7 Questions with Mario Papa
Team Tumblr spent two weeks in Brasil this month, hosting a 1,500-person meetup in Curitiba, and events in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo, all to celebrate the launch of our Portuguese language translation. Along the way, we were on the hunt for stories. Coming soon: a road trip to the last LP factory in Latin America, in a small town south of Rio, called Belford Roxo. Mario Papa, 58, was our taxi driver on the trip. He told us he’d never taken anyone so far —- or at least not gringos.
How’d you start driving a cab?
A friend of mine told me about the opening. I’m a real estate agent on the weekends. But real estate now is very difficult because of the economy. I have to work every day to pay my bills. So I tried this job. In this job, I make money every day. And I get to meet all sorts of people.
What’s your favorite part about what you do?
I get to talk to people all over the world. I get to practice my English. [Note: This interview was conducted in English.]
What do you think separates Brazilians from other cultures?
We don’t have hurricanes here, we don’t have natural disasters. We have many beaches. It’s sunny. So the people are very friendly — they smile all the time. I think it has something to do with the rice and beans.
In New York, being a taxi driver is a stressful job.
What’s it like here?
It’s not stressful — I mostly work in front of the hotels. I never pick up drunk people. I work maybe 6am to 8pm. Sometimes I pick up really amazing passengers. They are very happy with the city, and usually very happy with the women. [Laughs]
What’s the craziest place you’ve ever taken someone?
Ohhh. The cemetery. The cemetery to take pictures. Others like discos, the mountains and the beaches, and sometimes the termas —- the sex shops. But now the craziest place I’ve taken someone is you all.
Have you ever heard of Tumblr?
Yes, I have a tumblr.
Yes, my little son made one for me to talk about my tour service. He’s 13 years old. He put some photos about the price and the tour. Can you guys help me make it better?
(Photo by Josh)
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