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Published: March 12th 2014
Well after all the horror stories of people being mugged I was witness to a mugging on my bus....or should I more accurate say, there was a mugging that took place but not a single one of us passengers were even aware it took place. 10 mins on the bus and this guy started shouting, to raise the alarm that something he had placed on the overhead shelf had been stolen. Obviously I had no idea what he was saying but it is amazing what body language and facial expressions convey.
2 hours later I was fully aware....as we had 2 policemen check our hand luggage (this reminded me of my Peru search a few years back at least there were no dirty clothes this time just food and electronics) and then we had to wait for the mugged person to complete the police paperwork while we all waited patiently in the bus....my only thoughts were selfishly I am so glad it was not me and oh no this bus journey is now going to take 28 hours rather 26...but another lesson for me guard your possessions at all times.
Another lesson false advertising supposedly "wifi" on bus, however
there was none and in typical fashion I had not taken a note of my hostel address in Porto Alegre just the name of it which would prove useless when trying to get a taxi there...so once I arrived the following evening after walking aimlessly for 2 blocks with my backpack (I can be so dim at times) I decided to head in to a hotel and ask if I could use their wifi so I could get the required hostel details and get in touch with my loved ones to avoid unnecessary worry for them...and yet I can be thoughtful when I want to :-)
The hostel was a bit further out than I expected and a bit of a dive but showers worked and there was wifi, the air conditioning was 2 open windows (as if I needed another 100 mossy bites) and the noise from the street was extremely loud at times (obviously the locals think that fast & furious is the way to drive in the back streets hence the loud break screeching!), good job I can sleep through anything!
The following day I was given instructions from the hostel how to get back
to the bus station using the much cheaper train than buses (now if only scotrail could emulate this novel idea) to get my onward travel arrangements in place before heading off to explore the city. The tourist office supplied me with the city map and with the fatal "it will ONLY take you 10 mins to get to the centre by foot" parting words I was on my way....and yes 3 hours later I did make it to the centre after numerous detours, but hey I am on Brazilian time after all and plenty to see on route...the cloud cover was another unplanned and pleasant start to the day which turned out to be a scortcher after all, nothing like mother nature ensuring my lobster glow is further replenished...at least now the mossy bites are not as obvious on my pale skin!!
Porto Alegre is just another big city with some interesting buildings however there are no beautiful beaches which was an anti-climax for me, as I naively thought this was the Brazilian costa del sol, but as I have come to know through experience everything happens for a reason and one disappointment is quickly followed by a high.
Just like my previous trips I always seem to met interesting fellow travellers and this trip has not been an exception...sometimes people just come into your life for a brief moment but they brighten it up immensely, that is certainly what my 24 year old Peruvian fellow dorm mate and sightseeing companion / Portuguese teacher did.
My second day in Porto Alegre would have been such a let down without him. We walked for miles visited the old and saw a glimse of the new football stadium (Beira Rio) , then had buffet lunch before returning to the centre of town for more walking. He would teach me some words and then watch me mess it up before coming to my rescue, we had such a laugh and everyone we met on route seemed to join in the laughter, what a brilliant day :-)
It was sad saying goodbye at the bus station later that night but it was a good job I had a 12 hour bus journey that night to rest my feet and bit farewell to Brazil a country full of beautiful / fun people, I hope you are ready for what is coming
your way this summer!
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