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.
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.
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.
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.
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.