Paradise in Paraty

Trip Start Dec 30, 2010
Trip End Jul 06, 2011

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Friday, February 25, 2011

OK before I start, there's been an issue with a new camera card, so I lost all my pictures from Paraty. Although, I didn't lose many, when I'm having fun I tend to take less pictures. I've managed to get a few together to give you an idea of the place, but hopefully a friend will send a few over to support the blog. I took it pretty well, at the end of the day, I have the great memories and have managed to sort the issue for future blogs, although that meant running around Belem like a crazy man taking pictures of everything I had already taken over 1.5 days!

Day 53 February 25th continued -
It was sad to say goodbye to the fun Brits. The ride to Paraty is only 6 hours and I have the usual crap to eat and on the way feel incredibly sick, winding around mountains again, great!! I didn't throw up and finally got to Paraty. Those Brazilian bus drivers love taking 30 minute breaks every two hours, makes getting somewhere in a hurry very frustrating.

The excellent Hostel I stayed at, offer free pick up if you ring up. Rang the landline, no speaky English, rang the mobile, they said grab a taxi. OK, fine. 15 Reals for what was a 4 minute journey and is only 10 minutes on foot. Nevermind, the hostel refunded the cost off my bill. So, yes this hostel was great, but the first night wasn't. I've turned up to a hostel full or clicks and groups of friends, no-one was being friendly. I say hello to people, try to strike up a conversation but nothing. So I gave up trying, and finished off the Dean Windass autobiography. This can happen in hostels, but if I've been in one for a while, I like to make people feel welcome. Anyway, a very friendly Canadian hostel worker kept chatting to me and before long, I was tired and called it a night.

Oh yes, I did eat, the hostel did some food for 12 Real things, pretty cheap and there was plenty, unlike me, I didn't have seconds!!

Miles walked 1,22
Temp 32 C 90F

Day 54 February 26th - Today I have booked a boat tour thing. I wake early, as some random British girl walks into my dorm and starts shouting about how her and some guy need to leave early. We're talking 730am, so rude and so like a very young and selfish person. The night was hot, we're talking about waking up in your own sweat again. Now, I know what bad body odour smells like, now I don't have this. I have some very old musky sweat smell, it doesn't smell that bad, just really old and the tshirt I am wearing to bed is soaked through, maybe my body is trying to sweat something out??

Anyway, breakfast is the usual bread and cheese rubbish, but wait, more cake!! Result! During breakfast a British girl tells everyone how she had to sleep only in her pants last night as she was so hot but that someone pulled the cover over her. There was temptation to make a joke but then again, another example of this girl being selfish and not considering other people's feelings. The young British guys sat speechless for a few seconds, lol. I have a few pieces of cake, chat to the Canadian girl about my plan today and head off early to grab my ongoing bus ticket to Rio for my flight to Belem.

The walk to the bus station is great. It's like walking through the Shambles in York, but everywhere has cobbled stones and these aren't the small ones, massive cobble stones, where every step must be a careful one or you'll twist your ankle! Internet at the bus station was down so I headed to the pier to catch my fun boat for the day. I think the plan was to head out to some beaches, jump in the ocean, drink, not sure really, and my mood isn't the best.

The boat is massive and it's packed. I grab a seat in the shade on the top deck near some big Brazilian guy already sinking his first drink at 1030am and wait for the head off at 11am. To the back of the top deck were deck chair things for those that can tan to top up their tan. I spot a guy called Patrick who managed to position himself next to two pretty British girls in bikinis, he was in the sun all day, but IŽ'sure he enjoyed himself.

The area of Paraty is like paradise. If there was a Utopia, this would be it. Everything shines in the sunshine, everyone is relaxed, the people are beautiful and I'm loving my shade! The boat sets off, there is a live band playing some funky music, you can order some food/drink via waiter service and just sit back and enjoy the view. It's on these occasions that my mind drifts off and I think about people I haven't spoken to in a while, people I've met on my trip, fun experiences I've had, what's going to come up. It's amazing how the time passes when I'm in this kind of coma!

Our first stop is near a beach, so you basically jump into your swimsuit and jump off the boat! So incredible! Of course I swallowed loads of water when I jumped in the first time. You're given 30 minutes to float around, swim, go to the beach etc. Pretty relaxing stuff for a Saturday morning.

Soon, we were heading to our next location, I'm sat on my microfibre towel trying to dry my butt while my tshirt, yes the one I jumped in with, is drying nicely on the side of the ship. Next stop is an area with some coral so jump back in. The water was not so clear, but still great to cool off after you're in the sun for some parts of the journey. Yes I was in the shade, but when the ship turned, then I wasn't. Oh well, nothing but another good sun burn will be fine, though my chest has yet to peel yet!

The next two stops I decided to not jump in, I figure I need to dry off properly and well, I'm being pretty unsociable and inbetween the music stopping, put on my ipod to relax in the sunshine, and try not to drop off to sleep. Where Patrick was seating, the two British girls were swapped for two pretty Australians, who tried to get a picture of themselves jumping off the ship. They must have jumped off 5 times, but their camera was a bit slow to grab the action, and it'll turn out later that their memory card failed just after that and was still knackered 2 days later.

The 5 hour boat trip was now turning into 7 hours, we finally head back to dock when I start chatting to Patrick. Very friendly guy, from Switzerland on a trip for a few months. We both head to the bus stop and grab ongoing tickets. He tells me about the BBQ on the beach at our hostel which will coincide with another hostel next door. That sounds pretty fun, especially as all the groups from the previous night had left in the morning, so there would be new people and hopefully friendly people.

We get back and in my dorm have left the unsociable Brits and in come three middles aged Spanish guys from Valencia. Real down to earth people. One speaks English, the other two not so much. But they are the kind of people, who'll walk past, squeeze your shoulder and say hello. Will always greet you in the morning or evening, just very friendly people, outstanding! Also, with one bed space left (as Patrick had the unfortunate luck of sleeping the bunk under mine) was a new roomie Maren. A very attractive, very tanned girl from Norway. She has a semester to study in Florianopolis and has brought a friend to keep her company. Semester starts in a few weeks, so while she is studying, her friend, Marte, another beautiful Norwegian girl, will be travelling around. Marte even studied at York and got very excited when I said there was a fourfourtwo magazine kicking around, the 300th edition special that I read the previous night. Anyway, Maren was exceptionally friendly, just come from Sao Paulo. She was also joined by Zowie, pretty girl from Australia who was also with a friend that she had fallen out with. Zowie and her friend were on a 3.5 week holiday and after two weeks, they weren't talking, ouch! The benefits of solo travel.

Anyway, new people were super cool. BBQ was all you can eat meat and salad and then an open bar on the beach making Caprini things. So it started, and strangely for me, I was more interested in drinking than the eating. My family will find this hard to believe, but I think I left my appetite behind, somewhere in South America. I know I've lost a few things, but my appetite, oh well. Maybe, I've worked out how to keep control of my weight, move to South America and never eat again. Don't worry, I did eat some BBQ. I was in one of my very sociable moods, where I'm not talking to a few people but everyone. It feels good. Got talking to the pretty girls who were on the boat, the Norwegians, some Brits from the other dorm, it was getting to the point of getting one drink and joining the back of the line to wait for your next one. It took on average two minutes to make this drink and only two were produced at a time. The night was young and eating and drinking on the beach was a great treat.

It was getting to the end of free drink time, I picked up two and donated one to a girl from our dorm when I met Erica. She made a joke about some dogs that were after some BBQ leftovers and some of the girls were feeding them as well. They'd give the girls full concentration till a car drove by and they'd chase after it!! I guess it was about 10pm when I started chatting to Erica and we carried on chatting till 4am. She is 24, from Sweden, is a food technician and loves to travel. She has been to Australia, base camp at Mount Everest, Nepal, Trans-siberian railway, so Russia, Mongolia, China, endless list of places she has been. She'll read this at some point so should I say what I thought of her?? Haha, that's right, mean, boring and sounds German! Ha! She is great company, incredibly beautiful, very intelligent, very determined, extremely positive, loves to talk and I had some of the best moments on my trip with her. Some places I've been to have been amazing but it's the places where you meet exceptional people that make the experience so much more enjoyable and memorable, like Bolivia, like Santiago, Mendoza, Foz, Rio, Puno, Miraflores.

Anyway, she hadn't paid for the BBQ so I smuggle her a drink, we then sink some beers and Paraty is celebrating it's 344th anniversary, so there was an outdoor music gig going on so we went to check it out. We got there, it was so so loud, so we headed to the back, but it was still loud so we checked out the old town at night. Headed to the pier, around the old church then found our way to a few bars. We continued chatting and drinking till well into the morning. It's great when you can meet someone who you find so easy to talk to. Anyway, a great night. Getting into my top bunk after so many beers was not fun, the first two attempts I fell off, I accidently woke up Patrick and used his bed as leverage to get up. As ever, with beer inside me, no covers just fully clothed. A great day.

Miles walked 0,71
Temp 30C 88F

Day 55 February 27th - I only slept in till 830am. The sun was bright so I figure I go get some breakfast. I sit next to Debbie and Kilson from Switzerland and I spend the next 30 minutes discussing cake. I also mention about my mums very tasty treacle pudding and I know, just know when Pete and Kim visit soon with little Easton, she'll make one and I'll hear about it, but not get to taste it! Anyway, yes, it was cake for breakfast again, although there was no sight of it at first. That's because it was still in the oven, so fresh cake for breakfast, awesome! The Swiss girls were great breakfast buddies, on a long trip, but have a week to relax and chill in Paraty and even have a private room with AC.

I have no plan for today, I check the Internet for the previous days football, rugby and cricket scores. When I pop back to the breakfast table, I find Erica. She's busy studying a map wondering how far away the waterfalls are. You can spend around $30 to get a tour, but she fancied walking there and did I want to join her? Sure! Sounds like an adventure and no doubt will get lost en route.

Packed a bag, and we headed off. We had to find a main roundabout in town then it was around 8 kms from there, but this map had no scale, just words saying how far things were. We found the roundabout, had fun crossing that and carried on as the map said. We walked and walked but with great company, you really forget how far you have gone. We were aiming for a bridge, found it but there were two paths, luckily Erica is pretty and Swedish so guys were falling over themselves to help her. If I was there by myself, no chance!!

We walked up another road, starting to climb, then the bad down hill walks, you know we'll be walking back up that hill later. We are trying to listen out for water falling, funny enough. We come by a larger section of river, with large rocks to stand on and we decide to take a dip. Of course, under her top Erica has her bikini top on, I forgot to bring my swim shorts, even my goggles. I figure, who care, so just strip to my boxers and oh wait, my chest is now peeling, great! Anyway, the water was freezing, little fish were biting us and we figure, leeches, insect bites were imminent. We stayed there for a while, got some great pictures that I no longer have. As we leave this area, we see Maren and Marte drive by in a jeep, they were on the organised tour (which they said wasn't worth it except for fun pictures of the waterfalls) so Erica and I decide to follow where the jeep had come from. We end up finding a large pond like shape in the river where other tours were, loads of pretty Brazilians swimming around and there was a rope swing, some dude, was doing Tarzan forward, back, forward, back then forward with a perfect dive to finish! Erica got a video of this. We jump back in, and manage to have a small swim and dunk right under this time. Of course, this was the moment where Erica posed for a couple of pictures, yes, they have been lost too. Nevermind. With the long walk to the falls in the heat of the sun, we decide to head back, being wet and tired. Luckily, there was cloudcover, so the long walk back was more shady.

The little adventure was so good, apparently no-one from the hostel has ever walked there before. It didnŽt take long and of course the time went quick with the great company. We get back to the hostel around 3pm, where I shower and take a well deserved nap. While I'm relaxing I chat to Maren some more, such a friendly person, man, I've been very lucky with the people I have met.

Food that night was something more traditional from Brazil. Erica and I were getting frustrated at the lack of local food choices, cuisine in the area, apparently in the lonely planet, fries are great in Brazil. The hostel make some beef/pork dish with loads of black beans and bean sauce, came with rice and was very tasty. The Norwegian girls and Zowie head into town for pizza, then the heavens opened. We had planned to go see the concert again, but ended up sitting around for a couple of hours while everywhere was getting hammered with rain.

I ended up heading to the concert with Zowie quite late, she wasn't feeling very well but wasn't ready to go to sleep, so we caught maybe an hours worth of action. Again, pictures have gone for this as well, although Zowie got some funny ones of me and her! She's a great girl also, had a 7 year relationship up until recently where they were both going in different directions. One of those situations where she assumed she be married with kids maybe when she was 27/28 as she had her guy now she turns 26 tomorrow and is still single. However, it's not like she won't have any options, just whether she meets another great guy. I'm sure she will!

We get back, Norwegians who had gone to bed were on the PC, booking a 4* hotel for carnival in Rio. They spoke to the Spanish guys and changed their plans, so compared to everyone else I know who is going, they will have buffet breakfast and a pool, where Zowie for example, has a 6 bed dorm to sleep in for a week, at least that's better than a cupboard!!

Finally bed time, not too late this night and I got up first time!!

Miles walked 8,6
Temp 32C 90F

Day 56 February 28th - Again, I have breakfast with Debbie and Kilson, the Swiss girls. The cake was still in the oven, but as soon as it came out, cake was again the subject of conversation. Debbie ended up eating four pieces! I guess you had to be there, anyway, I wouldn't know it yet, but this would be my last meal till the following night.

Erica sat next to me and we agreed to not having enough decent pictures of the old town so we head into town for a while to take some pictures. Erica has a super amazing camera and has a real eye for great pictures. She picked up the camera after her trans-siberian trip. Her bus was to leave at 1120am, mine at 1320, so we headed back to pack. I wandered around saying goodbye to some people there, especailly Moren, Zowie and Marte, looks like I might have a summer trip to Norway on the books, well if my lottery numbers come in! Erica and I headed for the bus stop, said our goodbyes and I popped over to an Internet cafe to catch up. I was due in Rio and had some time to kill, so I said I might look for her, but it depends what time  I get in.

While I'm catching up on emails, I see that James and Sarah are in Rio so I figure be very cool to catch up with them too, so I send an email to see if they were up for it.

Then the heavens opened again, and this didn't stop for the rest of the day, I was leaving Paraty at the right moment!!

Bus trip to Rio was pretty uneventful, passed through more beach town places and I get into Rio about 6pm.

So, before I left Paraty, I was chatting to Zowie about having time to kill in Rio, and she was saying, I should definitely go in, have some fun then get to the airport in time. It was an easy call when I got to the bus station, but firstly, I needed to find an Internet connection. I find a cafe, they have wifi, I buy an expensive can of beer and they have no wifi password, nuts! Then I find a cafe and James and Sarah are up for some drinks! Great! OK, plan was, head to Ipanema, find Erica, head to Lapa, find James and Sarah, drink, get to bus station to pick up bags, head to airport, job done. These kind of scenarios may seem stressful with the time constraints, ie I had till midnight to get my bags back and it was now 630pm, but these kind of situations I excel in and well, it'll be fun to try.

Jump into a cab, and 30 minutes later I'm in Ipanema. I have the name of Erica's hostel, just no address and all I have is a bottle of water, my itouch and an empty can of beer. I find a top hotel, they give me a map, I forget to say it's raining as well. So, I walk off to find her hostel, I walk around for 30 minutes and no luck, it was a weird hostel, no real address, no name, so I gave up. So unlike me, but I didn't want to miss out on seeing James and Sarah, so I found another Internet cafe, decided to give Erica's hostel address another go, and well, it was just around the corner. I find it, ask if anyone knows her (seeing as she turned up two hours ago I doubt it) so I head in, and low and behold, at the top of a staircase is Erica. I tell her my plan, she's up for it, just needs a shower. I get chatting to an Indian British guy and he keeps asking others if there's something going on in Lapa? Anyway, Erica was ready and we head to Lapa. It's still pouring. I tell James we are on our way but they are in class so difficult to get hold of, ie I'll wait to hear from them.

In the end, James and Sarah got out of class too late (they are teaching English while in Rio for 5 weeks) and Erica and I drank in a bar until 2330. Again, great conversation and it was nice to see her one last time. it was also a great way to spend time in a wet Rio instead of sat at the airport for 12 hours. So, I was pretty pleased with myself. Got Erica into a taxi while I headed in the other direction. Got my bags, got to the airport and only four hours to kill, and well, I stink! And in all the efforts to make it an interesting night, I forgot to eat. Nevermind, it'll be peanuts on the plane!!

Miles walked 1,5
Temp 20C 68F
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Dave on

That's one way to get your clothes washed, should have jumped in with all your clothes!

Pete on

I'm exhausted reading this....I now need a nap!

Kimberly on

Hey Ant, the old town looks amazing and the few pictures actually reminded me of Belgium...strange! The beaches are beautiful!

Happy you've met some fantastic peeps!

Abi Gorringe on

How come you never meet ugly girls, who aren't keen to strip off to their bikini??!!

The real Toni Border on

Beaches are AMAZING!!!!.....I am glad you are having a good time do some relaxing for me as well.

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