Thursday 31 March 2016

Watercolors Of Brazil X

I opened the window hoping for some sunshine. Alas, it was still chucking it down.
"Never mind"; I thought to myself..."I'm still going to the beach. I came here for a tropical holiday and damn me if I'm gonna be stopped by insignificant events such as this torrential downpour."
By the time I was beach ready (sun protection, Havaianas, bikini, sunglasses and other beach paraphernalia), the rain stopped and the sun decided to come out after all.
I decided to take the local bus to the Trindade beach which was a few km away from the one I was staying on. The German joined in.
The bus turned out to be a rollercoaster ride from hell. The driver clearly thought he was on par or possibly above Ayrton Senna, the legendary racing car driver. He was accelerating and overtaking every which way and all of that whilst on the curvaceous, steep, narrow country roads.
The German turned pale.
There was nothing to it, but distract her: "Say, would you call this a jungle?", I asked a stupid question pointing my arms in the general direction of the jungle stretching everywhere around us.
 She looked momentarily confused before answering: "Most definitely."
"I bet it's full of monkeys, anacondas, jaguars and tiny teeny frogs.", I continued.
The German started looking even more pale, but luckily we have reached our stop and tumbled out onto the pristine, picture perfect beach...all white sand and blue ocean.
"This is heaven"; I thought.
We spent a whole day there and headed back to our beach at dinnertime.
The bus back was more crowded than I thought humanly possible. People were sitting on driver's dashboard, exits, stairs and every single inch of space was filled with heaving throng of people.
"They clearly haven't heard of any health and safety rules. This whole line would get shut down immediately in England."
With that thought I squeezed in the tiny bit of space still left on the dashboard and hoped for the best.
I wore:
Bikini: Vix (similar )
Shorts: FCUK (similar )
Sunglasses: Whistles (similar )
Headband: Accessorize (similar )

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Watercolors Of Brazil IX

The torrential rain that greeted me upon my arrival to Paraty showed no sign of stopping.
Still, I was on holiday, it was carnival (Still! Carnival in Brazil lasts for a week or so.) and I wasn't just going to sit around in my hotel.
I phoned the German girl I met on the coach: "Shall we go to the beach?"
"But it's raining!"
"Yeah, but it's still kinda hot."
"OK then".

We decided to meet by the pharmacy on the main square.
"I have a problem.", the German announced the minute I arrived.
"What kind of problem?
"Erm...diarrhoea. Could you help me buy the tablets? I thought since you speak Portuguese..."
As we entered the pharmacy I tried explaining the problem to the lady behind the counter: "Do you have anything against...erm....erm...going to toilet?"
The pharmacist looked at me blankly.
"You know...problems with toilet."; I said again and motioned in the general direction of my arse.
Another blank stare.
By this time a queue was forming behind us.
"Problems! TOILET!"; I said a bit louder.
"DIARRHEA!!! DIARRHEA!!! I need tablets for diarrhea!!!"; shouted the German losing all the patience.
"Eek...what are you doing? I tried to put it delicately so that not every soul in the pharmacy becomes familiar with your problem."; I looked at the German horrified.
"Well she understood 'diarrhea', didn't she? Besides, I don't even care anymore. I just want it gone."; she said.
And with that we strolled towards the beach.
Since Carnival was still happening, we decided that we should certainly pay a visit to a street party later on. There'll be music, dancing, debauchery, drinking and...rain, by the looks of it.

We dressed up to the nines, bought some cheap raincoats to cover our finery and hopefully keep us dry and headed towards the nearest music source.
There was a girl dressed just in a tiny, teeny bikini dancing barefoot to the deafening rhythms of samba drums. All luscious hair and glistening coffee skin, not caring for the crazy rain nor the crowd that gathered around her.
I looked around me. The Brazilians were doing a brisk business of selling the flimsy, crappy, made in China raincoats to all the foreigners.
"Looks, foreigners are the only ones wearing these raincoats.", I motioned to the German. "Brazilians are just getting soaked and they don't care."
"Hmmm...and these raincoats are shit anyway. It's not like they're really keeping us dry, is it?", said the German.
We took the raincoats off and immediately got drenched. Our clothes were wet, our hair was wet, the make up melted and run down our faces.
And not a single f**k was given.

Later on in the evening, the German nudged me:"Look, how come Brazilian girls still have their make up on? And not just that, but it's flawless."
I looked around, "Ah, but they are Brazilian. Other rules apply."
And with that, I continued dancing.

Saturday 5 March 2016

Watercolors Of Brazil VIII

The coach to Paraty was ready to leave.
"Any minute now, I'll be on my way to a sunny, beachy paradise."; I thought to myself.
But no.
I continued sitting in my seat for another half an hour thinking there's no reason for panic. After all, this is Brazil. They do things in their own time and never mind the timetable.
In the next few minutes, however,  everyone got ordered off the coach.
"Off, off!!"; yelled the officials.
I knew then that maybe I should panic after all.

Everyone got off the coach mumbling and grumbling.
In the general chaos I spotted a blonde head of hair. She also spotted me.
"Do you speak ze English?"; she asked. She was German.
"Yes, bruv.", I answered nonchalantly.
"Do you know what's going on?", she continued.
"No, but I will find out."
I scanned for the nearest official and strode over determinedly.
"What's going on?"
"The battery of the coach is not working. We're waiting for a different coach.", the official said.
"And how long is that gonna take?"
"Only God knows", she shrugged.
Frankly, the most baffling thing to me was that the coach had a battery.
It was also clear that this was going to be a long wait. I better make friends with the German.
 In the next 5 hours, the German and I visited all the shops inside the coach terminal multiple times, ate several ice creams and quite a few sandwiches and told each other our respective life stories.
Finally it was time to board again.
"In you go, in you go!!", yelled the officials.
"But wait...this is the same coach.", I looked at the official quizzically.
"Yes, yes!!!", she tried to wave me off.
"What happened to the new coach?"
"It's not coming."
"So do you have the new battery for this coach?"
"No, we tried to fix the old battery."
"So, you fixed it?"
"Sort of. Good luck. Hahahahaha If you make it. Hahahahahaha"
And with that the official saw us off.
The German had a look of sheer panic on her face: "What does she mean if we make it? This would NEVER happen in Germany. "
I wanted to tell her that this would never happen in the UK either, but then I though better of it and shut my gob.

As soon as we boarded the coach the second time, the sky opened and torrential, tropical rain rushed out of the clouds.
I got comfortable in my seat and readied myself for a good snooze session.
The Brazilian men behind me had other ideas, however and started chattering to one another at extremely high volume and at the speed of Duracell bunnies.
"This can't be f***ing happening!!! I can kiss my sleep goodbye.", I thought. "Still, I can look at the scenery if nothing else."
We were driving through lush rainforest and sleepy villages. All the while the rain was relentless.

Suddenly, the coach came to a halt.
"The BATTERY!!!", I jumped up in my seat thinking the haphazardly fixed battery finally gave way.
Alas, we were stuck in the traffic jam. IN THE JUNGLE!!!!
"Is this even a thing? A jungle traffic jam? I've truly seen it all now.", I resigned myself to the fact that I will get to Paraty around midnight the way things were going.
If I get there at all, that is.
 Eventually, running about 7 hours behind schedule, we made it to Paraty.
It was raining so hard that it looked like entire town was doing an ice bucket challenge. Streets were rivers and taxis were nowhere to be seen.
The German muttered to herself yet again that this would never happen in Germany.
Eventually, a taxi arrived.
"I will take the German to her hotel, but I won't take you!", the taxi driver pointed in my direction.
"What? Why?". Perhaps he didn't like the look of me? Or maybe I stunk?
"Your hotel is just 5 minutes walk away."
"But it's chucking it down. And I have luggage.", I motioned towards my already soaked bag.
"I'll pay you double!"
"Don't you want my money???", I was desperate.
And with that, he took the German and speeded away.
"Fuck! What now?", there was no way I could have walked as the rain was the worst I have ever seen in my existence. Plus, there were no streets, just rivers.
"Perhaps a boat will come along.", I tried to comfort myself.
It was dark, it was late and I was sitting in a small Brazilian town's bus station waiting for some sort of rescue while the rain of Biblical proportion was hammering everything in its way.

After about half an hour, another taxi came.
"Senhor, senhor!!!! Please! I know my hotel is just around the corner, but please take me. I'll pay triple!!!!", I started waving frantically.
"Triple??? But it's just around the corner.", he looked at me incredulously.
"Just take the money and drive!"
I pushed some crumpled up notes towards him, opened the door and, before he could protest, sat in his taxi and refused to budge.
It worked.
Shortly afterwards, I was standing at the door of my hotel...

I wore:
Bikini: Vix (top)

Friday 5 February 2016

Watercolors Of Brazil VII

"I need to go to the beach", I announced to my husband.
"We've been.", said he, undoubtedly thinking of  the very inadequate beaches of Santos.
"PROPER beach!!!", I quipped: "I'm off to Paraty. You're coming with."
"I can't.", protested Husband.
"Suit yourself. I'm going."
 Buying the tickets to Paraty online proved to be a challenge to say the least so I trekked across the city to buy them in person. 
"1 ticket to Paraty", I demanded.
"Single?", asked the ticket dude.
I pondered for a bit. It would be nice to stay in paradise forever. Then again, my cats would miss me.
"No, return.", I answered and handed over R$58.  That's 10 quid to you and me.
The process of buying the ticket and choosing the seat took around 25 minutes.  
If that was England, a queue that formed behind me would be orderly, but silently and inwardly raging. 
 The bus ticket said "CONV". I took that to mean no air con which in turn means it will be boiling hot inside. I dressed accordingly which meant not many clothes and certainly no layers. 
Alas, somehow, in Brazilian wisdom, "CONV" meant executive class and air con was set on Antarctica so Brazilians can enjoy the sensation of wearing thermal sweaters in the bus.
 Boarding the bus was a formal affair. Like checking in and boarding the plane, but MORE formal. Intercity Brazilian travel was clearly serious business.
Just before the bus arrives, several uniformed functionaries show up at the gate, set up an official  looking speaker podium, painstakingly check all the tickets and documents, ask for a signature (here, here and here), check all the bags and other important business.
The bus itself was lovely. Better than anything we have in Europe. Big and comfortable seats that recline almost completely horizontal and plenty of room. Which is just as well as the journey turned out to be a journey from hell...
Yes, I'm aware I have been absent from the blog for quite a while and that I'm just picking up where I left off. However, Brazil photos and stories are too good not to share. Once I finish that I will explain myself. :)

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