Day 88: 24 hours To Tulsa–But Further to Paraty!

Fri. 9th November 2012

Bus at the service station - come back Happy (Cherwell) Valley services on the M40 I woke up this morning to find Janet sleeping beside a strange man – even more bizarrely he was wearing a uniform and wasn’t looking particularly happy. Fortunately, it isn’t grounds for divorce and there is an innocent explanation.

We were (still) on the night bus from Iguassu. As there were some spare seats, I had moved to the front so I could stretch out over a double seat leaving Janet in the row behind. Apparently, at one of the stops in the middle of the night, a policeman had got on (that sort of thing just happens here) and found me sleeping in the seat that was allocated for him, so he sat down in the seat behind – beside a sleeping Janet. When I woke at about 7, he was just sitting there with Janet oblivious beside him. When I came back from the loo he had gone (presumably to the driver’s cab).

Double espresso, cheesy croissant &  Internet access - what more do I need?Janet woke, none the wiser, as we pulled in to a service area for breakfast at around 8am – we were running about 2 hours late at this point and it wasn’t going to get any better. We were still 4 or 5 hours from Sao Paolo and then another 6 hours from Paraty. Nobody had showered, washed or even done their teeth, we were all feeling jaded and grimy – and there was still a long way to go. Still, a double espresso and a cheesy croissant (they do love their cheese do these Brazilians!) helped somewhat.

When we got to Sao Paolo, we met up with Matt and Andrea who had flown from Iguassu there yesterday. We were a little jealous – but only a little as they hadn’t had any time to see around Sao Paolo and we didn’t feel too bad (yet!). After more coffee, we loaded up into a private minibus for the 6 hour trip to Paraty. It had rained most of the night, rained during the day and was still raining as we set out for Paraty. As we threaded our way up and over a range of hills we got caught in a queue of traffic and sure enough 30 mins later we passed the emergency services dealing with a crashed fuel tanker.

A big cheer went up around 6pm when we caught sight of the sea – the Atlantic Ocean. Surely we couldn’t be too far away now. Then we saw the sign – Paraty 139km. Our hearts sank. Two more hours, tired, grimy, cramped and grumpy in a minibus. Oh for a magic wand!

Even worse, it was getting dark and it was still raining. We got some tantalising glimpses of sea, trees and hills as we headed up the coast. It would have been pretty had we been able to see the views properly. I consoled myself by thinking that it was barely 40 days ago we were in Lima, by the Pacific Ocean, feeling nervous about the “Tsunami Evacuation Route” signs. Now here we were by the Atlantic having crossed the wide part of South America predominantly overland. (We did have 2 flights, but they were more north to south). This last stretch was our longest single segment – some 1,400km. I assume our route was the one shown below.

View Larger Map

Happiness - or as close as we can manage after a 27 hour bus journeyAt last we made it to Paraty just after 8pm, nearly 27 hours after leaving our hotel in Iguassu. Paraty seems to be a pretty, seaside tourist town – small enough for us to explore tomorrow. We decide that our priorities are a beer and some simple food that we won’t have to hang around too long for and so we find a pizza restaurant near the hotel that fits the bill nicely. No way is it going to be a late night tonight – and doubly no way, with brass knobs on, are we getting on a bus (or even a boat) tomorrow!


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