It’s been a while since my first post in this series, but I have yet again been travelling for my work. This time the trip went to Brazil, and for the first time travelling, I regret not being properly informed about my destination.
After my first week, the entire country was more or less shut down due to a nationwide trucker strike, caused by a general discontent about the countries diesel prices.
In short, all the transportation of fuel, food, medical supplies and everything else imaginable transported by trucks was brought to a standstill. People could not drive to work because of no fuel, factories shut down because they couldn’t get supplies, hospitals stopped everything but life critical surgeries. Basically, the entire country stopped.
For the team I was there with, and for me personally, the effects of this were very noticeable. We had to drive super slow to work to save on gas, people could not go home, and going to get food at night was limited. The few places they had a very limited amount of fuel, cars would queue for several kilometres just to see if they would be lucky enough to get a few drops. People would become violent if they felt that they were not being treated fairly, or if people were hogging the gas right in front of them when it was supposed to be rationed.
What to Learn
Read the news! Before going to a country, even if you think it is completely safe, read up on the latest news so you have an idea of what to expect when you arrive. If there has been any major political or social changes in the country in the last couple of weeks, make a note if it, as it might have a big impact on your trip if people suddenly decide to act on it.
When reading these news, don’t just believe whatever you read, be critical, and cross-reference different sources. Sometimes it’s best to read what people who stay in the country have to say, such as on blogs, social media and the likes. These people will give you information about the country long before the news companies ever get the story out. These sources helped the team and I get a grasp of the situation without having to wait for 7-10 hours for the translated, and often abridged, English version.
If you have a friend or a contact in the country, ask them about the local situation before you go, as they might know more about what is going on.
In The End
The situation in Brazil slowly became stable again, and now food, water and fuel are all being shipped around again. The country is no longer in a state of turmoil. However, the people here are still not happy about the current situation with either the government, the oil companies, or the gas prices, so I am still regularly checking up on the different sources of information as I will be going back regularly over the next half a year or so.
The team and I here have learned to keep track of what is going on, even threw talking with the locals (as much as we can, since we don’t speak Portuguese), as they are much more likely to know what is going on.
Stay informed, prepare yourself as much as you can for your next trip and stay safe!
Until next time,