Published: April 3rd 2012February 21st 2012
Our exit from Rio was about as hectic as our entire stay. Kika was gracious enough to drive us to the bus terminal in Barra that would transfer us to the long distance bus terminal. This drive, which normally takes 10 minutes, took us an hour. Now that Carnaval was over, everyone went back to work, creating a chaotic mess of traffic. However, following Elianes´s advice, we gave ourselves 4 hours to get to the main terminal, the same time it would take from Rio to Paraty.
The drive down the coast was curvy but beautiful. You could tell there was much more money down on this end of Brazil; all the towns we passed had boat docks with yachts in the water. We arrived to Paraty a half hour later than scheduled, and were supposed to meet Kika´s friend who would find a place for us to stay, since most everything on Hostelworld was already booked. Maybe due to our tardy bus, but her friend never showed. The number Kika gave us never worked, possibly due to the public phone, I don´t know. So, we looked for an internet cafe and found a potential place outside the center. A
tourist agency was able to call for us and secured a spot and even free pickup. As it turns out, the internet in town had been down for a few days so they weren´t able to update availability. The hostel and much of the town had emptied out after Carnaval ended a few days prior. So, with the hostel almost to ourselves, we were shown to our private room with air conditioning. It happened to be in the back of a dorm, in a separate room, sharing the bathroom with the dorm. Fortunately for us, there wasn´t anyone staying in the dorm for the next couple days, so it was all ours. We soon realized why a private was worth the extra money. No, I´m not talking about intimacy, but the fact that privates had air conditioning while dorms only had fans. Being 40 degrees Celsius during the day and low 30´s at night, with a constant 80-90% humidity, keeping our room temperature at 19 degrees meant that we could actually sleep well, rather than attempt to sweat to sleep. This time around, Chloe did not talk about having to stick to our budget, and was content to spend the
extra money for the private room. The kitchen set up to cook dinner was a bit different, since it was outdoors. This was completely fine, as it was hot out and cooking inside could result in a stroke, but the mosquitos were horrendous. Chloe couldn´t quite handle it, but my hunger drove me to perservere the constant swatting and shoeing away the pests. Dinner was delicious, and totally worth it.
The next day the reception told us where the best beach was, a bus ride 45 minutes away. After Rio, this transit was nothing, so we headed to Trinidade. Speeding along the 2 lane highway, and climbing/decending around the tight steep corners to get there gave me a newfound respect for bus drivers. Trinidade was a tiny town with the same tourist stores as everywhere, but the beaches were awesome. To get from one to the next, they had paths that climbed through the forest to drop you down to the next. We found our spot on the second beach, laid our beach sheet down on the scorching sand, and made frequent trips to the water to cool off from the 40+ degree heat. At one point, I decided
to try and scale a boulder that lay between the second and third beach in order to take some pictures of the beautiful beach and water. I guess I haven´t built up calluses on my feet, since jumping down from the hot black granite onto some barnicles cut open my feet in a few places,. The pictures didn´t even turn out that well but whatever. I washed my feet in the saltwater and moved our set up to the shade, as the sun had become unbearable. Before too long, we had had enough heat and beach and headed back to Paraty.
Before going back to the hostel, we wandered around the streets of Paraty. The center was closed to cars, and consisted of big, old cobblestone streets and well maintained colonial architecture. Some stones proved to be a bit inconvenient for Chloe; as she looked around at the buildings and stores, somehow she would find the few protruding loose stones and repeatedly almost tripped herself to the ground. Fortunately our stroll didn´t last too long and we arrived to the main plaza by the church before Chloe hurt herself. Since Paraty is the town from where cachaça originated, I
decided to try an aged shot of a local brand. It tasted somewhat like a bad añejo tequila, strong with a lasting bite to the finish. Chloe tried a mixed cachaça, sweeter and smoother, but equally gross. So, content with tasting pure cachaça, we decided to stick with caipirinhas, enjoying ours to the last drop, as it washed down the lingering taste of the shot. Before we left, we saw a traditional wedding party parade through the street to the church. The bride and groom had the classic flowing wedding dress and tuxedo, but the rest of the party had on Renaissance pirate get ups. I have no idea the reason or significance, but it was good entertainment. We (or rather I), cooked dinner again in mosquito kitchen and rested peacefully in our air conditioned room for the remainder of the night.
Our final day in Paraty we booked a tour on one of the many schooners that sailed the coastline and small islands that dotted the sea. A beautiful boat, with the majority of the primary deck´s bow covered with white pleather cushions and pillows, covered by a canvas canopy to block the sun. The upper deck was
partially covered, and had chairs, tables, and loungers strewn about it. We embarked just after 10:30, and set out to a small island. Sailing along the blue water (figuratively as we used the motor), we passed various islitas, some of which had small hotels on them. We had heard Paraty was a popular honeymoon destination, and staying on one of these little islands would definitely be pretty romantic and secluded, if you could afford it! We dropped anchor off our island destination before too long and were offered snorkel gear. I jumped at the opportunity but was a bit disappointed at the lack of tropical fish in the water. There were several other schooners at the same spot so maybe the fish had been sacred away by the time we arrived. Regardless, it was fun jumping off the boat and swimming around in the warm water. From the island we sailed to three separate secluded beaches, accessible only by boat. Each beach had some sort of development by it, but looked out to a spectacular pristine ocean bordered by forest hillsides. At each of the stops I kept myself busy by diving off the boat to search for unique shells
or sand dollars. Of all the time I spent scowering the ocean floor, I only came up with a pair of keepers, which I planned on making into a necklace for my mermaid girlfriend. After a quality 5 hour tour on the schooner, we arrived back to the Paraty docks. From the docks we walked around the town until the evening, when we mellowed out at our hostel to finish off a fun and gorgeous day.
The next morning we were up early to eat breakfast and walk to the bus station, a half hour away. It was already starting to get hot so we tried hitching a ride through town. Before too long, a lady picked us up and saved our day from beginning too sweaty. We made it early to our bus and by 9 am we were on the road to our next destination, Sao Paulo, a sprawling city of 14 million!!
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