The wheels on the bus go round and round… or not.
The drivers in Brasil don’t seem to remember that when they are driving a bus, they have passengers on board. Each of our trips so far has been a little rough on the corners and the braking. We caught an executive coach for the four and a half hour trip to Paraty. That meant that we had reclining seats with full leg rests for a few more dollars and at a more convenient time than 8am. The bus was about 25 minutes late, which was to be expected – Brasil runs on it’s own time but all was good, we were on the road.
About two hours into the trip and a quick lunch/servo stop later, we pulled up on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. We’d noticed so far on the bus trips that this wasn’t unusual as people get picked up and dropped off in random places and not just at bus stations. When we stopped, the driver said something, which neither of us understood, but we did manage to catch that we would be waiting for 15 minutes or so. After the 15 minutes or so of waiting in the bus with no air-con, people started hopping off. We caught a fellow passenger’s phone conversation and worked out that the bus had broken down and there was another one coming (which was supposed to be 15 minutes away, but we are working on Brasilian time here). Almost two hours later, sitting on the side of the road, sans toilets and water, the new bus shows up! We’re on the road again, travelling through some cute little beach towns and their traffic jams – at one point it took 45minutes to travel two kilometres adjacent to the beach, because everyone was leaving for the day and crossing the road.
After the eight hours (for the four and a half bus trip) we arrived! HOORAY!! The bus station was walking distance to our hostel, in what seemed like a pretty shady area in the dark but we made it. The roads in Paraty are stone and not smooth at all, they give the village so much character. The buildings are whitewashed and no more than two storeys at most, rimmed with blue guttering. Walking through the main part of town at night was busy and just beautiful; so completely different to anything we’d ever seen. We made our way to a per kilo restaurant for dinner – it is so easy to have a cheap and healthy meal at these kinds of places. There are a few specialty dishes like feijoada (black beans and bacon bones), and farofa (toasted cassava flour), but then there are veggies! You go and load up your plate and then pay for however much it weighs, we’ve been to a couple of these so far and can easily get dinner for both of us for about $15-$20aud. We also stopped in for a few cheap caipirinhas along the way at a little bar on the side of the road – they had strawberry, pineapple and passionfruit ones!
Saturday morning we made our way to the supermarket, together (apparently we didn’t learn the first time!). Fortunately it was time to put our “cooking on a budget” skills to the test as we stayed in one of the few hostels for our trip that didn’t include breakfast. We were finally able to put in our clothes for washing – of course on this trip so far I’ve been fine with clothing and not had too many issues of running out, James on the other hand didn’t seem to bring enough and has kept running out of underwear and shirts – not a great thing when needing to go out for a day!
We spent the rest of Sunday exploring the little shops and sights around the town. After the non-stop walking, food and fun of the last week or so it was nice to have a bit of downtime and no particular plans. Most of the day was spent people watching, having a caipirinha or two and organising a tour to do on Sunday. On our way around we walked to the pier to check out which boat tour we needed to be on the next day, there were at least 100 different sized boats and a 1000 people on this tiny, little pier. We eventually found the right boat and it was completely jam-packed! There was no space at all on it, leading to a little concern that we may have wasted our money for our cruise around the following day. The guy at the pier assured us that it was going to be much, much quieter Sunday and that there was nothing to worry about. The rest of the afternoon was spent looking around in Paraty and the amazing streets and buildings.
Waking up to a barely dribbling cold shower Sunday morning wasn’t amazing, but who cares? We’re going on a boat! We got our bits and pieces together and headed on down to the pier, what a difference to the day before! We had twenty people on this giant boat (120 the day before), and all of the space we wanted. We were greeted by the photographer/translator, Paula, who explained our trip for the day: a tour around a few beaches in perfect weather. It was beautiful! Sometimes we forget how lucky we are in Australia to have the kinds of snorkelling and beaches we do, especially in the Great Barrier Reef – we are so spoiled! The beaches here are stunning and there is the opportunity for snorkelling but it’s nothing on what we have at home, still pretty gorgeous though. The day was filled with relaxation and sunshine, a nice way to spend Easter. (The link at the bottom of this post has all of the photos from the boat on the day, there are far too many to put in but please go and have a look!).
Walking back from the pier, after enjoying every bit of sunshine and paradise offered on the boat, we headed back into town. The stone road we had walked along in the morning was now covered with the incoming tide, giving us a completely different outlook to the morning. We stayed in at the hostel for the evening, having a fairly chilled night playing cards and cooking our own dinner.
Monday came time for us to journey onwards to Ilha Grande, it’s so hard to leave this little bit of paradise but there’s always an excuse to come back next time.
Go see all the photos from Paraty