From Paraty to Sao Paulo and Everything in Between

6 Mar

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Pirate Ship Tour

We woke up with enough time to grab a quick breakfast on the way to the harbour where we were to get on the boat cruise we’d signed up for the day before when we discovered that, contrary to what the woman running our pousada had told us due to the language barrier, there was free breakfast where we were staying. The food was the typical buns, juice, coffee and tea along with some fruit and sweet cake. Nothing fancy but saved us a few reals, as well as some time.

It was another scorching hot, sunny day in Paraty and the walk to the boat was a sweaty one. First along the main street through the town, then through the historical district, past the merchants selling beach accessories as we got closer, and finally along the docks until we found the boat whose name matched the one on our tickets.

Unlike the speedboat tour we’d taken with Giovanni in Ilha Grande, this one was much more relaxing. The boat was a large sailboat, or pirate ship if you will, that travelled both more smoothly and slowly along the open sea. The stops to Ilha Comprida, Praia Vermelha, Praia daLuls and Ilha Rescaria, seemed longer, though that may have been because the beaches, for the most part, were much smaller, and sometimes there was no beach to visit at all. Instead, we jumped in the bright crystal clear blue-green water to snorkel or just bob on a pool noodle.

There was the option to order lunch from a pretty basic menu that was cooked down below on the boat and served halfway through the tour. Jonny and Talia ordered the salad which looked good, and close to salad back home (read: mayonnaise was not the dressing) while J.J. and I stuck to the bread, fruit and fig newtons we’d bought at the grocery store.

After the last stop we laid out on the cushioned deck of the boat until we docked in the harbour. As we were getting off the boat, J.J. began to feel ill and we urgently needed to find him a washroom. When he came out, we abandoned our plan of walking the 2km to the supposedly beautiful beach around the bay to go back to the pousada to rest as J.J. still wasn’t feeling like himself.

A while later, after we had all showered and were ready for dinner, I began feeling really queasy. I sent the others on to dinner without me and spent the next 2 hours on the bathroom floor hugging the toilet. When they got back, J.J. was feeling a bit better, though his appetite was next to non-existent. If you know J.J., that is extremely rare (to illustrate, whenever we have a big family dinner, whoever is hosting needs to know in advance if J.J. will be coming or not to make sure there’s enough food). As well, Tal began to experience similar symptoms of queasiness that I had been feeling all evening and we took turns in the bathroom throughout the night. Jonny, as per usual, reminded us that he has an iron stomach and was fine.

R&R to Recover

The next day J.J. and Jonny were great, allowing Tal and I to rest, always making sure we had cold bottles of water and saltines in case we were ready to eat.

Tal and Jonny had decided that they would be leaving for Sao Paulo that evening as Jonny had planned to visit a hospital there the following day to have the stiches he’d gotten in Iguazu Falls removed so Jonny even walked over to the bus station to buy the bus tickets for him and Tal. Unfortunately, the tickets to Sao Paulo were completely sold out for the next 2 days and instead of bussing directly they were forced to first stop in Ubatuba, change bus stations and then take another bus to Sao Paulo – not fun for Tal who was still pretty under the weather.

Because there were no direct bus tickets available for the next 2 days and because I was still feeling sick, J.J. and I decided we’d spend an extra 2 nights in Paraty until direct bus tickets were available, after all there was air conditioning (I was boiling hot with sickness), clean sheets and fresh towels.

We didn’t leave the pousada much, except to take a few short walks up the main street and to cool off in the pool as I was feeling really weak having not eaten anything and having drank very little water in the past 48 hours (not to be graphic but I couldn’t keep anything down, water included).

Finally on our last night I was feeling a little bit more like myself and my appetite was very slowly returning so J.J. took me out to this amazing little restaurant just on the edge of the historical district off the main street, called Margarida Café. It was warm, with candles in lanterns on the tables and wrought iron candelabras providing the majority of the lighting in the dining room. As you walked in you could watch as the chefs in 2 well-lit kitchens prepare the pizzas in one and everything else in the other from behind antique distressed French windows. There was a live band playing slow, smooth, local sounding music and the servers were very charming and attentive.

I nearly forgot about my weakened stomach it was such an incredibly lovely evening! After we’d finished our very light dinner, we headed back to the pousada so that I could have an early night as our bus left at 8:30am the next morning for Sao Paulo.

24 Hours in Sao Paulo

Originally J.J. and I had thought we’d be spending 2 – 3 full days in Sao Paulo but with there being a shortage of bus tickets and my being sick, we were left with only 24 hours, which was too bad really because we’d gotten some great tips from a former co-worker of mine, Paulo, who is Brazilian.

So, what do you do in Sao Paulo for 24 hours?

For us it took waiting for 2 subways before there was enough room to get on, then about a 10-minute walk from the station to our hostel. By the time we’d checked in and had gotten settled in our room it was nearly dinner time.

Sao Paulo being known for its food, Tal and I conceded and allowed the boys to choose a sushi restaurant for dinner, so off we went to Little Japan, but first stopping at a famous church to take some photos. Even though it was dark, we had to do at least 1 touristy thing.

The street in Little Japan where our cab driver dropped us off was lined with sushi restaurants to choose from, the challenge being that the menus displayed outside were in Japanese and Portuguese. We defaulted to choosing the one that seemed to have the most Japanese people eating there.

We were led to a private dining room in the back where we had to remove our shoes before entering, and sat on cushions on the floor around the low table. The room had a buzzer, that sounded like a doorbell, that we were to ring anytime we wanted our server to come by.

Ordering proved not to be as challenging as we’d originally thought as the restaurant also had English-Japanese menus. Though I don’t eat fish or crab or anything that once swam or lived in the sea, the cucumber rolls were some of the best I’ve had and the vegetable tempura was delicious, well-presented and came as a very, very healthy portion.

We rang the buzzer, paid our bill and visited the washroom before leaving. The only reason I mention the washroom is that the restaurant had what we referred to as “Dexter toilet seats”. For those who have seen the television series Dexter, only you will understand: the seats were wrapped in plastic, looking almost like a toilet seat shaped shower cap.

Outside it was raining, the first rain we’d seen in weeks, and took a few minutes before we successfully hailed a cab.

Then it was off to sleep as we needed to get a good night’s rest before our 3 day journey to Australia began the next day, especially knowing we would be having a 13-hour layover in London, England where the former Managing Director of GMR Marketing Canada (where Jonny and I both used to work) had planned a full “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” adventure for us in the city.

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