Brazil / Argentina: Day 32-33

After an extremely late night the day before, my alarm went off at 7 in the morning. I had to out of the door for 8 so I gave myself as much time as possible to get out of bed. Good thing too, as many head was really hurting. We got on the bus and went to the falls. We first made a stop at the three points, a point that overlooks the borders of three countries, brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. I think it one of few borders in the world that is like this and was interesting to compare the cities on all sides of the border. I was really not interesting in going to Paraguay as I have heard a lot of really horrible things about crime in that country. It was nice to at least see the country, even if it was at a distance. 

Next we went to the park. These is a national park next to the falls, which is full of really cool wildlife. Having no idea that there was also a park, I was very excited to see a number of different monkeys jumping around. 


Once we got more into the park, the guide asked us if we wanted to talk the boat trip. We didn’t know there was boat tour on offer and many of the people with us were mad to find out it was extra to the price. It was cheap, but the boat takes you into the falls, so you can really feel the spray of water on your face. Honestly it might have been the most fun I have ever had with my trousers on. It gets you really wet, as your are dunked under the falls. I know it is a bit of extra money, but it is a once in a life time sort of thing. 
I am going to let the picture tell some of the story and just show you how amazing the falls were. 


The border crossing on both sides was a little silly. Latin America loves to add extra admin and process to ever simple things. You had to have a entry form from when you entered brazil, get exit and entry stamps. Then on the way back, the same process again. Honestly it is less paperwork to get into america. The other thing I was surprised by, is the fact the american and Austrians couldn’t come, as it would cost them, going in and coming back. 

That night, with some new friends I had meet on trip that day, I got very drunk again. These guys were really nice, 27,  28 and 29 responsively Matt, Mark and Amanda were much more my speed. Having seen a bit of the world, these people were much more level headed. The happy go lucky people I meet before, were doing the trip at a different peace. By the time I left on day 34, they still hadn’t managed to get the Argentinan side. The two french girls got so sick of those guys mucking around and not going to the falls, they were on the guided tour the next day. 

That night, we topped it off with a really cool music gig, of Brazilian funk. It is jazzy, rock with a samba beat. It was pretty amazing and the band, who had clearly been playing with each other for years were amazing. The venue kind of zinged us on the way out by charging an entrance fee. This is very common in brazil, telling you after the fact that you have to pay for something on the way out. 

Day 33, was spent sleeting off two hung overs in a row, skyping family and sleeping. I had lunch in a all you can eat BBQ place that you paid for by the weight. It was the last night in Brazil and I had some very mixed feelings about leaving. It has been very hard travelling alone in that country, language was the biggest problem. But it is a country of great beauty. 

Uragane is the next country, onworulds and upwards. Goodnight guys. 

Brazil: Day 30-31

Last day in São Paulo and nearing the end of my time Brazil. With a 6:30 coach to the Iguaza falls, it means I couldn’t go and do much with my day. I went into town again to have lunch in a really cool restaurant I saw on one of the tours. It is a really old fashioned restaurant, with lamp shades and paintings on the walls. It was a very nice way to while away a couple of hours. I had a sausage sandwich for lunch, something I had been craving for sometime. I was a little worried about the coach ride to come, as it was my first time doing a long haul coach ride in latin america, with a ride between the Sao Paulo and the falls clocking in at 17 hours. It was also my first overnight coach, as I don’t sleep well on trains or buses. But it was with some stress, I decided to look at some details on the falls to fill the time before the coach. I really wish I hadn’t looked up in detail. When looking at a travel wiki about the falls, I saw a notice in red, next to bus travel. It read “Updated: 28/08/2016. Don’t take bus route overnight. Bandits have been known to hold up coaches at gun point and rob passengers. Please take other means to get the falls”. To say the least, this panicked me. I went into full panic mode, googling like a crazy man to find another source for this information. After 35 minutes of research I had come up with nothing. I whatsapped my girlfriend in london to ask for her advice. She told me what I was already thinking, it is only one source and that if it really worried me that I should just get a flight. Safety is first and to hell with how much it might cost. After an hour of soul searching and with a heavy heart, I collected my bags and headed to the bus station. It was a 45 minute drive to the bus station, so I took an uber. Even though I had been in the town for over 5 days, I still didn’t get scale of it until I was driven though it. It was massive, high scrapers for miles and road after road. But there was beauty in it as well. The bridge at the edge of the city was beautiful and colourful.


After getting my ticket, which was a pain as everything seems to be in Brazil, I got on the bus. I briefly spoke to two English lads on the platform, but they were sitting on the back of the bus, so I didn’t see them again. The bus was long and I didn’t sleep. I was so worried about bandits that I spent most of the trip looking at the window for passing cars. I got fragments of sleep but this was broken up by driving on raw dirt roads and peroidic stops. The bus would stop every 4 hours in the middle of nowhere service stations. We would all get out and then the bus driver would drive off 45 minutes later. No one ever checked if everyone got back or gave a time limit for the stay. Just when they were ready to go, you better be on the bus. When I got off the bus at the town near the falls, I was extremely tired but managed to get myself a map and directions to the bus station. As I was walking to the bus stop, I saw the two English guys on the way. They seemed very lost, so I asked them if they needed help. They did and I said I could look up their hostel on my phone. They thanked me gratefully and it turned out that their hostel was only a 5 minute walk from mine. I told them to follow me and we could work it out when we got there. We got the bus stop together and started chatting. I told them I was staying in this cool hostel called the tetris hostel that was made of shipping containers. As I was talking about the hostel, a group of three girls turned around said that they were staying at the same hostel. We formed a little group and all got the bus together. It turned out only one off them spoke English, a very nice Swiss girl of 23. The other two only spoke French. After finally getting hostel, the two English guys decided not to bother with their booked hostel and to come in with us. I got the desk first and checked into my bunk. The other got a room together, that the girl, who flirted outrageously with everyone, managed to get a big discount on a shared room. As I checked in before them, I didn’t get this discount and I was in a different room. A fact at the time that made me really mad, but in fact was a blessing. 


After getting washed and changed, I told the guys that as it was 12pm, we had lots of time to do the Brazilian side of the falls done together. I really wanted to get the Brazilian side of the falls done, as I only had 3 days in the area before I flew out to Montevideo. It was 12 o’clock when they agreed to go to the falls, but it took 1 and half hours for the guys to get things together. This was another warning sign that this gang of early 20 somethings really didn’t have their house in order. We managed to get the falls, after a quick bus ride. We paid and walked the falls. Only 20% of the falls can be found on the Brazilian side but if you visit, it is the side you should do first. It is only 20%, but all the wide views of the falls and the true scale can be seen from that side. We walked along pleasantly enough, chatty and telling stories. The swiss girl did that thing that cute girls think is cute, of being cooky, but it felt extremely forced and really got on my nerves. The falls, are amazing and there are not enough photos in the world to give the scale or awe of them. They just keep going and going. You keep walking and walking and there still is more. The only thing that really could distract again from the falls, are the tonnes of local possums, that do look pretty cute, but they steal food and bite tourists. I decided to give them a wide birth. 


On the ride home, the guys talked about making dinner together. I decided this was a horrible idea, as travelling with good friends before I had had big fights about food. I silently decided to give this group a little distance. All of them were below the age of 24 and the difference in life perspective was really making itself clear. In the supermarket, I told the guys I would sort myself out. Getting back to the hostel, the guy started cooking they stir fry, if it could be called that. I made a simple meal of eggy bread and was ready in 15 minutes. However it took them 2 hours to cook. After I ate and while they waited, we talked about getting to the Argentinian side. The Swiss girl, who now was firmly in charge of the group, said renting a car would be cheaper. I said this was a bad idea, as this trip involved a border crossing, a car and insurance would be much more expensive than they think. They disagreed and continued to plan. I went for another beer at the bar and on the way back, booked a guided tour for the next day. I came back to the table and told the guys I booked a tour. They understood but seemed a little upset. After dinner, the drinking began. It was a pretty good night and we ended up in a bar / club. This club played the weirdest music I had ever heard, a mix of samba, rap, funk and R&B. It used riffs from western songs, like sugar hill gang, but different. It was so weird that I really couldn’t get my head around it and felt like the music was just out of my reach. I left club at 2:30 and headed to bed. I had a tour to get up for at 8am the next day. 


That’s all for now, two very long days, but an amazing view. 

Brazil: Day 26-29

Travelling around a lot you start to see that each town or city has it’s interests. What do these people enjoy?  In some place this is hard to find what this is, but in Suo Paulo’s thing is books. There are book shops on every street corner it is seems, really big ones. There are even vending machines in the metro with books in it. It is really interesting to see, that in a world that is more and more focused on putting their heads into phones, that Suo Paulo is going the other way with easy access to books. What is more interesting is what they are reading. Graphic novels are everywhere. Looking at an average news stand you would see on every street corner, you would see some magazine but around 70% of the shelfs are full of graphic novels. All of which was translated into Portuguese but still. The locals seem to be really big batman and superman fans, as this was most of graphic novels. Even saw a copy of the watchmen. Very strange. 


Day 26 to 29 are all a bit of blur, as there is a company that runs free walking tours, I did all three of their tours, one each day. Three things things stand out from walking around the city. First, that the city is extremely run down. Amazing building, beautiful skyscrapers, were covered in graffiti and had been like that for years. It is weird to walk around a city that could easy been from America or Europe, but have it run down to make it look like a third world city. It looked a lot like a city after a zombie apocalypse with things ran down. It seems like no one really takes pride in what things look like, as even the open store fronts, the windows were unclean. Personally I don’t understand this, as it is free to keep things clean. Second thing I noticed is that they don’t really care about history. When going around the city, the guide showed us what the road used to look like. In some places, the building on a spot was the 4th one, as they ripped it down to build something different. Because of that lack of care for the past, Suo paulo doesn’t have a tonne of history and many of the “oldest” buildings were from the 1930s. The third thing I notice is that important that they make things their own. In the centre of town is the opera house and it is amazing. But the guide that showed it to us, wasn’t a fan. “It is a copy of a opera house in france. It is not Brazilian”. It is really important that buildings are Brazilian and have their style. However, in all my time in Brazil, I am really not sure that style is any good or even really what it is. For example, when they opened the opera house, they were going to do an Italian opera, but the people of the city kicked off. So they commissioned a very work specially for it. It is good for the rest of the world, is not good enough for them it seems.


After the second walking tour and with new American friend, we made our way to a famous market. And I was stuck by the surrounding area. Graffiti everywhere, unclear streets and cheap plastic toys made me think I had gone to the wrong part of town. However enter a beautiful turn of the centry building, you are meet with a wall of colour. Market stalls selling, fish, cheese and exotic fruits give the hall a feeling a extraordinary atmosphere. It honestly felt like walking around a market from another planet, weird coloured spikes fruit and all. After walking around the market, my new friend treated me to lunch of sliced pork sandwich which were famous in the area. 


After the third walking tour, I went a did the last of my sight seeing. I went to a beautiful looking library, that looked amazing from the outside. However getting inside, I realised it was a pretty normal library inside. I also went around the mes gallery a beautiful and iconic building in the centre, picture below. However getting inside, the gallery had little interesting art. It is privately owned and just seems like a random collection of whatever they could get their hands on. The art didn’t seem to have any focus and art had no order. Something I don’t normally notice, but I take my hats off to those who sort and arrange galleries going forward. 


I really enjoyed having an Airbnb for this leg of the trip. You miss cooking when you are unable to do it. I have enjoyed my time in the big city. As a londoner, I missed the noise and the people of a city. 

Moving on the tomorrow, onwards and upwards. 

Brazil: Day 25

Sao Paulo is an interesting place. Much is said about it by many people, most of which is pretty negative. So coming to the city, I was a little bit worried that I would be bored. How wrong could people be? The city is amazing, it is full of great galleries, public parks, museums and restaurants. There are also great train links and it is pretty easy to walk a lot of other places from stations. But I think that like most big cities you need to know where you are going. It is not a city where you can stumble upon things by just walking around, you need to know where to go. But there was tonnes of information online and I found the lonely planet page regarding the city extremely useful. It is one of (and some say the biggest) biggest city’s in the world. It has a population of 15 million in the city and 22 in the surrounding areas. To say it is big is an under statement.


The first full day in the town I went to the luz area. This is in the north of the city and is a hub station on the metro so is easy to get to. I went to visit the national gallery there and a interesting park. When I got out of the station, it was pretty dirty and horrible. Walking over an overpass, you could see people selling wallets, phones and watches on the side of the road. I have never seen such a clear selling of stolen goods in my life. I wonder if the sellers even bothered to wipe the phone or if it is was still full of the last person’s data. Starting to worry, I thought I was in the wrong place, I was about to turn back when I saw the gallery and quickly ran to it. This sums up a lot of Brazil in a way, really rich and beautiful things next to dirty horrible poor areas, with little divide. It is weird for a westerner to see, as the divides are much more clear in our cities. The gallery was one of the best I have ever seen. The building was really light and the selection was really interesting. The bottom levels started with very modern art, with video displays and weird photography. But as you got higher in the building, the art becomes older and styles change. It is a great cross section of art in brazil and found some pieces I really liked, like this light piece.


Next to the gallery is a massive park and I had my pack lunch in there. In park is art as well. Made my lunch nice. That is one of the key features of Suo Paulo, is that even though it is a big city, it is committed to having culture and nature as part of every building. To get a permit to build in sau Paulo, you must commit space (normally on the ground floor) to culture. This normally means that the ground floor of all the skyscrapers is a little art gallery, that you can poke your head in for free. It is pretty cool that you can go into these international bank’s head quarters and just have a look around at the art.


With the day running out, I made quick stop off in Su, the centre station. There is located many of the banks, the main square and the church. It is very beautiful but it is ruined by the people there. The locals are either protesting the government, trying to get money off you or shouting about (I guess) god. It is noises and dirty and even important statuses had graffiti on them. The church was beautfiul, but I was unable to take any photos in there as the security guard in the church told I wasn’t allow. Brazil really needs security guards in it’s churchs? but I didn’t have much time in it as there was service on. Taking a tour tomorrow.


Good night folks, more to explore tomorrow.

Brazil: Day 24

Another transfer day, moving on to Sao Paulo. Booked a transfer with greentoad and they picked me up on my hostel and we were away. 5 hours of driving over hills and mountains. I felt pretty sick up the end as I lost count of the number of hair pinned bends. Finally got to Sao Paulo and was dumbed off outside a random hotel. Thinking that I could get away with using uber, I reached for my phone and opened the app. However, when I opened the app, I realised my phone could not connect to the internet. My phone that was working not 5 hours drive away didn’t work in this part of the country. After about 20 minutes of trying to get the thing to work, I gave up. I walked into the hotel and asked really nicely if they would be so kind as to order me a cab. They did and I was on my way. Luckiely the cab was only £3 and go to my airbnb. THis sao paulo I decided not to go with the hostel but to get airbnb. It was a similar price to hostel, but I meant I got the whole flat and it was in a better location. My experience with the hosts were amazing and they were really cool, telling me local places to eat, bars and where the nearest shopping centre was.   
My airbnb was located about 3 blocked for the main paulista avenue, which I can only compare to oxford street. It was massive, with sky scrapers on each side of the road and a different shopping centre every 500 meter. I was a weird feeling to be in a big town again and it felt like home. Growing up in london, an urban setting just feels like home to me. I know for a lot of people, cities are boring, but I love what cities provide, culture, galleries and restaurants. It was a lot a really nice change of peach from smal l towns I have been going to for the last 3 weeks. I explored street, taking in the amazing sky scrapers and shopping centres. While in one of the shopping centres, I found a new prepaid sim from a very friendly and english speaking woman at the carlo store. By far the easiest experience of getting a sim, because why the time I was leaving the store, the sim was activated and getting messages. I even found a comic book shop in one of the shopping centres, which really gave me a boost. Just doing something so normal, as looking at comic books, really made me feel like myself again. The last piece of admin for the day was getting a card for the metro system. This was a lot harder than I thought as not every station sells them it seems. After going to 3 stations, I was really starting to loose it, as no one spoke english. At the 3 place, I acted dumb and repeatedly asked for the card. The woman took pity on me and got her recharge card out of her bag and gave her mine. Really nice thing to do. 


On the way home, I noticed a lot of police around. Walking a bit more, I saw why. Around 2000 people were banging drums and protesting something. I am not sure what, it was likely to do the current problems with the government. I had a feeling it might turn any minute, so I double timed it home. Got some food at a food market on the way home. Peanut butter toast and cereal for dinner. Two things I had be craving for weeks. 


Going to get up early tomorrow and explore more. Really looking forward to it.

Brazil: Day 23-24

Having enjoyed Paraty soo much over the last couple of days, I decided to take a break from travelling and enjoy the city for a couple more days. With the stress of losing my phone and general bad weather, staying in the town, meant that I could really enjoy it. I had a late breakfast at the hostel, enjoying my scrammed eggs and toast with a beautiful crane.


He seemed to be enjoying his breakfast too, finishing a massive fish before my eyes. The rest of day 22 was taken with chilling out in the hostel on a hamick, drinking beer and writing up blogs. Not a bad day in all. In the evening, I had arranged a city tour of the old town. Well worth the money and really got a sense of the town. Paraty is a city that dates back over 400 years and was a hub of trade. It was a hub for silver and diamonds trade, which brought a lot o money to the area. By in the 1800s, it was one of the mayor hubs for the slave trade. In fact 8% of the 6 million slaves went through the same town of paraty. On the mayor things you find out when looking through the city it that it’s ruling class was freemasons. Because of this, it means that the town had broken into a very strict class system. White men, white woman and black slaves. For that reason they were three of everything in the town, hospitals, churches and homes. Really interesting to see the different between them and how paired down the slave churches were. But even between the free mason masters there were levels. The free masons had special patterns on there houses to denote that they were a mason. These patterns can be translated but their meaning is only known to other of the clone. The high classes can be denoted by the showing of pineapple in on the fact of there house. Also the oddly shaped streets and dead ends were on purpose. The town has no pattern because it makes it hard for no locals to get around, making it harder for people to invade. It is a beautiful city and one that has remained so beautiful because of the strict rules put in place in 1945.

95B1377F-8880-4347-A46C-F79713FA3599

Day 23 was another chill day, with my spenting most of it at the beach. The weather was nice so i just enjoyed getting some sun. Check out this view. Ignore the woman in the way.

2ef4aa38-d890-4d58-ac33-aea7b73f2fe9

On the way back to the hostel I walked a different way home by the river. You can see lots of the locals using small boats or surf boards to make their way home. Very cool.

95600641-EA67-4375-B4BA-5ECE34805F15

I am going to miss Paraty, it is a restful place and the nice hostel I have stayed the whole time I have been here.

Brazil: Day 21-22

Today I went on a boat tour of the local island. Yet again, I was the only English speaker on the the tour. To save a little money, I bought my own pack lunch and we went off to our first stop. At the first stop, we all got off the boat and dived into the clear water. I was worried about getting my phone stolen, I decided to keep my phone on me while on the beach. However when we went to leave, I checked my pocket and saw that my phone was missing. I looked all around the beach for my phone but I couldn’t find it. It was gone. This made me extremely mad. When you travel, your phone is your everything. Camera, map, translator and entertainment. Without it I felt lost, alone and unable to communicate with the world. It honestly scared the hell out of me not having a phone, as no one on the boat spoke English, not being able to communicate if hurt might be a real issue. Honestly loosing the phone was like a death to me. Not having a that line of communication or the ability to fill boring silence with music or an audio book really made me feel lost. A went though the 5 stages of grift over a phone, no joke. I didn’t enjoy the rest of the day as I spent the whole day kicking myself for being careless and loosing the phone.  When I got home, I talked with Laura and parents regarding options for phones on my ipad. With the ipad, I didn’t have to get a new phone straight away, however it is a pain to carry and you look foolish taking photos with an ipad. After a while, decided that it was impossible to live without a phone my travels. I honestly wish this wasn’t the case. I wish I could tell you that everything was fine that I could live without a phone but I couldn’t. In London, maybe I could get away without one,but here it is a life line I couldn’t continue without. 

Day 22, spent the morning sourcing a new phone. Much harder than I thought as it turns out some stores you need a special license to buy phones at. Why this is the case, no one in the store could explain to me. In the end, I found the “american store”, which sell technology, dvds and everything you could think of. Think woolworths in it’s hay day. £157 gets you a pretty functional Samsung android phone. The Samgung galaxy J2 to be exact. 5 megapixel camera, 8gb of storage, 4 cores and 2 gb of ram. Honestly not a bad phone for the money and not much more than you would pay anywhere for it. It retails for £147 in the UK when I googled it. The best feature is that functions as a tv and radio. Completely insane

 
Spent the rest of the day sitting on the beach setting up the phone. Realised how similar android and iOS are these days. In a way technology has become very functionality the differences are only mirror and uninteresting now. Downloaded the audible app and started listening to a new book called the forgotten continent. Talks about the history of latin america. Really a must read for those travelling in the area, as it really explain the issues all these counties have. Like for example the classes issues that brazil had with the rich living by one set of laws and the local and poor another. Really lies stuff out. 

I am off to play with my phone again. Night all. 

Brazil: Day 20

Three weeks in brazil has gone so fast. Can’t believe that I have been away for so long and not gone mad with being on my own. Today was a relaxing day, finding my way around the city and getting things straight. The old town is even more beautiful by day and I couldn’t help myself but take pictures. I found out there I wasn’t the only one with everyone around me carrying extremely expensive cameras. It turned out the town was doing a festival of photography and that people from all around brazil had come to take photos of the town. Also the town was showing photography from famous artist in Brazil in many of it’s public buildings and it was free to entry. So I had a very enjoyable morning walking around taking photos.


Getting hungry, I decided to stop for lunch. I don’t want the following to come off as rude, but my waiter was one of the stupidest persons I have ever meet. I asked him (in Portuguese) if he spoke english, he said no. But he returned with the specials board in English and I picked my meal. I then waited for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Getting pretty hungry at this point, I asked the waiter, in Portuguese, how long for my food. He then said 5 minutes. I thought, okay. Another 25 minutes rolls around and I say to the waiter than I am leaving without paying and this was not okay. He panic and grabs another waiter. Turns out that he speaks perfect English and even he is confused at the 2 hour wait time. This is the part that I don’t understand, when I ask them if they speak english, why didn’t he get this guy before. It seems a simple matter to switch tables with each other, so he serves me. Instead, I struggled for 2 hours to work out when the hell my food was. Brazil really doesn’t care about service or understand if you dont speak their language. It is not even as if it is a popular language, it is 7th most popular in the world. A pure lack of common sense is missing from everyone that has served me in this country. I think that education is really an issue, as the common man as a stupid look on their face most of the time and spits in the road. My food finally shows up and it was the wrong meal. I had ordered chicken and was given steak. This is not normally a problem as I love steak, but I have had this issue the whole time I have been in Brazil. Whatever I order, I get given steak. I believe this is because steak is normally the most expensive thing on the menu and they are forcing an up sale on me. But I am not sure, as many time the thing I have ordered are the same price. Confusing. In the end, I sent the food back and after 2 hours 45 minutes, I got my food and walked off without paying.


I walked around the town for the rest of the day, what was left of it and went back to the hostel when it got dark. Nearly home, I was just turning into my street when out of no where, the street turned into a political rally. People on the street were shouting and all road was filled with cars with yellow flags with the number 15 on them. All the cars were going crazy, making noose and playing music. When I saw a street food vendor get punched and heard the police, I decided to leave. I ran back to the hostel and locked the door behind me. For the rest of the night I heard the madness going on outside. I asked the host what the deal with the number was. Each person in the election is giving a number to campaign under. People use this number to show support, a little like the number on the back of a football shirt. Crazy.


Early night tonight, got a boat tour in the morning. Night.

Brazil: Day 19

Day 20 and today was a very long day. Getting in late at 2:45 this morning, it was pretty painful to wake up at 8 so that I could pack to leave. I found, to my horror that the checkout time was at 10, so I had to hurry. I dragged myself out of bed and reached for the light switch in the room. Pressing the switch, nothing happened, I tried the fan and other switches, nothing. Odd, I looked at my phone to see if I had an signal, no wifi. Interesting, so I put dressed quickly shoved all my stuff in my bag and checked out. As I was leaving, I asked about the wifi and the light. The manager explained that the storms of the last couple of days have been the worst for many years and for the reason, they was no power on the whole island. Meaning no lights, no fans, no wifi and no phone signal, as I am guessing the cell towers require power. This meant, I had some very boring hours a head of me. With nothing to do and being so hung over, I ended up just watching dogs the beach fight each other for hours. 


My boat was due to leave at 1:30, so I got the dock at 1 just in case. Just in time to see a boat (from the same company I was using) leave. Confused I asked the woman working there if it was my boat. She didn’t answer and walked away. Confused, I sat there thinking, I was stuck on this god forsaken island, when 1:30 rolled around. Then 1:40. At 1:50, I really started to panic when I boat finally turned up and I was ushered aboard. The choppy seas did nothing for my hung over and I was very glad to get onto dry land. 


From there, it was a 5 hour bus ride to the town of paraty. I was dropped at my hostel. The hostel turned out to be pretty nice, with a really nice English speaking host, great wifi and a really big television. I was hungry, so decided to treat myself to a meal out in town. I didn’t really know my way into town, so I just followed the sound. The roads into the old city  is pretty horrible, looking like a city in any third world country, street food and horrible shops. Which is all the stranger, when the road turns really nice and then becomes the old town. It is hard to explain how beautiful the old town is, it is really nice. It is extremely well preserved port town from the 1800s, which was once very rich, as it was a hub for silver and diamonds in the past. Walking along it cobbled and uneven streets is like travelling back in time. There are also lots of cool shops and resterants. For the first time on land, in brazil, I felt like a tourist again. Like looking at a old city in Europe like Dubrovnik or many cities in italy. I was in love. I had a very enjoyable pizza in town, if not a little pricey and headed home. 


Been a really long day today, want to get some sleep so I can get up and explore tomorrow. Night all. 

Brazil: Day 14-15

Not a lot to report. Day 14 was taken up with a 7 hour couch ride to Salavador and the flight back to rio. I landed in rio at 11:00 at night and I had been there before i went straight to the bus terminal. However, what I didn’t know was that the buses stop at 10:30, so waited for 45 minutes before thinking to look it up on my phone. From there, I decided to get an uber to my hotel, which proved more difficult than I thought, as uber would not pick me up at the airport for some reason. So I decided to walk into the area where it would pick me up. This ended up being a stupid idea, as I had to walk (with my bags)  nearly two miles. When I did get an uber, the guy couldn’t find me and I cancelled the trip. I requested another uber, to have the same stupid driver try to pick me up again. This process of me requesting, getting the same guy and cancelling repeated 4 times, until I was starting to worry how I would get to my hostel after all. Then I remembered the uber has another setting for the type of car, once I changed it to uber premium there was then an option for uber english and I jumped to order that. The uber driver was nice when I got in. Offered me some water and everything. He seemed very worried about dropping me off at my hostel as “it’s a very bad part of town”. A comment, I found very unhelpful, with a hostel booked and it being 1:30 in the morning. He dropped me off and speed off as fast as he could. 

Day 15 was similarly uneventful, with a bus that took me to the next stop on my trip, the island of ilha grande. After a peaceful bus and boat ride, where I mostly watched season 6 of suits I got to the island. After getting settled in, I had dinner on the beach. It was very nice, but I got the vibe that this island wasn’t really for me. Looking around, it was nothing but couples. Then I worked out what most of the people on this island were, hunny mooning couples. This made me feel like a right lemon, so I finished my food quickly and headed off. 


When landing on the island, I was told that the bar next to the dock was the source of the islands night life, so I decided to check it out. At 9pm it was still extremely quite and I didn’t meet anyone that spoke English that I wanted to talk to. There were a group of americans that seem like frat boys playing a drinking game, but I didn’t fancy talking to them. But as I already ordered a drink, I decided to hang around for a bit. After a while, I started to feel people were looking at me on my own and feeling a bit weird. But want of anything to do, I found an empty hamick and jumped in. I thought, “no one will question a man in a hamick, right?”. So I jumped in the hamick and got very relaxed. I woke up the the sound of a series of loud coughs. Over head was a very tall and angry looking black man looking down at me. I rubbed my eyes and looked at my watch. It was 1:20 in the morning. I had jumped in the hamkin at around 9:30 and just passed out. Looking around the bar / club, it was completely empty apart the staff looking bored at the edge of the dance floor. Clearly they were just waiting for the customers to leave before they could go home. Turning bright red, I quickly jumped out of the hamick , thank the owners and sheepishly walked home. 

Tomorrow, I explore the island. Night all 

Brazil: Day 12-13

Had some admit to catchup on, such as booking the next hostel and transfer, so spent some time the hostel. This was more of an issue, as the place was a mess. It was less of a hostel and more a spare room in a farm house populated by a family. This family also runs a resterate out of the front of the place, so it was never quite. It didn’t help that the building was falling to pieces. The toilet in fact had massive holes in the roof and when you went to the toilet, the rain would come in. Not fun. 


With the cost of the two tours burning a hole in my pocket, on my last day, I decided on my last day in town, to do a tour of the local area by myself. It turned out the local area, had a lot to see. But it was pretty scary just walking off into wilds on my own. 


I walked around for around 5 hours, which is amazing, however, only 10 minutes from the hostel, I managed to misjudge a jump between some rocks and fell. I landed really badly and hurt my leg. I limped home and got myself patched up. 

 

Leaving town early tomorrow. TTFN

Brazil: Day 10

Today was a big day. Getting in late last night, the host at the hostel pushed a number of the local tours on me. Being pretty tired at the time, I was not in the mood for the sales pitch but I agreed to do tour 1 to get the host off my back. What I great choice this was. Researching online will not bring up a massive amount (in English or otherwise) about the national park. It is a little unknown gem that only those in the know go to. Which is why the town is so small and still beautiful. With little information to be found online, I thought a guide at least for the first day would be a good idea. Luckily the host picked out a company that had guides that speak English, which is no mean feet, as many of the other tour companies didn’t, as I was later to find out. Waking early, I had the hostel’s breakfast and made my way to the bus. Getting on the bus, the guide introduced himself. He was a nice and friendly guide named Daniel. The bus were a nice group of people included families and group couples. It turned out that everyone a part from me spoke Portuguese . But the guide was cool with doing the talky bit twice, once in English for my benefit. I meet a really nice Korean guy named Cho, who spoke really good English ( and 6 other languages to boot) and we became fast friends. 

First stop on the tour was a waterfall. See picture below. What you may notice about the water is that it is brown. This at first seemed very odd, but as daniel explained, it is a feature of the area. The water is stained by organic matter that washes down for the hills. This gives the water the brown colour and makes a natural tea of the water. The colour is harmless and is meant to be really good for your skin if you swim in it. At the first waterfall, we all jumped into the water. WIth some work we all made our way too the falls. It was hard going, but amazing to dunk your head under the water of the falls. 


Next we went to a hill that gave great views of the local area. Daniel explained that these hills were special as they used to be at the bottom of the sea and were made from different levels of bedrock. 


Next we went to a cave, that had some of the most of amazing geological shapes I have ever seen. The guide explained difference between stalagmite and stalactite. That they take 33 years to grow even 1cm. He showed us the shapes that the early man saw in the rock. There was also a family of bats to look at. 


Driving for another 45 minutes, we were taken to a series of pool. The first was a bright blue pool. The guide explained that the blue was an effect that came from sunlight hitting the cave wall and reflecting in the water. Whatever it was looked amazing. 


For the final event of the day, we went cave swimming. This cave was about 700m into the rock and your went with the a snorkel. The swim took around 35 minutes, there and back. It was amazingly quite, with only the sound of your own breating and the light of the waterproof touch your were provided. The battery in my torch keep going out and I was surrounded in darknes, which meant i had to swim in complete darkness. Which made things interesting. 


After all this, I was completely spent and returned to the van to get taken home. On the way back, I saw this lake, not even part of the tour but just stunning and felt truly at peace. Even saw this like monkey on the way back!
An amazing day, one I soon will not forget.