Doug McLean World Tour 1999-2000
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Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2000 4:17 PM
Subject: Jan. 2 - 5, 2000 - Paraty and Rio

Current Date and Location: Wednesday, January 26, 2000. In Florianopolis, Brazil (Ihla Santa Catarina).

Current Itinerary: Depart Thursday night for Sao Paulo...will arrive Friday morning into Sao Paulo...and connect to Rio...will probably arrive in Rio around 1700 or 1800 to visit my friend Gabriela for the weekend. Then, I will probably go up towards Minas Gerias and Brazillia.

JOURNAL:

Jan 2, 2000 (Sun):
Woke in Rio to even more rain...hrumph...went with the gang to breakfast/lunch around 11am...Andrea and I decided that it would be good to depart Rio and take a short trip to Paraty (a colonial city along the coast, about 3 hours from Rio)...so we bid the group good bye and went to the Rodoviaria (bus station)...we bought our tickets...and then I PANICKED!!!

I realized that I had forgotten my moneybelt in the secret hiding spot in the hotel (not trusting anyone or anything, I had found a wonderfully ingenious hiding spot in the room behind a cabinet...it was such a good spot that I had forgotten to get my moneybelt before leaving! ...so much for good ideas!)...but a quick taxi ride later I was reunited with it, all my money, passport, and other papers intact...whew! We departed on the 2pm bus and arrived into Paraty around 6pm...still raining.

We were going to take a taxi into town which we read was 2km from the bus station...but the taxi driver quoted us 10 Reals (6 dollars)...we knew that was highway-robbery because it was raining!!! And at this point, Andrea did something that showed me something about her true character...she said, what
the heck, let's walk!!! Now, I know that this does not seem like much...but she had been feeling sick...walking into town in the rain was a potentially draining experience...but she was game! An admirable trait of someone who truly is wanting to experience something from their travels...and does not
always take the easy way out! I have a belief that it is not the big things that show one's character...but rather the little things...how one treats animals, other people, one's possessions, how someone acts when they think they are unwatched, ...it all shows one's character...and I really believe that the test of someone's character is truly under adversity. Maybe this is one of the reasons that I travel...to test my character under adversity...the road often offers it's various tests through problems and adverse situations. Anyway, I learned a lot about my travelling companion this day when we departed the shelter of the bus station and walked in the pouring rain into an unknown town, in a land far-far away from our
comfort-zones...

Well, as often happens...lemons turn into lemonade...the town proved to be closer than we had thought, and we eventually settled on a lovely pousada (hotel) that was some 200 meters from the bus station...we sprang for Air conditioning...oh well...this is living the high life...40 Reals for the room for the night...

Walked around the quaint city in the rain...it is a truly beautiful town with lovely white painted stucco houses that have brightly painted doorways and entrances...the streets are large cobblestones that make walking difficult (especially when they are being navigated in the rain, and they are slippery wet)...the center of the town is pedestrian only which adds to the charm of the place...

We ended up having dinner in a blues bar (in Brazil???)...They had a live band that played old blues tunes from America...can't escape the culture sometimes...it was truly a nice experience...I enjoyed the evening. As we were leaving, we were hit with a big cover charge which was mentioned on the
menu, but we had not noticed...it was all above board, but unexpected...it seemed like alot 15 Reals...but I had enjoyed the band and they have to make a living as well...cést la vie...

We walked a little more around the town in then rain, and then crashed...or rather, I did...Andrea had taken a turn for the worse...she felt like absolute hell and was in the bathroom most of the night...poor girl...she had been very careful about what she had eaten on most of her trip, and she was being sick for the majority...I had eaten exactly the same things...and I was fine...don't know why exactly...anyway, I felt sorry for her...but not much I could do. One of the downsides for Andrea is that she is actually a nurse, so she had gotten some various drugs and was taking them...but they weren't really helping...you know what they say...doctors and nurses make the worst patients...I don't know about that, but she sure was getting the worst of it this night...
 

Jan 3, 2000 (Mon):
Still Raining...the room included a great breakfast with wonderful coconut bread...now, I have to admit, I love Coconuts!!! ...and here in Brazil, you can get fresh coconut milk on every corner (whacked open with a machete and given to you with a straw...it is awesome!) ...anyway, these folks know how to use coconuts with everything! The coconut bread this morning at breakfast (Cafe da manha) was some of the best bread I have ever tasted in my life!!! I just couldn't get enough of the stuff!!! I probably ate a pound of it...it was perfect!

Anyway...spent most of the day in the room...it was still raining outside, and Andrea was absolutely wiped out from being nauseated all night...walked around some...shopped a little...but basically, Andrea was trying to recover from what ever was going after her system. Another absolutely sleepless night for her...

Jan 4, 2000 (Tue)
Woke in Paraty...had another great breakfast of fruits and bread (unfortunately, no coconut bread this morning...darned!!!). The rain continued...Andrea and I caught the 9am bus back to Rio...arrived about
2pm...I called the hostel and booked us in.

Took bus to hostel...checked in...dropped stuff and went to go see the Corcovado...Andrea was starting to feel somewhat better, and we had to go see the Corcovado (Christ Statue that overlooks all of Rio...one of the trademarks of Rio...an absolute tourist MUST SEE to say you have been to Rio!). The train ride up the steep mountain was pretty cool (cost $10 USD) and we had a fairly nice day (cloudy, but visibility was good)...the statue always lives up to it's billing and it was spectacular...and the views of the city are awe-inspiring!

Dinner at McDonalds (because Andrea was still sick and wanted soul food)...and went to night market in Copacabana...walked along and looked at various things in the market...Andrea and I both bought coconut necklaces (sounds funky...but they are just normal choker necklaces made out of
rounded bits of coconuts...and as we have established, I love coconuts). Sat near beach and watched kids playing...they would run and jump off the elevated sidewalk and hurl themselves as far into the deep powdery white sand as possible...black, white, and mulatto kids all playing and having fun together...with no cares in the world...it was lovely to see...what a life!

We returned to the hostel and met lots of folks in the TV room...I was excited to hear about some soccer matches at Maracana Stadium on the 6th of January...and quickly set about to go to the games...2 games for the price of 1 ticket (ahhhh...this spoke to my Scottish soul!).
 

Jan 5, 2000 (Wed):

At breakfast, I started spreading the word that I would be going to buy tickets tomorrow for the games at Maracana...many people seemed interested...and it looked like I would have a large group going...I told
people if they were interested to give me their money at breakfast tomorrow and I would go get tickets (10 or 15 Reals each...going to 2 games for less than $10 USD...cool, eh?).

Andrea and I were finally blessed with a bright sunny day in Rio!!! We headed to Pao de Azucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain...another trademark of Rio....if you haven't been to Pao de Azucar, you haven't been to Rio!) (NOTE: Before you travellers try to pronnounce Pao de Azucar in your best attemt at Portuguese...be sure to get a Brazillian to say it first...if mispronounced, it sounds very bad and all the Brazillians will laugh at you...really)...took the tram up...wonderful views of the city and the domestic airport...

We went from Pao de Azucar to Ipanema Beach (by way of McDonalds for lunch...more soul food for Andrea who was feeling pretty good at this point and was not wanting to take any chances)...lazed in the sun for hours...Andrea wrote some postcards...we went back to the hostel, grabbed her backpack...took 2 busses to the International Airport...found that codeshared flights suck!!! First went to American Airlines...only to find that her flight was a TAM codeshare and that TAM left from the other terminal...went to TAM (which was only about a 20 kilometer walk (slight exaggeration))...waited in line for a while...Andrea finally got through the line and was given the opportunity to pay the exit fee from Brazil...$36!!! Well, Andrea paid $36 US dollars to exit the country, but she went absolutely ballistic about the whole thing! I agree it is a lot to pay just to have the honor of leaving the country...but cést la vie...not much you can do to change it from here. Anyway...she ate more McDonalds food before
her long flight to the USA...we hugged goodbye and she went through security and back to the USA.

I had enjoyed travelling with Andrea...I had actually not known her very well before this trip...I guess we had both taken a chance on the other...when you travel together for 10 days, you end up finding out the
good and bad quirks about a person...and since neither of us had really known the other very well, it was truly an experiment. I had a good time while she was here...but also felt sorry that much of her trip had been marred by her sickness. I was sorry when she left.

I took the buses back to the hostel...a group was going out to get some drinks...we all went out for a little bit...and then back to the hostel
late.

Doug
Texas Nomad