7 March 2014
It is not exactly beach weather here today in Paraty. We pottered around the hotel until close to midday before jumping on an incredibly crowded and bumpy bus to the nearby beach town of Trindade. For almost 45 minutes we stood near the front of the bus bouncing off the ground as the bus laboured up and down hilly roads with more than double its intended capacity.
Once in Trindade, despite the ominous cloud ahead, we took a speed boat to the opposite side of the bay to a natural swimming pool created by a series of large boulders. The water wasn’t cold but it wasn’t a super pleasant environment to be in - all drizzling and misty.
When the rain got a little too awful, we went back into town for some food before a drowsy ride back to Paraty where I got to crack open my Sao Paolo-acquired supply of sesame oil and soy sauce to make a long overdue stir fry of greens and bean shoots. Exactly what the doctor ordered as a detox from the excesses of Rio!
The weather didn’t improve by dinner time, but we did brave the drizzle to get to a local seafood place where I got this huge seafood broth - trying to eat as much seafood as possible here given that’s Paraty’s speciality! There was actually a blackout during the storm as we were eating but the restaurant had a backup light going almost straight away!
Our hostel has quite an extensive range of channels going on its TV within a large common area, so late at night there’s usually a group of us gathered to watch whatever random movie is on television. Definitely feels like a weekend road trip/beach holiday back home on steroids here!
But I did watch a current release movie today - “Philomena” starring Judi Dench which is based on a true story, which is always a sign of a sad story. In summary, Philomena Lee is an Irish lady close to her 70s who finally reveals to her daughter that she was forced to give a son when she was a teenager 50 years ago. She was sent to a convent where she was used by the nuns as slave labour along with many other girls to atone for her carnal sins. The story then follows her journey with a journalist to track down her son. Really crazily sad story that had me crying as usual. It’s equally inspiring what she has done with her new profile since the book release and now the movie. I won’t spoil the story further, but if you don’t want to watch the movie, look her up online and perhaps like me you will be reminded of again just how lucky we are to be women in this day and age… and in our first world societies….
8 March 2014
OK, TODAY now takes the cake as the slackest day I have EVER had on a holiday. I had breakfast at my normal time of 8am, but with another morning of rain well underway, I went back to bed to watch a movie and listen to music. And that’s where I remained until 3pm.
Most of us pottered around the hostel for the day, but that was quite fortuitous coz an UK couple recognised me from my awful curry eating night in La Paz. After we got talking, they mentioned that they had found a cheap cruise that will go from Rio to Europe via Salvador and Recife - two places in Brazil that I would LOVE to visit but thought I had to save or another trip. That leaves on 26 March, which also gives me more time to explore South Brazil and the Pantanals. I promptly emailed my travel agent and await her response…
Whilst pottering, we also met a jazz pianist Paulo from Rio who was stopping over in Paraty before gigging in Sao Paolo. He had a gig tonight in Paraty which I jokingly asked if I could sing a song in and he said yes! So after working out that we didn’t know any songs in common, I finally learnt the infamous “The Girl from Ipanema” (Garota de Ipanema) to sing at his gig.
"The Girl from Ipanema" is a bossa nova song which was a worldwide hit in the 60s, with an English version by Frank Sinatra etc. To be honest, I hadn’t heard much about it until I got to Brazil, but it is inspired by a beautiful 19 year-old girl who lived around the Ipanema beach area. How I have missed learning new songs - especially by the good old way of online lyrics and mp3 off an iPhone :)
We did get distracted initially walking to the gig bar by a local band rocking it out in the main square, but we did eventually make it to the right bar where we had quite a strong caprihinha before I got up to sing. Being on stage will always feel like coming home, no matter who is in the audience, so I definitely need to do this more often in strange countries, but I will never forget or lose my love of music. Carnival has been proof of that!
While the dinner we had last night was hearty and good value, the place we stumbled on this was even better. Being one of the top rated restaurants in Paraty on Tripadvisor, Creperie Le Castellet, is a French eatery with not only great crepes but also great seafood dishes. Everything we had was super tasty (seasfood risotto, prawn crepe and seafood provencal) but unfortunately photo by candlelight didn’t quite agree with my phone!
Now we’re just chilling out again watching some random movie on television, hopefully tomorrow will bring better weather and let us get some damn time on this infamous island cruise.