Strange how things work out

Trip Start Mar 30, 2010
Trip End Dec 13, 2012

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Friday, May 14, 2010

      The whole reason I had  come to the town of Parati (pronounced parachi), was because a friend from the Panatal had spoke so highly of it.  I was told that it was a small colonial town on the coast.  This intrigued me to make a quick visit.  After a 4 hour bus ride turned into a 6 hour one because of mechanical faliure, I arrived at sundown.  My first objective while there was to book my bus ticket back to Sao Paulo.  Secondly, I needed to get a ticket to get to the town of Angra dos Reis, the launch point to Illha Grande.  The bus company I needed to book with had no one in the booth, so I figured they were gone on break.  I waited a while and checked their posted schedule.  Still no one arrived.  A gentle soft spoken man, by the name of Gergorio, who was waiting at the bus station saw me somewhat confused and came to my assistance.  He told me their was no need to book a ticket, just show up in the morning and get on the bus, and I can pay then.  We chatted a bit about football, where I was from, and he even offered to help me get to my hostel I had chosen.  Then, he proceeded to ask me if I would mind being a guest speaker at an english class that he taught that evening.  I wasn`t sure if I could fully trust him yet, since I had come from the big cities where I was taught to trust few.  But I could tell quickly that he was a sincere guy, and I agreed.  The class was in an hour, so after walking me to my hostel, we agreed to meet shortly after.   Why not, I took a course to teach english abroad anyways.  May as well try it out once.

      The town itself was a classic colonial town with rough cobble stone streets.  It was almost difficult to walk around because the streets were so uneven, but it added to the charm.  Another nice feature was that the historic distric where my hostel was located, was closed to vehicular traffic. 
     When I met  up with Gregorio,  he introduced me to his wife and explained that the class was to teach navagational english.  As in boats and giving directions to tourist since this was the main industry in Parati.  We walked through the town and Gregorio explaned the cities history to me.  He knew quite a lot.  En route too, he was saying hello to all the shop owners and people on the street, which installed more confince in me since he was so well known.  The class room was down by the beach in a boat house.  It was a dark poorly lit area, but you could see a few children hiding off in the shadows.  He had informed me that the majority of the students were aged 14 years old, but the first one I met was an adorable 11 year old girl.  As we got into the class room, a few more students came out of the woodwork.  The class size was roughly 10.  I had no idea what I could offer to them in the way of knowledge.  At first, many of the students were rather shy and reserved, but once they saw that I was easy going and somewhat a jokster, they losened up.   It was a great experience.  I am very glad that I did it.  I think they enjoyed as much as I did.  It gave me a chance to really get to know the locals and do some good at the same time.
   Later on in the evening, I wandered town looking for something to do.  There wasnt much in the line of clubs, and the bars were rather expensive, so instead I just watched football with some guys who had a tv pulled out on the street, eatting some bbq.  Was a good time watching a match, their eyes rarely even left the screen.  One restaurant filled with locals watching a game erupted when a goal was scored....plates were smashed, and one guy had a t shirt for the other team ripped off his back, pretended to be lit on fire, and thrown on the roof of the building.  It was quite funny to see, for me atleast, probably not him as much.
  When I came back to Parati after my time in Illha Grande, there was a big festival getting ready to take place. I believe it was a catholic party of some sort.  There was a parade that ended up going through town and ended at the massive church.  I followed with my camera.  It was quite a display, with fireworks constantly going off in the background.  I managed to squeeze my way in the church to check it out for a bit.  The music was not the kind of church music i had heard before.  Everyone in the whole church, entrance, and even on the steps outside knew the words too. I can't even think of a way to describe it, but it was quite amazing to see.
     Outside the church there was a stage set up, and I roamed around beer in hand.  This is one of my favorite things to do here while exploring.    I found a store selling cachaca, over 750 brands to choose from. Just the display was impressive.  Everyone in this little town was up, even little ones till late in the night.  I was getting tired and decided to call it a night around midnight.  If I had more time, I would really like to visit this town again, just to say hi to the kids I met, and explore this hidden little jewel along the coast.
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Rudi on

So you enjoyed Parati did you? Of all the places we went in Brazil, it had to be one of our favs... Not a whole lot of tourists, lots to explore and a perfect place to relax.

Glad you've made it through South America in one piece! Good luck in South Africa & enjoy the World Cup you lucky bugger!!

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