I have much catching up to do. It’s December 1st, already! And I’m back in Fortaleza (*sigh*), with the only things left to do are a long ass paper, portuguese proficiency tests, and packing. So I have 2 weeks in Salvador not accounted for. Moving to Rio Vermelho (from Paralela) definitely made my time in Salvador a lot better. It was so much closer to everything and easier, and cheaper to get around. The only problem was that I didn’t get any money back from the 400 reais I gave the first host family. The deal was for 3 weeks, I stayed one, and my brilliant SIT directors showed how much they fail at life again by saying there was no way they could ask for a partial refund, because they made a contract. But the contract was for 3 weeks, I only stayed one. Since they were the ones who messed up my housing, by NOT doing any research as to its location, THEY should’ve refunded me. Instead I ended up paying 300 more reais to my new homestay, and only got one meal (breakfast, if you can really call juice and a piece of bread breakfast). So now I’m down 700 reais of my 1260 reais stipend, and I still have to eat, pay for bus fare (2.20/ride), pay to play capoeira (100), pay for books (50), pay to use the internet (2.50/hr), and pay for phone credits (which my stupid advisors kept using up in 10 minutes by calling me to say nothing—I paid about 80 reais over 3 weeks for credits, thanks!) So we can do the math: 700 + 100 + 50 + 80 + (2.20 x ~60) + (2.50 x 20 hrs) = 1,012 leaving 148 for food for 3 weeks—but wait! I still had to pay for 2 cab fares to get to and from the airport on the way back to fortaleza—two cab rides = 40 reais, leaving 108 for food/21 days =~5 reais per day for food, which, for the first week was all 3 meals a day, and for the second 2 weeks was 2 meals a day. SOOO ALL I ATE WAS JUICE! Some days I splurged and got some solid food, but not often. So between me trying to eat enough not to pass out, plus you gotta buy water to not get dehydrated, buying souvenirs for my family, and trying to enjoy my time in Salvador somewhat, since HEY, I’m in Salvador!!, I’m now back in fortaleza with about $38 in my bank account and 140 reais in cash.
So, luckily, I can eat in my homestays for real this time, so I only really have to worry about lunch—and I can get a big jar of fresh juice and a sandwich for 1.50 here. My bus card will run out probably tomorrow, so I will have to pay 1.80/ride for the next week and a half, and I will write my 35 page paper by hand so I don’t pay for print cost. Either way, that $38 dollars is staying in my bank account so I can at least get a snack on my 18 hour flight.
SIT will be cussed out when all 3 administrators are together again next week. It doesn’t make any sense that I had to dig that deep into my bank account because they were too incompetent to deal with my housing correctly, punked out on having a conversation about refunds, AND used up my money saying NOTHING on the phone. That stipend should’ve been more than enough to live comfortably and have some fun too, like it was for so many other people, even other people in Salvador.
More to come on the better parts of Salvador…