After 7 Years Driving between Piauí and São Paulo, a Driver Finally Sets Foot on Paulista Avenue

For Cícero de Oliveira, the capital of São Paulo was only marginal, Casa Verde and 25 de Março

São Paulo

On the way between Casa Verde and Avenida Paulista, everything is new. The only thing he recognizes is the Pacaembu stadium, as beautiful as you see on television.

"I wanted to come one day to see Flamengo play there, but it must be a mess when it comes in and out," he said, cutting the silence, the attentive passenger in the back seat.
For him, for seven years in São Paulo has been reduced to the periphery of Tietê, a few streets in the northern zone, on March 25 and, once, to the Grajaú Terminal.

Every week, taking turns with another driver, Cícero Martins de Oliveira, 38, runs 2,805 km on a bus between Piripiri (Piauí), a city of 63 thousand inhabitants, and the capital of São Paulo. The trip takes three days, after which you have another four to rest before going the other way.

Cícero Martins de Oliveira, 38. (Foto: Jardiel Carvalho/Folhapress. COTIDIANO) - Folhapress

Cutting Brazil, for him, is nothing out of this world. Much more difficult is to overcome the 7 km between the neighborhood of the north zone, where you have your life in São Paulo, and the avenue that symbolizes the city. "I don't go out a lot, or eat out, because it's an expense. If you do that, you don't reach the goal."

Cícero's objective is simple and the same for countless residents: to support his wife and three children with his R $ 1,500 salary. In months when he travels less, he receives R$ 1,200. Thus, Paulista, Ibirapuera, shopping malls, restaurants, museums, and a multitude of attractions are not part of his life.

After seven years, Cícero's São Paulo is composed only of disconnected pieces of the city. "I went to this Grajaú Terminal once because I have a sister who lives there."
This week, at Folha's invitation, he put his feet, shod in flip-flops, for the first time on Avenida Paulista.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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