Monday, June 17, 2013

Motorbike ride to Rio Das Ostras - the start of our journey to explore more of Brazil. Couchsurfing

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We have been house-sitting the last few weeks just north of Rio de Janeiro.
I had expected to stay the full two months, but the situation changed, 
and it was more remote than we anticipated, along with no-one in town speaking English.  
The result was loneliness for me, and a good rest for my son.  
That, and catching up on all his “school work”.  
This was mainly because we were dragging books around, and they were too heavy. 
So he had a goal to finish them all. 
The prize – Minecraft on my computer (yikes what was I thinking?).

So, we decided to go and see the towns nearby.  
We had heard good things, though overall it was hard to find what was worth seeing – 
- there seemed a general lack of information – that, 
and the fact they declare it to be a Brazilian ‘Winter’ here.

So when the invitation came to stay with a Mum, who had a 9 year old son, 
and they spoke some English, we decided to go for it.

We were fortunate to be able to store the main bags we had. 
I went to the local grocery store and selected a plastic fruit crate.  
Then, with a steak knife, I carved bits out so it fitted snuggly around the seat of the 50CC motorcycle.
A few stretch straps later, and we had a very local looking bike. 
  It helps not to stand out.

So on the Monday morning, I loaded up 2 backpacks, a little bit of food and water, 
some spare fuel, and secured it all firmly.  
We were limited in what we could bring, and having only hand washed for the last 5 weeks, 
we selected a mix of “going out” and “throw out” clothes.
By 8.30 a.m. we had commenced our journey.  
First stop was to check the pressure on the tyres.  
Then we rode along a back ocean road.  
After about 3 hours, I ached.

We were only doing a maximum of 40 kph, and often less.  
The route I had selected was to avoid the highway.

We got a little lost in one town, but were pointed in the right direction.  
Brazil uses route numbers for their roads – a lot like USA. 
But they don’t display them as signs.
So this caused some confusion.  
About 4 times we asked directions. 

Finally, we came to a road that travelled between the lakes (there is a row of lakes) and the sea.  
The cross winds were quite strong.  
Most of the scenery was boring.  
Not what I anticipated.  
I felt frustrated as to date we hadn’t seen a lot of the ‘wonder’ of Brazil.

We stopped off in a little town for a ‘bum break’.  
Some juice and crackers went down well, and a walk around.  
Fortunately there was an unlocked bathroom, so that came in handy.

Hitting the road again, we then passed what looked to be salt lakes or fish farming.  
There was some lovely pink flamingos, and that was great to see in the wild.

We were both quite excited.
Sand dunes seemed to sculpt themselves on one side for many a mile.
Then we saw a traditional Brazilian plantation home.

We then found we had missed having a rest in a pretty town with a river, 
so shortly after we found an open church yard. 
There was shade and a place to rest.
So a little more food and juice, 
and again we were able to use the bathrooms.

Soon after we hit the touristic towns.

We filled up with gasoline ($3.50 US filled the tank) and stopped at the information centre. 
We were armed with maps and information, and we had a little ride around.

By now it was 3 p.m.
We only had to be in Rio Das Ostras at 5 p.m.  
I had read about a small town that has some historical homes, 
so decided we would have afternoon tea there.

We found a lovely old church on the corner of the river and the sea.

Along the side was a small restaurant.  
The owner spoke English, and was a lovely guy. 
We had a drink, and my son enjoyed an ice-cream.  
Jorge, the owner wanted to give me a gift of his café’s t-shirt, 
and so we promised to return at the end of the week.

It was a nice break, and we were already feeling this area had interesting places to explore.

We arrived at our host’s home pretty much spot of 5 p.m.  
Her very young Mum was there to greet us.  
I was confused as to who she was.  
I thought her mother had left (I knew she had stayed the previous week).  
Then a cleaner appeared.  
The people we were staying with and I had only communicated by computer, 
so I was trying to remember her face.  
I couldn’t speak Portuguese.  
I was hot; a little sun-burnt; tired; dusty; smelly (well so I thought) and generally flustered.

Soon our host came home.  
She had her son with her. 
The boys hit it off straight away.
We could speak.  
I had a shower. 
I unpacked.  
It all felt good.  
We sat and talked around snacks and an evening meal.  
It was a lovely start to our time in Rio Das Ostras.

In Summary – we went approx 200 km. 
Fuel cost was approx. $7 US or a little less.
The motorbike had cost me $2000 US approx. which included the cost of the 2 helmets, 
the first service, and a lock.  
Over 60 days this works out at $33 a day – not bad.  
And that is if I don’t even sell it at the end – which I am sure I will.  
If I sell it for only $1000, then it has cost us about $18 a day to be independent.  
Quite a good idea for those of you travelling around South America. 
Also note; in Brazil a motorbike 50CC or less need not be registered – so now paperwork hassles.

I am so thankful for the open home and wonderful people we are staying with.
Such lovely people!

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