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