can-eat fish lunch. Than we went to a waterfall, which is actually a natural slide. Some locals used this space to slide down while standing, which looked like surfing on the rocks.

 

I tried it as well, but the only thing what I was getting where blue spots on my bud… Than some of our group including me where jumping from a 7 meters high rock into a natural pool, which was great fun. Than we had the chance to visit a small Cachaça factory which is the famous Brazilian schnapps for Caipirinha. Back in the village of Paraty we had a big BBQ, some Caipi’s and a small beach party.

 

The next morning I was standing up at 8 to discover the village free of tourists, which I didn’t regret. It was so nice to see how this village prepare their self for the storm of tourist and enjoys the last tourist-free minutes…

Tranquil life at the habour

At 10:30 we took a boat which was big enough to fit all the 35 people of the group. We were driving to nice beaches, played football at the beaches, jumped from the boat, made a boat party, snorkeled for fish and had a nice fish-lunch. It was a really nice and funny boat trip, unfortunately the sun was leaving at 3pm so it was becoming kind of cold. Than it started to rain, so we where building a big mountain of bodies in order to get some human heat and fit all under the small boats roof…

The party boat

Back in the village and back in the bus, I realized that my pain in my throat of the Friday before the trip turned to a cold, and together with the ice cold air condition in the bus, I was becoming very sick. I was hoping that the bus ride is over soon, that I can come in my warm bed, but there was a massive traffic jam, that we reached home at 3 in the morning. When I was coming home, there was no electricity, so the elevator was not working. Well and hour apartment has two entrance doors, one two the elevator and one to the stairs. Unfortunately I had only the key for the elevator entrance door, so I had to ring my roomie out, to open me the door. Well and now I am since two days sick at home and hope that I get a bit better that I can go tomorrow at work… Vamos ver (We will see…)

All the pictures of the trips to Paraty are here: https://picasaweb.google.com/captainmathi86/Paraty

Back in Latin America – São Paulo, Brazil

September 25th, 2011

Almost 2 years ago I left Santo Domingo and with that the ground of the Latin American continent. Now I am back in Latin America, now I am the first time in my life in Brazil. I will stay in Latin America for around 10 months so its time to continue my blog. This time it will be in English, that it can be understandable for everyone. Only my parents will get a personal version, cause there are not that good in English. Hehe and everyone knows that English is not my native language, I am sure that there will appear several mistakes – I am sorry for that…

Well now I am back to the continent I love so much. Last time I stayed for around 14 months here, I worked in total 9 months in the Dominican Republic and in Mexico and used the 5 other months for discovering 14 other countries. Those who can understand German, can read the old stories of my blog… Well and for me it was somehow sure, that I will come back one day, but I did not know where and when. So one day I was watching this documentary about the derby of the two famous Brazilian football teams in Rio Flamengo and Fluminense. This documentary was also about the country Brazil so i decided that my next destination in Latin America will be Brazil. Thanks the great student organization AIESEC I was sure that I can find an internship there which could give me a great opportunity to start again a great unforgettable time. So I found a job – in São Paulo.

Haha honestly from the beginning São Paulo was not my first choice, because I really wanted to live in a city next to the ocean, so I tried to manage it to come to Florianopolis. But than people told me, that the south of Brazil is very German and I wanted to get to know the Brazilian culture. So probably São Paulo is the best place for that. I have to find this out now!

My arrival at the airport

Well now I am since 6 days in this city and people where asking me, what I am thinking about São Paulo. My first answer is „its just big“. Concerning Wikipedia there are around 20 million people living in this city, which makes it to the sixth biggest of the world. When I was landing in São Paulo at 5 in the morning, I just was seeing a huge ocean of lights and when I got the opportunity to be on a high point where you have a nice view over the city, I still cant see where it ends. My second answer about this city is, that people are very friendly. Also the AIESEC system worked perfect, starting with picking me up from the airport (Thanks to Fernanda and Caio), following with finding a flat for me (Thanks to Raquel) and last but not least giving me a warm welcome (Thanks to AIESEC ESPM). Everyone was very happy to get to know me, telling me something about the Brazilian culture or showing me some typical dishes and drinks. They are helping me with the Brazilian paperwork (OMG the bureaucracy of Brazil is worse than the German one – I never believed that…)  and are showing me the city and the night life of São Paulo. Next thing I can tell about São Paulo is the traffic. Damn there are to much cars for this big city. From the airport to the city center we needed around 2 hours (From the city center to the airport at 5 in the morning they needed 20min…) motorcycle drivers seemed to want to die as soon as possible concerning the way the drive and even if big signs in the street are remembering the members of the traffic about the rules (don’t ever use your cellphone while driving, only cross the street when its green, always use your seatbelt) everyone gives a damn about it, honestly nothing new in South America. And another significant thing about São Paulo – Wow is that expensive here! Its weird coming to Latin America and realize that everything is more expensive than in Germany! In the supermarket you spend almost the double what you would normally spend in Germany and if you want to go out at the weekend, you should have some cash. Last Friday I had the most expensive party in my life, spending in total around 60€ for an all inclusive chic party. Well the party was really cool and the DJ was great, but concerning my German mentality I had to find a way to find a good cost-use-realationship so I took as much Mojitos as possible what I regretted on the next day. I really can’t understand how poor people can live here, okay I admit that I live in the most chic neighborhood in the street of Oscar Freire, but also in other areas everything seems to be overpriced… So I guess for my trvel plans I should save some money…

Sao Paulo Park next to Paulista Avenue

Well my first days here were very nice. After I managed to leave the Jetlag feeling I met a lot of people, most of them trainees from Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Japan, Germany, Argentina and Costa Rica. I live in a very nice apartment with 4 guys from Brazil and one Japanese guy, with is also that guy I am sharing my room with. He is really nice and is not snoring, so there are no problems. The apartment has also cable TV so can learn Portuguese while watching The Simpsons.Well and Portuguese is hard to learn. It helps that I can speak some Spanish, so when I read Portuguese I can understand a lot, but when people here speak fast or I should say something, I am most of the time pretty much lost. The worst thing is the pronunciation which is driving me from time to time absolutely crazy. I was discovering some parts of the city, and I preferred especially this small little park next to Paulista Avenue and MASP museum which is like a little tropical forest in middle of this huge city. Today I was first with Fernanda and Raquel from AIESEC and my roomie Tatsu in the city center (dirty streets, a lot of homeless people) in the very nice Mercado Muncipal where we could try a lot of fruits and enjoy good Brazilian food. After it I went with Tatsu and one of the Brazilian flat mates out to see the game Corinthias São Paulo against Bahia Salvador in the football stadium which is only 20 minutes walk from our house. The game was somehow boring, but our favorite team Corinthias was wining 1:0.

Mercado Principal

Well thats it from the beginning. Tomorrow starts my work. The AIESEC guys will show me the way to the work (damn at 8 in the morning…) and then I will find out what are my tasks. What I know until now is, that I am going to write web applications for social media monitoring…

Last but not least I recommend everyone who is reading this blog to watch these short movie here: http://vimeo.com/5842415. I watched it in the museum MASP (The rest of the exhibition was boring) and it was one of the best movies I’ve seen showing the live in the Favelas (very poor neighborhood) of Rio de Janeiro… The 17min are really worth the time!

Some pictures can be find here: https://picasaweb.google.com/captainmathi86/FirstDaysInSaoPaulo

Abschied von Santo Domingo

Oktober 10th, 2009

Wenn ich ein was nicht leiden kann in meinem Leben, dann ist es Abschied. Doch zuerst hieß es erst einmal Willkommen zurück in der Dominikanischen Republik! Mein Kumpel Arturo holte mich vom Flughafen ab und lud mich zu einem eisgekühlten Presidente Bier ein. Schon fühlte ich mich wohl! Nur knappe 5 Tage sollte ich in den Land sein, was ich 6 Monate mein Zuhause nannte. In diesen Tagen begegnete ich fast alle wieder, die ich in diesen Monaten lieben gelernt hatte. 3 meiner besten Freunde waren noch in Santo Domingo. Sylvia aus England, Erin aus Kanada und Hermot aus Tawain. Mit eben diesen ging ich fast jeden Abend aus. Wir gingen Tanzen, sahen kubanischen Straßenkünstlern beim musizieren zu und aßen den unbeschreiblichen Hamburger von der Straße. Auf meiner alten Arbeit traf ich meinen Chef, meinen 2. Chef und viele der lieben und freundlichen Arbeitskollegen wieder. Der Saftpresser, welcher mir jeden morgen einen frisch gepressten Orangensaft gab erkannt mich ebenso wie der Empanadaverkäufer wieder und beide freuten sich riesig mich zu sehen. Die ältere Dame Angie, bei der ich 3 Monate untervermietet war erzählte mir alles was seit meinem Verlassen des Landes passiert ist und zusammen sprachen wir fast 2 Stunden über Gott und die Welt. Mein Lokal, wo ich gern mein Bier kaufte war auch noch so wie früher. Und die Wirtin und ihr Mann freuten sich riesig, dass ich wieder da war. Wir machten ein Foto und ich gab es Ihnen später als Erinnerung. Manito (spanisch für Brüderchen) saß wie immer Abends an der Ecke und zusammen erzählten und lachten wir über die alten Zeiten. KJ, ein kleiner Straßengangster, welcher im Viertel das Sagen hat und immer dafür gesorgt hatte, dass mich keiner im Viertel überfällt oder mir was antat, arbeite nun in einer Käse und Fleischboutique und sah mich auf der Straße entlang gehen. Er lud mich auf ein Stück Käse ein und berichtete mir, wie sehr ihn doch sein toller deutscher Freund gefehlt hatte. Eine Barfrau in einer Bar in der Stadt erkannte mich auch sofort wieder und dachte schon, ich wäre nie Fort gewesen. Der Hamburgerverkäufer erkundete sich nach einen alten gemeinsamen Freund aus England und die Autos fuhren nach wie vor verrückt und begleiteten dies mit kontinuierlichen Hupkonzert. Auch einige Ausflüge zum Strand durften nicht fehlen und auf einmal war schon Montag. Montage kann ich ja schon immer nicht leiden, aber wenn Montag ein Tag des Abschieds ist, ist es um so schlimmer. Vieler meiner Freunde werd ich wohl lange, vielleicht auch überhaupt nicht mehr sehen. Zurückkommen möcht ich schon gerne, aber nichts wird es einmal so sein, wie es in diesen Winter in der Dominikanischen Republik war, der eigentlich für mich ein Sommer war. Am Flughafen wurde ich von Arturo und Sylvia mit den Worten „Adios Amigo“ verabschiedet. So stand ich da. Mit all meinem Gepäck, in dem 12 Monate Leben steckten. 12 Monate meines Lebens, die ich nie vergessen werde, die mich als Mensch verändert haben und mir die Augen ein Stück weiter geöffnet haben und die jetzt etwas feucht von Abschiedstränen waren. Dieses Jahr ging so schnell um, wie der Flug der noch vor mir stand. Als ich abgehoben war, wusste ich nicht ganz wie ich meine Gefühle einordnen konnte. So war ich doch sehr traurig, dass diese Zeit, wahrscheinlich die Zeit meines Lebens, schon vorbei war. Jedoch war ich doch sehr glücklich, bald meine Familie und meine Freunde in die Arme zu schließen, welche immer bei mir waren und mir diese schöne Zeit durch Emails, Anrufe und Chatgespräche noch schöner machten….

Im regnerischen Paris angekommen, wusste ich schon, dass ich solch ein Wetter wie im letzten Jahr für eine lange Zeit nicht mehr haben sollte. Doch dies verdrängte ich schnell als meine Eltern mich von Leipzig abholten und mich gleich erst einmal zum lecker Döner einluden. Als meine engsten Freunde dann Abends noch eine Überraschungs-Willkommensparty organisierten und mich mit hunderten Ballons empfingen, wusste ich wo mein wahres Zuhause ist…

Somit heißt es auch Abschied aus meinen Blog. Dank an alle meine Leser und an die Kommentare. Wer weiß, wann die nächste Reise ansteht. Dann werde ich euch natürlich auf den laufenden halten!

Euer Mathias

Meine Reise

Goodbye