Got a haircut, got a silver tooth ....

Trip Start Oct 29, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gonna get myself arrested
Got some friends in my BMW (well the rest of the bus)
Trying to get themselves arrrested

So onto Paraty. I had flown to Rio and stayed in a hostel overnight before heading to the bus station for the final bit of a my 3-day trek to get to the coast. I managed to successfully get myself a ticket in the bus station to Paraty (my Portuguese has not developed any further than when I was last in Brazil in December - am using the wave your hands in the air and smile a lot method - and when all else fails write something down or give up – Helen swears by it), and had found some breakfast. No real idea what I was eating though. It was a salgado which is something like shredded chicken in mashed potato then in breadcrumbs. The best way I can describe it is a Findus Crispy Pancake. So I got on the bus and we headed out of Rio and I was thinking – at last I'm nearly there – just a 4 hour bus journey and I’ve made it (famous last thoughts)

So about an hour into the journey this guy (aged about 20) stands up and goes to speak to the driver. He then returns to his seat. Then we stop for a break at a cafe type place. Except the guy walks to the front of the bus, and says something to everyone on the bus. Obviously I have no idea what he is saying, but he seems pretty animated and then he starts walking down the bus and looking in people's bags. All a tad weird me thinks. So then he speaks to me - first attempting Portuguese (more hand waving from me) then onto English. So he tells me someone on the bus has stolen his laptop and he wants to search everyone's bag. He says he put the bag into the overhead bit and fell asleep. When he woke up the laptop and cable were gone. I was a bit surprised he thought it was someone on the bus because no-one had got up out of their seats. So I replied that I'm sorry to hear about his lost laptop, but that I didn't have his laptop and there wasn’t a cat in hell's chance of him looking in my bag. Only the Police can do that. Behind me were another British couple and they backed me up on and refused to let him search my bag. We all thought it was some sort of scam. So next thing he calls the Police and 20 minutes later a Police Officer in his Police Car arrives (rather than in the bat mobile). The guy speaks to him about it all, and next thing we know the bus sets off - but in the wrong direction. I look behind the bus and it has a Police escort - flashing lights etc and the whole bus is taken off to the Police station. Meanwhile the lad stands up on the bus, scowling at everyone and tries to be a bit intimidating. So we get to this police compound and the bus has to go in and we are taken off one by one to have our bags searched. We weren't on our own during the search but I did ask the British couple that is we were to be by ourselves that one of them would accompany me - as I had my own laptop in my bag and I was concerned it was a scam.  So everyone’s bag’s was searched and ooh surprise surprise !! (no Cilla didn’t appear to tell me I had a long lost sister and she’s flown all the way over from Brisbane – and here she is, his laptop wasn’t in anyone’s bags.

So we get back onto the bus and I think it’s all over – except we now have two police escorts, one at the front and one at the rear – lights flashing and we head to another town. I  have word with muppet boy (that’s me being reserved in my description of what I think of him) and it turns out he needs to go to the magistrate’s office type thing to report it or something. So by this stage by patience is a little on the thin side as so far muppet boy as accused us all of theft, got us taken to a police station, made us all be searched, then we are further inconvenienced becasue the whole bus has to go with him to the next bit and so far he hasn’t managed one word of an apology. So I have a little chat with him about (Miss Sandell is well and truly back at this stage – it’s as if I was dealing with a jumped up sixth former who really needs to be brought down a peg or two – one of my specialities) how he needs to speak to the rest of the bus again and apologise for all of the inconvenience he has caused because he was stupid enough to have been flaunting his laptop in a busy bus station, which also happens to be in a pretty rough area of Rio. Anyway by the end of our 'little chat’ he does get up and manages a mumbled apology – not the big I am now are we !!!! We finally arrive 2 hours late into Paraty.

So onto Paraty. It is a preserved Portuguese colonial town. It is located on the Costa Verde (Green Coast), a lush, green corridor that runs along the coastline of the state of Rio de Janeiro. Paraty is known for the cobblestone-paved streets (which incidentally are potential death traps) throughout the Historic Centre District. No cars or trucks are allowed in this part of town, only foot traffic or bicycles. Horses (so you know what that means) and carts are a very common sight in Paraty and are frequently used all around the city. So once I have checked into the B&B I head off for a wander into town. I don’t get far because as I am wondering through the main square the British couple from the bus shout over to me and invite me over for a beer. So I join my fellow ‘free the Midlands 3’ compatriots– it turns out that Dave and Denise are Leicester. Incidentally Dave is an ex-police officer (handy) and Denise is a teacher, for a few beers. And thats what I really love about this whole travelling malarky – you end up having a beer with some people from your bus. Could you imagine in London, being invited over by some people you were on the number bus 38 with?

So I spent the next day pottering around the town – it was the summer and this meant rain – and when it rains it does it properly here. The problem is that the cobblestoned streets do not have proper drainage so when it rains it floods. You end up waded through it all. Then on the Sunday Elissa and Bree arrived. These were the lovely two Australians I’d met for one night in San Pedro de Atacama. I got a text from them saying they were having some food and a beer or two and they’d over ordered and needed some help with eating it all. So being the more than obliging very commonwealth citizen that I am I went along to help (must be worth an MBE at least). So several hours I was still out with them, but we were now in the bar with a few caiparinhas (it was their first proper night in Brazil after all). Anyway they had a few days previously in Iguasu bumped into their tour group they’d been travelling with in Peru and Bolivia. Turns out they were in Paraty as well and they walked past the bar we were in. So I met their friends as well. So the group were off out the next day on a boat trip round the islands. So they very kindly invited Bree, Elissa and me along as well.

So the next morning I woke up feeling a bit jaded – but headed off for the boat trip. Turns out it was more of a booze cruise – lunch was included and all you can drink caparinhas. I was a bit concerned at first because it seemed like I was on a boat full of 18 year olds.However, on close inspection I realised that no – they might be acting like 18 year olds but most people seemed to be at least 25. Me and the girls struggled a little at first with the caparinhas but with true Brit and Aussie determination we got right back on the horse again. So the cruise took us to various islands where you could get into the sea and have a swim basically. Then back on board for a few more drinks and then more swimming. I realised I was getting a little bit worse for wear when I decided I could jump off the top of the boat. After that I had a few waters. I did plan to head straight back to my B&B but ended up looking after Jess, who was 21 and a little bit on the tipsy side and seemed to think it was a good idea to head off with one of the crew. The rest of the group had obviously seen this one too many times so I spent the next 1 hours trying to coax her back to her hotel. Fortunatelty I had met the others at the hotel earlier, so I knew where it was as she really had no idea. Once again teacher Liz came out again, I didn’t hardly know Jess at all but she seemed like a good kid (yes I know she is 21) and was just like a lot of students I had taught before. All I knew was that she, even though it was her own fault and she was old enough to be able to take care of herself, that she was someone’s daughter and If I were her parents I’d want someone to help out.

The following day I just pottered around again and enjoyed a bit more of Paraty – bus this time in the sunshine. In the evening I met up with the girls and we had an incredible Thai meal. You have to bear in mind that I had been travelling for over 3 months with not that much variety on the food stage. We were all so excited to be eating something  bit different and it was a really good meal, washed down with some very nice mango daiquiris

So we spent our final day in Trinadade, which is a small tourist resort along the coast with a stunning beach. Another interesting bus ride (obviously it took at least an hour because you can’t get anywhere in South America in less than an hour). The beach was beautiful with waves crashing in from the Atlantic. Note to self though – if you do want to feel good about yourself do not go to the beach with two stunning Aussie girls. That evening we had a pizza and I think perhaps the worst experience I have had so far in terms of trying to communicate with a waiter. I had the best command of Portuguese of the 3 of us so made an attempt to order a couple of pizzas and a bottle of wine. Lots of pointing and lots of smiling. For some reason the waiter took great offence and every time I spoke looked at me as if I’d just eaten his hamster. Bree made an attempt as well but no joy so it was left to Elissa to try to get somewhere. It took 20 minutes to try to get any bottle of red wine (we had long ago given up on actually getting the one from the menu we actually wanted. Then we had an interesting time trying to get through that yes we did actually want cheese on the pizza (bit of a given if you ask me).

So after a few days down by the sea it was time to head back to Rio and carnival .....
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Jim on

Sounds like The Inbetweeners movie!

Jane on

"My kinda town, Parata is"

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