Thursday, July 4, 2013

Paraty, Brazil – the Venice of South America – a must see town

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Many people over the last few weeks have told us abut Paraty, Brazil.
It is a well preserved historic town.
No vehicles may enter the main historic area.
So it is walking, push trolley carts, or horses only.
It was designed so the sea wall lets in water at high tide.
This floods and washes the streets.
So you will find mud crabs – and need to take care when walking in streets closer to the water – especially with open toed shoes.

We arrived at dark.
The biggest obstacle is getting your bags from the bus to the hostel / hotel.
At first the roads are brick.
But they soon turn to cobblestones – and mud.
Not a good mix for a single Mum with a child who is only 8 years old.

Fortunately our Couch-surfing friend came to help us.  
He carried the heaviest one.
However our bags are ripped.
It was just hard work!
We did our best – but it was a far walk, and consequently the luggage suffered.
So if you come here – get a taxi – which are grossly overpriced ($10 US or R$20) 
for a few blocks.
Another option is to get a Posada near the bus terminal.

But our friend knew the owner of the hostel we went to.  
Central Hostel. 
We were the only guests the first night.
So we selected the less expensive option of a dorm room – 
- as we just had a big room to ourselves.
This proved to be the case for all three nights.
Our friend showed us all around town – I tell you he should be in tourism -
– friendly, helpful and patient – thanks Joao!

The next day we were up a bit late. 
It started well.
We got to taste the traditional South American tea.

We wandered the streets, and then same horse and carriage rides.
So we negotiated a price and off we went.
The town has many churches, and we had a great ride.
Not as grand, but longer and less expensive with more to see than New York Central Park.

We then wandered past churches, into the stores, art galleries and tourist businesses.

I love the detail on the street signs and buildings.

We were going to take a boat ride around the shore, 
but decided we had to watch our budget.
We were really fortunate too.

We got to see the tide coming in!
We actually thought the streets would flood, and decided to come back later, 
but we were wrong.

We wandered past the original slave home, where the poor Africans were whipped.
A sad part of the history.

Next stop was for some indigenous wares.
My son bought a mini bow and arrow.

We really enjoyed how the bridge and coloured boats were so pretty.

We shopped at a quaint corner store, and bought goodies to make a nice lunch.
However the gas and microwave were so slow at the hostel, it was a bit “B” Grade.
A race back before the rain!

We also examined prints and photos and my son practiced setting up a few shots.
I think he did well for an 8 year old.
He corps, adjusts the colour and sets the poses.

Here is my favourite Rua.
The coloured doorways set it off well.

That afternoon we stayed in and headed out for dinner.
We met some great Australians and a Danish gentleman on tour, 
and we ended up sharing dinner with them.
Then, my son went to an ice-cream store where you could self serve from about 50 flavours. 
It was a good price too.
We joined the Danish guy and one of the Australians for a night cap.
However part way through my one and only Cachaça drink I did not feel so good.
I barely made it back to the hostel.
Then I was sick.  
Really sick – all night.
I was fortunate the staff were so lovely.
They bought me tablets and tea.  
They fed my son, and I tried to sleep.

It was a rough 24 hours.
I was glad I had some basic food my son could eat, but others gave him food too.
I think one of the toughest things as a single parent is when you are sick.
Whether you are in the surrounds of your own home, or travelling – it is hard.
But I think travelling is harder.
Being in a dormitory – away from a private bathroom was no fun either.
But I made it through.

Next day the hostel was full – FLIP festival (Literature) was on and we had to leave.
I have not planned the next step of our journey.
The weather down south is cold and wet.
Iguazu Falls we are told has been closed for days, because of excess water –
-  25 times the normal flow.
The cities have demonstrations because of the FIFA financial corruption.
Hmmmm – stay tuned for where we end up.
This will be interesting, and is the first time ever on this trip I am so unplanned.

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