Iguazu / Iguaçu / Iguazú (12 April 2012)

We were rather glad that we booked a flight to Foz do Iguaçu, the city on the Brazillian side of Iguaçu Cataratas (Iguazu Waterfalls), instead of going by bus. We arrived at our hostel between 3 and 4pm. The hostel, Iguazu Guest House,  is a good, clean hostel which we would recommend, except that it may be a bit noisy late at night. We stayed in Foz do Iguaçu for three nights. Although we did not look for a hostel in Puerto Iguazú (the town on the Argentinian side of the falls), it did seem to be a little bit nicer to reside in compared to Foz.The day after our arrival we were on our way to the falls and decided to visit the Argentinian side first, although some people advised us to rather see the Brazilian side first. According to them, the Argentinian side is more impressive and it is best to leave the best for last. Instead of going by taxi, we took the cheaper public transport (bus) across the border. There are two main bus companies doing the trip across the border. The busses drop you off at the Brazilian border control and drive on. Once you managed to get a stamp on your passport, you have to wait for a bus from the same bus company to get to the Argentinian border control. We got tired of waiting and thought it won´t be to far to walk across to the Argentinian side. It turned out to be a more than 3 km hike (our bus company passed us 400 m from the border control).

Hiking in no man´s land, across the border

At the Argentinian side, after getting our passports stamped again, we took a bus from another company so had to pay the fee again. The bus dropped us off at the Puerto Iguazú bus terminal, from where you have to take another local bus to the Iguazú National Park. In total, the journey from our hostel to the entrance of the park took about 2 hours. If you opt for the hassle free option of going with an organised tour (R$50 pp), the journey time is between 30 and 45 minutes, since they wait for you at the border controls. If you want to save money, the bus journey is looonnng, but quite an experience… we had some nice conversations with fellow travellers from Germany, Peru, the United States and Britain.

Waiting for our bus again... at least we had some American/Brittish/German entertainment 🙂

We booked a Gran Adventure boat trip at the park, which includes a sight seeing trip through the forest before getting into the boat. The trip through the forest was interesting, but we thought the extra money we paid didn’t justify the trip. The boat trip on the other hand was a lot of fun. They actually go so close to one of the waterfalls that you’re almost right underneath it. Obviously, the resultant is super soaking wet passengers, especially for us sitting in the first row.

The Gran Adventure. In the bottom right picture you can see why everyone on the boat is soaking wet afterwards...

After the boat trip, we did some of the hiking trails beneath, above and around the numerous waterfalls (they call it the lower and upper circuit routes), and then took the Tren Ecológico de la Selva (Rainforest Ecological Train) up to the biggest waterfall, called Garganta del Diablo (the Devil’s throat), which to me was the highlight of the day (the boat trip was to Cobus the most exciting part of the day). It was an incredible experience standing there at the lookout point watching tons of water tumbling over the edge with the mist rising up to 150 metres. I didn’t want to leave, but we had to catch the last train back to the entrance and return to Foz by bus.

The Argentinian side of the falls

Wildlife spotted: Ring-tailed coati, a giraffe (?!), lizard, antelope and very curious weird bird.

Hundreds of beautiful butterfly species can be seen all over the park.

The following day was a bit cloudy, but we still decided to visit the Brazilian side of the falls. It turned out to be a good decision as we saw a lot of things we didn’t see on the other side, including a panoramic view of the falls, some close up views of other waterfalls, and a wild armidillo (which made Cobus’ day – its one of those things he always wanted to see).

The armadillo!

We were glad we did the Brazilian side second – it was definitely not less impressive than the Argentinian side. It was a nice progression from being close to the waterfalls on the Argentinian side and to then see the grand overview in Brazil. On the Brazilian side there is a walkway along the canyon with an extension to the lower base of the Devil’s Throat. You get soaked by the spray when standing there. Most people put on a rain coat on the Brazilian side of the Devil’s Throat, but we thought it much more fun getting wet!

The Brazilian side of the falls

We also went to the Parque das Aves (Bird Park) next to the Iguaçu National Park. We are not really fond of looking at animals in cages, however, we enjoyed visiting the bird park. Rare and colourful birds are able to fly in huge aviaries which have been built to blend in with the humid subtropical forest. Visitors can enter some of these areas to enjoy the bird even more. The focus of the park is on environmental conservation, to reintroduce species into protected areas, and to promote the breeding of species in danger of extinction. The smaller cages are only used for the purposes of breeding and rehabilitation. We were thrilled watching the Parrots, Macaws and Toucans flying all around us. We were so excited about seeing so many different kinds of Toucans – our childhood days of eating fruitloops only fimiliarised us with one kind!

Different kinds of toucans. Top right: "Koppie krap"

Cobus looses a button

We concluded our day with a “per kilo” buffet dinner at a nearby restaurant. Good value for money… it’s like eating at the Neelsie in Stellenbosch (with some better variety and some better tasting food).

The next day we took up the border challenge again, but this time we were more informed and we even met some bewildered Peruvians who we could guide through the process. At Puerto Iguazu bus station we booked a bus to San Ignacio, a 4 hour journey south.

Smuggling a Peruvian family across the border (hehehe)

Sitting, waiting, wishing ...

One of my prayers is that God will continue to make Himself known to us in unexpected ways and places and in everyday throughout our lives journey. A woman chanting “Cuán grande es Él” in Spanish on our way back from the waterfalls was definitely one such moment which I cherish. I can’t think of a better way to conclude this post than with the (English) lyrics of the amazing song:

O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Refrain:
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee;

How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:

Refrain

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:

Refrain

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!

Refrain

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Rio de Janeiro (8 April 2012)

We arrived in Rio de Janeiro, in the dark and just after 18h on the 8th of April. An English speaking woman (yeah!) at the information desk helped us find the local bus to the Humaita area for our first CouchSurfing experience. Another person on the bus helped us to get off at the correct bus stop, just opposite the building of our hosts, Marcos and Ludmilla. Their home is on the 9th floor of a apartment building next to a very busy (Humaita) street, with a beautiful view of the Corcovado peak and the Christo Redentor statue. At last we found a super clean bathroom and shower with warm water!! It was also great to have our own room after the shared dorm at Che Lagarto. When we unpacked, we realised we forgot Cobus’s towel and my sarong at Ilha Grande, but Ludmilla was kind enough to lend us a towel. After a quick shower, Marcos and Ludmilla took us to a restaurant, called Galeto mania, where they introduced us to the Brazilian cuisine of “little chicken” (galeto) with typical Brazilian side dishes (polenta, farofa, salsa, etc). We also had our first Caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail, made  with cachaça (sugar cane rum), sugar and lime (optionally with other fruit variations). We enjoyed the outing a lot! If not for them, we would probably have ordered burgers and chips from the Portugese menu.

Marcos and Ludmilla at Galeto Mania

Our first night in Rio at "Galeto Mania" with a veeerrry small Christo Redentor in the background. Here they serve small chickens and gigantic beer towers.

Our first full day in Rio started rather late. Cobus and I were still trying to adapt to the new time zone and weather. We also did some admin, laundry, unpacking our bags, try to figure out where we should go and how… At about 12h we went in search of the subway to see if we could find a map of the city. Luckily the subway had a really nice map which we studied the whole day. We realised we were only a couple of blocks away from the famous Copacabana beach, and went in that direction. The information desk at Copacabana had small lonely planet booklets of the city for free which proved to be very helpful during our stay in Rio. Copacabana is a beautiful long outstretched beach with thick white sand and palm trees. Soccer posts, volleyball nets and other exercising stations may be found all along the beach. It seems that most Brazillians are very serious and conscious about their bodies. The high percentage of Brazilians we’ve encountered having a tattoo is also witness to that.

Copacabana, and Cobus in the apartment in Humaita

On our way back we took the subway to Botafoga station near to the Humaita area, and then took a stroll through the city to the apartment. It’s always very interesting to experience a city on foot – one tends to get a better feeling of everyday life compared to just sticking to the tourist hotspots. We stopped by several supermarkets to buy some food supplies for the next couple of days. Just examples of the prices: cheddar cheese = R94 per kg, 250g mushrooms…wait for it…R80…ouch.  Maybe it was a very special kind of mushroom…hmmm, magic mushrooms?? Our plans to go out again was interrupted by some heavy rainfall.  And then after that it was interrupted by Cobus sleeping. Marcos and Ludmilla got home just after 7pm. They took us to Copacabana and Ipanema beach for a drink – always nice to walk on the beach at night!

Marcos and Ludmilla showing us Copacabana and Ipanema beaches at night

Overcast and rainy weather was forecasted for the next day. We decided to leave the Corcovado and Sugarloaf excursions for the following day for which warmer weather and clear skies were expected. We took the subway to Cinelandia and got a bus to Santa Teresa to check out this historic upper class borough. As we didn’t know where to get off, we sat on the bus all the way through Santa Teresa and ended up at the entrance to the Tijuca Forest National Park on Corcovado unexpectedly! The skies were blue for a perfect view from the top and we decided to go see it.

View from the Corcovado mountain and Christo Redentor. See if you can spot "Cobus the viking".

Just as we were leaving the park, the clouds moved in again to obstruct most of the view – again luck was on our side. At the bottom of the hill, we took a long walk to and through the areas called Flamengo to Lapa. On our way we saw two historic palaces and entered the old presidential (Catete) palace, now the Museu da República. The interior decorations of the building is beautiful. Unfortunately we could not understand a lot since everything was in Portugese.

At the edge of Lapa exist a beautiful set of world-famous steps, the Escadaria Selarón. They are the work of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who claims it as his “tribute to the Brazilian people”. After a long day of flashing away, we managed to take one photo before we ran out of battery power – an insult to this amazing work – and we decided to head back home.

Nelson Mandela is really quite famous... During our "city stroll" we also saw the Teatro Municipal, lots of favelas in the background on the hills, and lots of old cars with flat tires. The picture in the bottom left is my "Waar's Cobus?" version of "Where's Wally?".

Taking a stroll through the city. In the bottom row is the Museu de Republica and the Escadarion Selaron.

Marcos, Ludmilla and Marcos’ brother, Paulo, took us to another place where we were introduced to pasteles, another typical Latin American dish. The pasteles came with various fillings, including shrimp and cream cheese, beef and gorgonzola, and of course bon-bon and chocolate sauce. Very very nice!

Eating pasteles at the Adao bar in Botafoga with Paulo, Marcos and Ludmilla. Recommendable for sure! I had a strawberry caipirinha, but the traditional one with lime is better.

The plans for the last day in Rio were simple – the famous Sugarloaf mountain and Ipanema beach. In order to reach the top of Sugarloaf mountain, you need to take two cable cars. Unless you’re a rock climber, there is no other way to get to the top. The view from Sugarloaf is amazing! It is from a totally different angle compared to the view over Rio from the Corcovado. It’s hard to say which one to do if you had to choose! We also saw lots of cute little Sagui (Tamarin monkeys) on Sugarloaf.

Sugarloaf mountain. A fantastic view. We wondered what Gulliver could have done with Sugarloaf - taking a bite, caressing it or using it as an arm rest?

After spending the morning on Sugarloaf, we decided to chill on Ipanema beach for the rest of the afternoon. The beach is also a long outstretched beach like Copacabana, although not so wide and with more waves. Apparently, the locals prefer Ipanema above Copacabana.

Ipanema beach

We had to go to the supermarket again in order to buy ingredients for the South African meal we promised to cook for Marcos and Ludmilla. Bobotie, sweet potatoes, banana salad and rice were on the menu. I thought it was the best bobotie I’ve ever made – thanks to my mother who sent us a recipe from the “Wenresepte” (we had to make a few adjustments as we couldn’t find the exact ingredients, for example chutney). They also seemed to enjoy it a lot. Ludmilla made some dessert – Brigadeiros, or chocolate fudge truffles, which are what Brazilian kids expect to find at their birthday parties. The dessert is made from condensed milk, butter, and hot chocolate powder. Very delicious!

The next morning we took our first taxi ride to Rio International Airport for our flight to Foz do Iguacu. We arrived 2 hours before our flight and had time to drink some yummy hot chocolate!

My superman, and my super hot chocolate.

On the one hand Rio is just another busy, expensive city with people working and living in it. On the other hand there is something special about the city you won’t be able to find in another place. It’s a beautiful city with proud, friendly and helpful citizens. We were also privileged to experience the hospitality of a wonderful couple who opened their home to us without knowing us or asking anything in return. We are so thankful to Marcos and Ludmilla who made our stay in Rio more special than we could have hoped for.

Hebrews 13:2

2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.

Ilha Grande (7 April 2012)

We booked a Catamaran to Ilha Grande, Brazil’s third largest island at Angra dos Reis. The island’s mountains and forests reminded us of a Jurassic Park movie. The Catamaran dropped us of in the port of Abraao village at around 12h. Our hostel, Che Lagarto, were about 800m further along Beach Road (literally the beach).

On our way to Che Lagarto

At Che Legarto we discovered that the hostel had no electricity or water or internet and the kitchen was only available to use on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays…(why the face ????) At least the beds were available on all the days of the week, and were much more comfortable than the one at Casa do Rio. We shared a dorm room with two friendly guys from Chile.

Our first day on the island were spent exploring the nearby beaches, the Abraao village, and the small nature reserve next to Abraao. The island is a small paradise. The relaxed island atmosphere, the beautiful beaches and forest could let you end up spending weeks there without even noticing the time going by. Unfortunately, we had only one night to spend there before going to Rio.

Appreciating the view from Praia Preto

On Ilha Grande, we had our first real introduction to the Brazilian bikini.  I’ve never met so many people (super small, small, medium, large, extra large and extra extra large) willing to show of their buttocks with so much confidence! Wow! I must admit, at times it was a blinding sight. At least some of them have seen the sun, but when a European woman tries her hand (or buttocks) at the Brazilian bikini, you need some sunglasses.We discovered a little beach in the nature reserve called the Praia Preto (Black Beach). The sand on the beach is black.  At first we thought it to be oil polution, but then discovered that it was actually black sand. The black sand is heavier than the white sand, resulting in  the formation of black/white patterns on the beach.

The black beach - Praia Preto

We also found some blue crabs in the nature eserve. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a proper photograph of them, but here is a picture I got from Kerry Kriger’s blog.

A blue land crab

The Abraao village is such a cute little town. Obviously geared toward tourists, the locals make a living from restaurants, shops, and owning a boat (or having a cousin who owns a boat). The supermercado was okay, but still small with limited stock. We bought some veggies and chicken in the hope that the hostel managed to fix the power supply. Drinking water on the island costed 3 Reais (R13) per 1.5 liter (the water in Brazil is too polluted to drink normal tap water).

Abraao harbour

Abraao's beach road at night

Back at the hostel, still no electricity or water…so we ended up eating bread with jam and biltong, a carrot and cookies. After our very delicious dinner, we went back to the village for some ice cream on the beach. It seemed that all of Brazil decided to spend easter weekend on Ilha Grande. All the restaurants, bars and streets were crowded with people untill the early morning hours. On our way back in the dark we saw hundreds of crabs on the beach – we had to play dodge-crab in order to “safely” reach our hostel.

Crabs coming out on the beach at night

So back at the hostel again there was still no electricity or water. And then there is the “throw you toilet paper in the bin” thing which was becoming really gross. Added to that I had to share a bathroom with 3 men, which was quite a challenge 😉 There are much nicer hostels than Che Lagarto on the island (even if we had electricity and water). They did give us a 20% discount, but besides that, the hostel was not very clean or safe and the staff were not as good or helpful compared to other hostels we’ve stayed in. If ever you get the chance of going to Ilha Grande over Easter – book far ahead in a nicer place!

View from Che Lagarto

Next morning we had a quick breakfast at 8am afterwhich we went on a hike towards Lopes Mendes beach (2.5 hours away).

Lookout point on our way to Lopes Mendes

We got stuck halfway at Palmas beach where we spent the rest of the morning. The sea was calm, clear and without any waves (like a swimming pool). Not a surfing spot at all, but a lovely beach tobathe your time away in the sun. Our good time was cut short by … hmm… time as we had to make our way back to catch the 2pm escuna (read slow boat) to Mangaratiba.

Palmas beach

We arrived at the dock about 30min early and was showed to a boat that, apparently, was an extra boat organised for the long weekend. The boat was crowded, but we managed to leave Ilha Grande about 15min early. The escuna trip was quite an experience itself as the sea was not very calm. One unsuspecting traveler, who made himself comfortable on the floor of the escuna, was soaked to his socks when the water came streaming in. A few other rough sea incidents served as onboard entertainment during the 90min trip (which was advertised as 45min).

We arrived at 15h15 in Mangaratiba, and just managed to catch the veerrry late 14h30 bus to Rio. We left Mangaratiba just as the boat we were suppose to be on docked at the port. It turned out that we were extremely lucky to catch that bus, as the next one was due to leave Mangaratiba at 19h30. By chance we ended up next to a guy who studied in the USA and spoke English, so he acted as translator when we had to pay for the bus trip.

Ilha Grande is an amazing place. It reminded me of Ps 23.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

One day we would like to be able to say the same as the apostle Paul in his letter to the Phillipeans. Our experiences on Ilha Grande are small steps toward being content in all things.

Philippians 4:11-12

11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Paraty (5 April 2012)

Our short visit to Paraty (pronounced Pa-ra-chi with emphasis on the first “a”) started on Thursday 05/04 at around 12h when our bus arrived. It was not too difficult to find our hostel, Casa do Rio. We booked a private ensuite double room (double refers only to the size of the bed, not the room…). The hostel is on the riverfront, with a very nice atmosphere, facilities, good staff (who actually speaks English) and the best of all – free internet!  The downside of the hostel was the extra small bathroom, the suspect looking linen and the very uncomfortable bed. If you have back problems, I won’t recommend you stay at this hostel, unless the other rooms have better beds!

Our first day in Paraty were spent exploring the old historical town. The town has cobblestone roads (genuine cobble stones, the kind that makes your feet hurt…) and is very picturesque with a laid back atmosphere. During high tide, the water fills the streets closest to the sea, and the town gets an almost Venice look and feel. Dozens of boats dock at the harbour, every boat a different colour. It seemed to us that every local in Paraty either owns a boat, or has a cousin with a boat, or a cousin’s cousin with a boat. The same goes for restaurants.

Cobble stone streets in the old town and the view from the docks.

Spare me a moment to share our weird bathroom experience: Our ensuite bathroom consisted of a small shower with the toilet inside the shower and the wash basin within arms reach in order to fit everything into the 1×1.5 m square… And then something which was rather a new experience – we were not allowed to throw toilet paper into the toilet, but had to use the bin next to the toilet. Ag nee sies man! I suppose they do not have a proper sewage system.

As we did not spend too much time in the bathroom, it luckily did not stop us from having a good time in Paraty ;-). We ended the day of exploration with some excellent Pizza at Mamma Ria. Ordering the pizza, Cobus noted that communicating in Brazil is like the 3rd round of the game called Time’s up (those of you who played the game with us before will understand…) – you have to be very creative in conveying ideas without the use of words.

Our first day in Paraty

Spare me another moment to expand on our “Supermercado” experience . Being in a small town, you don’t expect to find everything you are looking for. Being in a small town on a different continent, you should  not expect to find anything you are looking for. We spent more than an hour looking for snacks to buy and food to make at the hostel, and we almost missed our boat trip. Everything obviously had Portuguese labels, so it took some time to decode. The vegetables and fruit were either unknown to us, or overpriced. We ended up buying bread, jam, butter, cookies, chocolate, 3 minute noodles, water and bananas (veeerrryyy healthy I’d say). Back at the hostel we quickly packed our snacks for the boat trip.

The boat trip on our second day in Paraty was a great experience. I’ll recommend a boat trip if you want to experience the hype about Paraty. Hundreds of small islands lay scattered along the coast, some of them with lovely beaches to enjoy. We stopped at two islands during our trip – one with a beautiful view of the Paraty harbour, and the other a small private beach belonging to the famous explorer and sailor Amyr Klink.

Our boat trip experience

View from the first island

There was an older couple who went on the boat trip as well. It sometimes seems that the older people become, the more fussy, and also with higher expectations in service delivery. This couple (I think they are between 60 and 70 years old), however,  were so chilled about everything and seemed to have no care in the world. We enjoyed their company, although we did not understand a word they said. I thought to myself – I want to become old like that.  Content and enjoying life together.

Back at the hostel we enjoyed some very “appetising” 3 minute noodles and biltong. The brazilian guy at the front desk shared a moment with us “I’ll marry some wife and run off again to slovakia or some other place…” Apparently he’s been married twice already, lived and worked in a few countries and don’t mind to do it again. Veeeerrryyyy bohemian. The next morning we took the bus to Angra dos Reis to catch a ferry to Ilha Grande.

In Paraty we experienced a peaceful lifestyle and contentment. Even with rushing tourists all around, the locals did not seem to be affected. It reminded us of Africa, where the focus is more on relationships than on doing things on time.

Psalm 37:3-5

3 Vertrou liewer op die Here en doen wat goed is, woon en werk rustig voort. 4 Vind jou vreugde in die Here, en Hy sal jou gee wat jou hart begeer. 5 Laat jou lewe aan die Here oor en vertrou op Hom; Hy sal sorg.

The loooooong road to Paraty

So here we are at last in Paraty after an excruciating 48 hour trip, including two flights from Cape Town via Dubai to Sao Paolo totalling 24 hours, three bus journeys totalling 6 hours, 14 hours of sitting, waiting, wishing… and of course, 4 hours of (mis)communicating :-). Wow, what an intense experience, but lets start at the beginning.

Our trip started at Cape Town International on Tuesday , where we boarded our flight to Dubai at 18h (GMT+2).

Cape Town International

The 9 hour flight was bearable, with good service from the Emirates staff and lots of inflight entertainment to enjoy. I took a photo of Cobus in the aircraft, capturing some guy in the background in a very peculiar position.

Cobus the "god"

We explored the Dubai International Airport for the most part of our three hour stopover and left for Sao Poalo on Wednesday morning at about 9h (GMT+4). The next 14 hours were not so okay as the first 9 hours, as the long journey began to take its toll. Reaching Sao Paolo at 17h (GMT-3), we found it very surprising that almost no one at the international airport could understand, nevermind speak, English. Even the person working at the International Tourist Information desk had difficulty communicating with us. After about an hour of asking around and walking between the two terminals countless times, we did not take the advice given to us at the tourism desk and were convinced by two non-english speaking bus drivers to take the overpriced airport bus service (an hour in the opposite direction we needed to go) to Tiete. This turned out to be a catastrophic decision as all the busses from Tiete to Paraty were fully booked for the next three days.

The upside of the journey is that we met Susanne, a very friendly German girl living in France, who was also on her way to Paraty, when buying our tickets to Tiete. We decided to stick together to combine our efforts and try to figure out a way to Paraty. Between the 3 of us, we could speak German, French, Italian, Spanish, Afrikaans and English. Yet, almost no one at the bus station could understand us. Luckily, a guy from Ubatuba who could speak English came to our rescue and advised that we take the 22h bus to Ubatuba (an hour from Paraty by bus) and then try to get a bus from Ubatuba to Paraty the following day. The next 2 hours were spent on buying bus tickets, finding a hostel in Ubatuba, cancelling the Paraty hostel (thanks to Susanne for using her phone), buying a local sim card, finding food, and again, sitting, waiting, wishing the time away.

After a terrifying bus ride down mountain passes, we arrived in Ubatuba on Thursday morning at 2h. The Ubatuba guy, Gabriel, was again very helpful and asked his father to take us to the Ecotrip hostel a few blocks away. The hostel was basic, but clean and with comfortable beds, which we were in dire need of.

Cobus in dire need of sleep

The next morning we managed to book tickets for the 9h40 bus to Paraty.

Cobus, Linke and Susanne leaving the Ecotrip hostel

The bus arrived late at 10h30. We found a nasty surprise at the seats allocated to us – probably the poor service delivery made the guy sitting there before us sick and he shared the foul taste in his mouth with the bus company 😉  Luckily for us, not all the seats were taken, so we moved. We arrived at our hostel in Paraty, Casa do Rio, just before 13h (GMT-3), to conclude the first 48 hours of our trip.

From Sao Paulo, almost nothing worked out the way we planned, yet everything worked out in the end. We experienced kindness and unasked for help in unexpected places, just at the right times when we really needed it. We made a new friend, Susanne, without whom the journey would definitely have been much more difficult and dull.

Psalm 91:11-12

11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.