Today I visited the old imperial Cathedral in downtown Rio (remember the Portuguese King used to live here). The place was magnificent! While thinking of how to describe the place I decided to walk around, bypassing the metro station closest to the church for another. Doing so added about fifteen minutes to my trip (well actual it turned out to be more as you will soon find out).
At the station I got on the train and began reading a journal. After reading a few paragraphs the lights went out, then the train sputtered and stopped. The track lights also went out, then turned red. I KNEW WE WERE IN TROUBLE! The air conditioner went off and the train was packed. Everyone around me took it all in stride; I guess Brazilians are inured to difficulties in life.
I began feeling a sense of dread because of the realization that we were trapped underground in a hot, humid environment. The driver made no attempts to explain the situation. To get the negative thoughts out of my head, I tried to read, but that was impossible with all the idle chatter coming from the Brazilians. So, instead, I put on my headphones. But my mind kept telling me that I was going to suffocate. The only thing to do in that situation is to walk around, because doing so expands your space in your mind. I walked throughout the crowded subway car over-and-over. I then noticed that the doors linking the cars opened (it was still hot with the door open), so I began telling myself that in 15 minutes, I would switch cars. Then, I would switch again in 30 minutes. Doing so allowed me to again increase the environment mentally; instead, of focusing on being trapped, I realized I had a whole train to move around in.
Others were not so fortunate. Around five women panicked, some fainted. Others just sat there and cried. All of this began around the 45 minute mark as people realized, finally, they were in trouble.
After an hour and 30 minutes, the authorities began taking us out of the car. We had to walk through the car to the first car, and then outside along the tracks through the dark of underground Rio de Janerio–I was scared of rats!
They gave us a free ticket to reimburse us for our travails, but when I hopped on a bus to Copacabana the driver refused to take it. I paid the 2.5R fare and rode back to my apartment. From now on it is buses for me!
Images taken from the Rio metro today as we suffered an hour, 30 minutes on a trapped train. According to authorities, there was an electrical outage. The irony is that if I had taken the train at the first station rather walking, this would never have happened to me!