So I made it from the golden sands of Ilha Grande to the portuguese colonial town of Paraty which was founded in 1667 in an area populated by Guaianás Indians. It still has many hand-made crafts and beautiful buildings and cobbled streets. Cobbled streets are great except when you are moving hostels or drunk ( I managed both). The Guaianás people who lived where the city now stands called the entire area “Paraty”. In the Tupi language “Paraty” means “river of fish”…..this has a very different meaning to me as I will come on to explain later. It is the most southernmost and westernmost city in Rio de Janeiro state and was the export port for the gold found in the mountains of Minas Gerais. I certainly had not struck gold having realised that I had left my boxers in Ilha Grande. So much for clean underwear! The pirates had different ideas though and would storm the boats and raid the gold. A fort was created to protect the town but the town was slowly cut off after new safer routes were built to move the gold and all good things must come to and end….the gold ran out (18th Century). Today Paraty is a holiday destination for some south americans taking in the sea, islands, waterfalls and forests. We hit the holiday weekend as it was Kids day on Monday also a saints holiday (think it was Mary but who knows!). It did mean I couldn´t get a bus on Monday so had to leave on Tuesday afternoon for Sao Paulo. Getting buses in Brazil is a nightmare as you can´t book on-line if you are not Brazilian so have to go to the bus station to book and take your passport. As I am writing this I am having the same issue with my 15 hour bus to Foz Iguazu.
I have been really lucky meeting up with such great people. I stayed in Paraty Beach hostel with friends I had made in Rio and we later met up with a Dutch couple (Tim and Caroline) who lent us their frisby in Ilha Grande. The weather was great so Saturday was an all day boat trip (12 GBP) from 11-5pm and included as many caipirinha as you can drink…..and we had many. We jumped of the boat into the sea doing back flips and belly flops. We snorkled saw amazing fish and a turtles and monkeys. It was a great day and we were got on like a house on fire and ate delicious crab stew for lunch. Works out that another couple on our boat are getting married in Coughton and Tim (different one) used to go into the Holly Bush in Alcester and remembers my friend and old housemate Laura. Of all the days and places in the world……it really is a small world….what are the chances? Anyway we were pretty drunk and think we went out for some more drinks…I can´t be sure!
Sunday we took a trip to the local waterfalls after I had tried twice to get a bus ticket. The falls are a local attractions due to the smooth moss laden surface which is perfect for sliding down on your bum or standing and jumping over 3 kids on the rocks whilst skipping with a cane if you are a pro. It was incredible fun and whilst from the bottom of the falls it doesn´t look that bad, from the top it is terrifying. Once we plucked up the courage we all had a go and loved it….except loosing the gopro and having to try to find it whilst dodging the falling bodies from the waterfall. We searched but couldn´t find it. Despite my ice skating skills I was also incredibly poor at getting up the rocks to the top of the waterfall. I manage to slide down and push a women who was relaxing at the bottom of the falls into the water, my legs pretty much wrapped around her neck. It is all about the recovery right? Things lost to date:
1 phone (not mine), 1 pair of prescription sunglasses, one gopro and my boxer shorts. Ohh and our shopping that somebody stole from the hostel. To be fair we didn’t put our name on it.
We then had lunch which was a (delicious) fish stew which several hours later a seemed to squeeze out of most orophices. fortunately it only lasted a few hours but the name Paraty (sea of fish) came to mind as I had my head in the toilet bowl shouting for Europe.
Monday was a chilled day and we looked around the town and walked up to the fort where we were warned of the dangerous oysters (we have no idea what it was meant to say). We ignored it!
We went into a cachaca (spirit made from sugarcane) shop as Paraty has a distillery which we didn´t visit but thought it rude not to try its wares. We had some samples and then bought some for the evening. There are over 1700 different Cachacas….we tried 3 I think! I have to say that Capri Gabriela is a favourite of mine (notes of clove, cinnamon and ginger) mixed with passionfruit…delicious. We then headed out for our last meal together before we went our separate ways. We opted for Turkish wraps as we had already gorged ourselves on pay per kilo buffet. Tim (Dutch) told us stories of having Christmas with a serial killer and we exchanged stories of our travels and cultures…..so we went out for a few more goodbye Capris.
Today was a 7 hours journey to Sao Paulo through some beautiful forested mountains. I only have one night here as planning to get a night bus tomorrow to Iguacu falls. My bus will leave at 7.30pm and arrive at 11am the following day. At least I can sleep and save a days accommodation. Sao Paulo is Megatropolis of a city which I think you would need to spend a week in to get to grips with. As I don´t have much desire I am getting a free walking tour of the old town and then getting back on the road.
Argentina……I can almost smell you…