Sao Paulo

Im writing this horribly late, just about a year overdue! So, a bit of catching up to do on my part! I had a talk to Sara yesterday, trying to recap what happened in Sao Paulo. I had forgotten a lot, and I think it is because I never got around to putting it down on paper. Anyways, back now, new format, and Ill start my recap with Sao Paulo working my way through about 7 other destinations before Im up to speed!

Right, we arrived in Sao Paulo on the bus, worked our way through the tube system to the HiHostel. We had been in the city for ages it felt like. As I write this, I had to pull up our Lonely Planet South America on a shoestring. It was full of annotations, fun to pick up! 🙂

Anyways, a Hostel in a highrise, more like a hotel than anything else. First thing we did was to go to the shop, get some food, as we started running short on are Reals. This hosel was not the most happening in town, and we bearly saw anyone else there, but we had a nice dinner in the kitchen, only us!

Next day we where of to the Tourist Office to find the attractions. We really had no idea. In any case, we got a suggested walking tour, and made our way out. First thing was some art museum, Museo de Arte de Sao Paulo. It was shut, so instead we went to some bookstore looking for a Brazilian cookbook, and any kind of english literature really. No luck, but some very expensive coffee! Next on the list, was the Sao Paulo Bank tower. Free entry, short background check, group entry and great view!

Nothing but highrises

I like the garden on the roof!

In the afternoon I went for a haircut. I have to cut my hair at least every 2 months, and last time I did it was in La Paz, so I figured I get a last cheap one in before Norway! Such a weird feeling trying to communicate on spanish, with a guy who only speaks portugese. Lots of gestures, many concerned looks and a few laughs later, I had an haircut to be proud of!

Next morning, we where of to Norway! I appreciate that this entry is a bit short, vague and unsatisfactory, but that was kind of what Sao Paulo was like to us. Wouldn’t go back unless I was with someone who knew there way around.
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Paraty is an old pirate and trade hub. In the past, the pirates here used to roam the 7 seas, and bring their loot back here, now, they just stay at home making a living in the tourist industry.

Paraty has a nice beach feel to it, and that is also their distinction. 300 beaches in the vicinity they claim! We only went to Sono beach, a 1 hours walk through the rain forest, before arriving at a very idyllic little beach with only a few fishing families living there.
Rainforest view

Our path

Sono Beach

Crab at Sono beach

On our way to the bus station, we where befriended by 2 of the many stray dogs, that roam South America- and they would not leave! The first was a wierd cross between a german shepherd, and a daschund. It thought it was very though. His friend was a tad paranoid, and would bark viscoulsy at random people, and every pushbike and moped. When we finally thought we had gotten rid of them, we found them again sitting waiting in the only shade that could be procured at the bus stop.

Last night we tried something new to us, palm hearts. We think it has something to do with the trunk of the palm, and they strip it and make nice dishes out of it. We had palm heart lasagna and it tasted delicious! Got to try and grow some palm now!

Historical District

The harbour

Well, with that, Ill conclude this short update here in São Paulo, as I dont really have that much more to say about Paraty.

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Ilha Grande

So, we arrived from Rio through a series of bungled transportation options, with 2 other British girls. To top it of, one of them got promoted to captain on the little fishing boat bringing us across to the island!

Ilha Grande is an old prison and lepper island, and thus not too popoular with the Brazilian tourist crowd, and this was low season, so at times, it felt like we had the place to our selves! The whole island does not have any cars, or paved roads. everything in Abraão, which is the biggest city, is within strolling distance along the beach. We had a hostel up the eastern end of the beach, overlooking town and the bay. Very nice and cruizy!

Our first day, we felt like some excersie, so we walked to a beach called Lopes Mendes. It is said to be one of Brazils most beatuiful beaches. It was ok, but Oz has better….



It was a nice walk through virgin rain forest, 2 hours each way, so by the end of it, we where pretty knackered. We contemplated catching a boat back, but persevered and walked back instead. We could feel the hills in our legs the next day!

And because of that, we spent the next day relaxing in town, strolling along the beach, dipping in the ocean every now and then, and eating ice cream. They got this brilliant concept here, where you have self serve ice cream parlours. So, you pay per the gram, and the price is not cheap, and you tell yourself that you will only have small scoops. Then you try and decide what you want to eat, and forget everything about the price, until you stand in front of the register with a 300g cone with only 2 scoops! And then you cant take it back of course. Twice we fell in this trap, although its hard to argue that we fell in it. I think we let ourselves be tricked… Of course, the street cake stalls have been very sweet to us too.

Anyways, I had wanted to go scuba diving, and I had heard about the helicopter being an interesting thing from the Lonely Planet. Turns out the helicopter is pretty boring, and the diving agencies where kind enough to tell me that visibility was not all that good. Max 4 meteres currently. So I passed. For future reference, 2 dives with all gear included was quoted as 150R. There is a wreck though, that looked quite interesting, and not too deep!

Instead, we signed up for a speed boat trip for snorkling, that included the helicopter. Hence Im not too upset, as I could see it wouldnt be all that. I think Sara was pleased as well, as she wasnt too keen on reading any more trashy novels while I was diving.

The snorkel trip included our very own celebrity travel reporter, who gave us some very helpful tips on São Paulo! She of course got the trip for free, while us normal humans had to pay….

Video of Sea Monster

Crazy puffer fish

The day was nice, although with had some overcast so it wasnt all that warm at times. However, the Island is great, and we could easily have spent another day there! Today, we have travelled to Parati, still getting closer to our deaprture for Norway.

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Rio de Janeiro

Well, not too many g-strings I’m afraid!

We arrived in Rio with blood shot eyes after a longer than usual bus ride, and went through the now almost too familiar ritual of finding a taxi and negotiating our fare, before signing into the hostel, and dumping our load.

For our first 4 days, we had pretty shonky weather. The city was gloomy, the beaches where deserted, it felt like it was only us trudging along in our poncho’s and thongs. A charming sight, but not quite what I had in mind when we headed for Rio.

We spent the days wandering, mingling with the rich and the very beautiful in their shopping malls, exploring food (juice bars on every corner, with juices made from all kinds of weird fruits, cocktails that just kept on coming, and buffets where you paid per the kilo), and we even went to watch another movie (I think Sara was expecting the Sex and the City movie to be showing, but it hadn’t opened yet and after watching the only thing on offer, I’m not sure if I’m glad or not).

Yesterday afternoon, we went on the city tour, only just got to squeeze in Christ the Redeemer one of the hills overlooking Rio, before the clouds closed in around him. It was a gamble, as we didn’t know if the weather would improve, but we made it the whole way through without any rain! The Cathedral was a definite highlight, so was the Sugar loaf.

Jesus on the hill

Samba street

The Cathedral is the most modern I have ever seen, and it was a colossus building with a very nice feel to it! The natural light was streaming in from thousands of little windows all around. We also passed by the massive soccer stadium “Maracana” (that was apparently built at massive expense in the 50s for the World Cup -to the publics disdain- in which unfortunately Brazil lost..), the main street of Carnival and Santa Theresa (a suburb of massive old mansions which was where the rich used to live… until the favelas decided they also wanted in on the area. As they built their massive, ramshackled communities up, the rich trickled out of town)!! Finally we made it to the Sugar Loaf, which looked a lot more daunting from the bottom, however, the ride up was a breeze, and the view was spectacular! It was excellent seeing Rio in the sunset and by night!

The Cathedral
The Cathedral

Cathedral Roof
Cathedral Roof

View from the SugarLoaf at night towards Copacabana

More night

Night still

Today was our first break, we have had sun all day, cruised the Ipanema and the Copacobana beaches. I have been keeping my eye out for the famous g-strings, but unfortunately, the hot bodied must also be employed, because all I saw was sour wedgies and cellulite… Sara didn’t do too much better, and only got the previous generation of stud muffins (50+ bracket, which is also where I was looking).

The lake
You can see Christ on top of the mountain in the background

Ipanema - The most sexy beach in the world!
Ipanema – The most sexy beach in the world!


Water is freezing
Water is freezing!

With a cruizy day like that, we decided that tomorrow we head to Ilha Grande so we can hang by the pool, and hopefully get some dives in.

Before I sign off, I just wanted to comment on Rio in general. It is by far the most expensive place we have been too in SA! But it is beautiful! And the food is awesome! We are eating so much nice fruit and food, the likes which we haven’t seen for quite a while! And with that, we only have 9 more days left here in South America. With any luck, we will post again before we leave here, but we are not promising!

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