A Mission to get there

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I had my flight leaving from Sao Paulo to London on the 15th of April. And I was in Unyuni in Bolivia which is the west side of Bolivia, and I had to get to Sao Paulo which is practically in the east of Brazil. I had a look at the map and this was going to be a trip of around 1600km. I wanted to arrive a day or two early so I just decided to make the trip in one go and take consecutive buses to try get there as soon as I could. 

I got back to Uyuni from the salt flats and that night I got on a bus to head back to Potosi where I was planning to sleep in a hostel, but when I arrived in the middle of the night I found out that there was another local bus heading to sucre so I decided to hop on that one right away. I arrived at 5 am in the morning, found a cheap hostel and stayed there until morning and then jumped on the next bus out to Santa Cruz. I think that was probably the worst bus that I have taken in my trip because the guy next to me was nuts and would just randomly start talking to himself, the guy behind me kept putting his knees against my seat and the guy infront of me put his seat right back. On top of that they played horrible Bolivian music through the speaker that was right above me all night long... But this just proved that I can really sleep through everything.

arriving in Santa cruz I went to the bus terminal to find info about getting to Sao Paulo. I found a bus company that would take me there via Paraguay. The deal was that I would pay for the whole trip then and there and have to change buses once in Paraguay. I bought the ticket and had to wait until that night so just went to a hostel I had stayed at before and chilled there for the day. That night I went back to the bus station to pick up my bus ticket. He gave me my ticket and I saw it said from santa cruz to paraguay. Nothing more. So I asked the dude where the other ticket for the second part of my journey was and he told me that all I had to do was go to the office in Paraguay, show them my ticket, and they would exchange it for one to Sao Paulo. This all sounded good enough and I got on the bus and we left. 

When I was thinking about buying the ticket the guy told me that the bus was awesome and had aircon but once I got on it I could see that it wasnt so. But I had gotten used to it because these people always promise you the world and then later you find out its completely opposite, but theres nothing you can do. So I wasnt surprised. But when we were in No Mans Land (Seriously, you cross the border leaving Bolivia, and then 3 hours later you enter Paraguay... so inbetween, theres an area that belongs to neither) our bus broke down. After a while all the guys got out of the bus so I joined them and we actually had to push the bus to jump start it. It was quite a funny site and it was nice to stretch my legs. After about 30 minutes of trying we managed to get it going and jumped back in. 

  After a huge delay I arrived in Paraguay at 1am and headed up to the office to pick up my next ticket. Or atleast that was the plan. I got there and showed them my ticket and they looked at it and then looked at me and where wondering what I wanted with this. Right then I got a pretty bad feeling. I told them I was told to exchange my ticket here and they had never heard of this <
At this point it was pretty clear that I had been conned and now had go buy another ticket and as soon as possible because I needed to catch my flight. So I found another bus company that left in the morning and bought my ticket. The next task was to find a place to sleep. By now it was 1:30am and I was pretty tired. I walked around and asked a group of security guards where I could find a cheap place to sleep. One of them said there was a place right there at the terminal. I thought: sweet there's accommodation in the terminal so I followed the security guard. He then walked over to an elevator and pointed to the floor next to it and said there you go. It wasnt quite what I expected but it was cheap and what made it better was that the security guards would walk past and keep and eye on me so it was probably one of the safest places I had slept.

In the morning I had some breakfast (all I could find was a hamburger) and I walked back to the initial bus company to talk to the boss like they told me to. Maybe he could get me my money back or something. When I told him my story he said: yeah all you have to do it exchange your ticket in that office across the road... Sure enough I walked over there and 10 minutes I had exchanged the ticket for a new one to Sao paolo. But now I was stuck with two tickets to the same place both leaving in about 30 minutes. Ofcourse by this time it was way to late to exchange either so I got on the bus with my extra ticket. However it did make me feel better that I wasn't conned and had lasted for 6 months traveling around in south america and hadnt been conned, ripped off or robbed once.

Arriving in Sao paolo I had two days before my flight so I met a girl who was from there and she showed me around the town and we went to the market which looks and is the size of a central train Station and is filled with mostly fruit stalls. She also made me try local food which was pretty much a sandwich with about 50 (not kidding) pieces of meat on it and melted cheese. That's it. So good though and we only just managed to finish half of one each.

That night I met my Brazilian friend who I had met and travelled with in chile. The plan was to go for a drink with her and some of her friends. When I got to the bar there were about 12 of her friends there. Of course I could only speak Spanish and they could only speak portuguese so we ended up communicating a little in Portunol (Portuguese and espanol) which worked... More or less.

The next day I went on a bit of a mission. A friend of mine from back home had asked me to buy her one of the typical Brazilian bikinis (in my opinion, best invention ever). So I walked around streets and malls asking people where I could buy a bikini. You won't believe the amount of confused (sometimes concerned) looks I got. And everytime I had to explain that it wasn't for me. Finally I found a shop and prepared for the next task which would be to try explain to shopkeeper what I was after. Luckily I had gotten a list of desired colors, shapes and sizes so i walked into the store, smiled at the two pretty brazilian girls and handed them this piece of paper. One problem was that the sizes were different. So the next 20 minutes the three of us were making all sorts of gestures and pointing at various bodyparts accompanied with spanish or portuguese. In the end the girls were very nice and helpful and we managed to find one that fit the specification.

I left in the afternoon to catch my flight. The flight was about 12 hours and compared to the bus trip I took two days earlier it was heaven and I slept the whole night and just woke up for breakfast (I have developed a skill that I will always wake up if there's a free meal to be had, even after only 2 hours sleep). And then I was in London.
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Thelma van der Werff on

What an adventure and I am so glad you made it on time!

Patty on

Wat een verhaal weer zeg en ben heel erg blij dat het goed is afgelopen.
Blijf genieten en een goede veilige reis toegewenst.

Big hug van Patty

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