It was the last morning in Ilha Grande before I found out Steve's actual name was Helder, we wished him farewell and then we were on a ferry back to mainland Brazil. Our destination was to be Paraty and it took us the ferry and a crammed boat to get there.
We arrived at around 2pm and so began our search for a hostel, outside the bus terminal there was a couple by the beach advertised for between 25 and 30 Brazilian Real, though when we got there the price of the hostel was doubled because presumably it was still classed as World Cup season even though the final was a week ago. So we retreated back to the old town where we found a decent hostel called Casa Blanca Paraty Hostel for 35 a night, it was ok, had the triple bunk beds I detest but luckily I was on the bottom. It was much cleaner than the last hostel and had a complete roof, but the hostel lacked any atmosphere and people unless they were all out for the day.
Rory had told us that Ilha Grande was not a party sort of place, but there was definitely more of a feel of partying on the island than Paraty. My initial reaction from the small seaside town was that we had gone back to the 1600's. It had a kid f medieval feel to it. The main roads led to stoned streets where if you weren't being careful it would be easy to sprain an ankle, the most common mode of transport looked like it would be horse and cart, it looked exactly like a town would look on a movie when they wanted to portray it was back in the day, the only thing missing was straw roofs. Imagine if you will a smaller version of Nottingham in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. I quite liked it, the only thing which was missing was the sun as dark grey clouds loomed above us, luckily though the heavens never opened and it was just overcast. We explored town, sorted our bus tickets for our next destination, bought our usual ingredients for our pasta meals at the supermarket and went to the bank twice because some idiot (me) forgot to take his bank card the first time. The travel had tired me out somewhat so a little siesta was in order.
It was a Saturday night so decided to head out into the town of Paraty and see if we could find any entertainment. I wasn't too hopeful the town looked like the sort of place where an evening meal is the main attraction of the night. The problem I found was that Paraty looks a lot like the word Party, infact there is only one letter difference, so every time I saw a sign for a restaurant which had the towns name in it like Thai Paraty I thought wow a Thai Party, until my brain finally clicked that it was the name of thee place. Our first port of call was the hostels by the beach, we figured that if we met some other backpackers they would be able to direct us in the right direction or there might be some sort of party going off. The hostels were dead, apart from the odd group about cooking, but Chill Hostel did have a very good 4 beers for 12BR, so we chugged away on them and played some s***head and hoped the hostel would get a bit livelier. It didn't! So we headed back into the city where we found a square, with a stage and a band ready to play. It was similar to the one we were at the day previous day when Helder's band was playing. The band was average, probably a bit too slow tempo for my liking, but Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World was a rare treat amongst the Brazilian songs. The crowd were mainly of the older generation, I felt like one of the youngest there and I'm getting on a bit. Thinking the night was not going to get any more exciting than it already had we decided to head home to the hostel. Upon reaching our abode we found out there was some sort of club a couple of doors down, we figured it wouldn't be open much later due to the nature of the town, but I was wrong, from our six bedroom dorm we could hear the music blasting away until sunrise, when fireworks were seemingly let off to mark an end to the nights festivities. It had turned out I had missed a trick, and there was a party in Paraty.
Free breakfast was back on the agenda the next morning, it had been a while since we were able to feast in the delights of a on the house hostel breakfast. The hostel breakfast was satisfactory with a selection of fruits - watermelon and passion fruit amongst others, and there was the usual ham, cheese, bread and cakes. The sky was still filled with clouds, they were not as grey as the previous day but they still wasn't letting the sun burst though, which kind of ruled out going to thee beach which was the main plan at Paraty. With the weather still a bit gloom I took the opportunity to get a couple of hours of kip. When I arose the weather was still bleak, if anything it had got slightly worse from earlier on in the day with grey clouds now forming and the occasional light bit of drizzle, so we decided to be productive and scout out some hostels in Sao Paulo just in case none of the couch surfers got back to us, the few we found that were cheap though were either miles away or didn't have the best reviews, so it we had everything crossed that a couch surfer would reply and be able to sleep us somewhere.
There was a small glimmer of sunshine break through the gloomy sky, so we took the opportunity to have a stroll around town, we didn't go too far, checked out a few hostels and there book exchange but I didn't find anything that took my fancy apart from a cheeky few condoms. We had a stroll down the river where we came across a few stalls selling man bands, we had been previously quoted in Rio 15BR for one and in Ilha Grande 20BR for one, but here in Paraty we were able to snag three of the bad boys for 13BR. Our venture also took us to a travel shop where with another day to kill we decided to book tours. Earl decided to hire a bike for the day, not being that much of a bike rider I opted to go for a leisurely boat ride that would take me too to beaches and two small islands. The weather was starting to look grim again so it was back to base for dinner and a football manager session.
With my season in turmoil, and getting a bit of cabin fever I suggested another little stroll around town to get some air. Earl also fancied a change of scenery from the Game of Thrones book he had got off me. We never expected to find what we stumbled upon, it was a music festival, it decent one at that. It was mainly heavy rock / metal type music it was more up Earl's street than mine but I enjoyed it none the less. Earl likened it to download festival which he has been to a bazillion of times. There was a skate ramp where people from the ages of 12 - 40 were trying out moves, and all the usual festival paraphernalia like t-shirt and food stands and beer. Unfortunately at the festival called Tollosa we only got to see the headline act Nephyr who were very good. With the festival finished we thought we would walk back through the square we were at the previous night where Samba was at full swing, I was under the impression with the festival on that nothing would be on there but as always I was wrong and there was another Samba night there. There was an Argentinian Mum and Daughter there who were staying at our hostel and thy were dancing their socks off and boy did they have some moves, the music can't help but get you into a dancing mood but I was far too intimidated by all the other great dancing to let my two left feet out on the rampage. So we retreated home so we could get a good night sleep for our tours the next day.
The boat trip I went on had huge potential, two beaches, two islands; the weather was nice for the first time in Paraty. The beers could be flowing. But no on my boat - Rei Felipe I I was lumbered with 6 loved up couples who didn't speak a word of English apart from one Rafael who had limited vocabulary and to be fair to him he did try and integrate me into the group though with the others speaking less English than my 1 year old niece Evie conversation was slim pickings and it was clear Rafael soon became disinterested and speaking Portuguese was easier for him. I didn't spend the rest of the day mopping around though - the boat had a guitarist on board he was called Willian and looked like Leroy Lita who I believe is amongst the Swansea reserves somewhere, anyway he had some English about him too so I spent my time relaxing, talking to him, especially as he was feeding me his free Caipirinhas. The boat trip was decent too, the beaches and islands were pretty nice and it was well worth the $25BR (£7.50) charge. What got me thinking though was how they made any money. There was 13 people on the boat so that's like £97.50 and then there was five staff on the boat and they all had to take a cut as well as the tour company and then expenses, it didn't quite add up to me but it wasn't for me to worry about as I enjoyed the burning sun for the afternoon until got back to shore.
Earl and I both arrived back at the hostel at around the same time. He told me of his escapades visiting several waterfalls which got me slightly jealous because of my soft spot for the water features. We still and several hours to wait before we caught our night bus to Sao Paulo, and the hostel we were wanting to charge us for use of the kitchen, showers and luggage storage. Being tight and not wanting to depart with our cash we decided to set up camp at the bus station and take in shifts to have a wonder around while the other watched the bags. I took the first bag shift while Earl perused the supermarket. He got back we had a few hot dogs and then I took myself for a wonder and was much longer than anticipated. Willian had told me he was playing at a bar that night called Porta Da Praca so I decided to call in there and watch him belt out some hits. Unfortunately though I couldn't find the bar after a while I stumbled across a girl I had noticed both the previous nights, she had massive hair, looked like she belonged in an 80's film and looked like she had an attitude of Rizzo from Grease. I had taken quite the shine to her but I was too intimidated to go and speak to her. That was until tonight, and after four nervous stumbles by her she I eventually plucked up the courage to speak. I think my exact words were 'Do you know where this bar is' and pointed to the paper which Willian had wrote the bar on, and she to my surprise she didn't shrug me off and said I don't speak English but she gave me accurate directions, I might have asked her to join me for a drink but I only had seven BR in my pocket and also I was too scared. I was proud of what I had done anyway and took myself out of my comfort zone.
Porta da Praca wasn't that lively as Willian was setting up his equipment. He looked busy so I went an ordered a Brahama. There was no one else from the bat there which surprised me a great deal they al semt to enjoy his Brazilian tunes he was singing on the boat, I personally preferred his rendition of Hit the Road Jack. He came over as there was a problem with the power and he bought a beer for us both to share. I found out he dreamt of playing Michael Jackson songs around Europe and he had been in Paraty for 9 months and loved it there because of all the girls he got to meet from all over the world. Eventually his technological technicality was sorted so he was off to strum some hits on his guitar. I listened to a few of the Leroy Lita Lookalike songs and then I had to depart not wanting to leave Earl much longer by himself at the bus station. Luckily when I got back he was that engrossed in Game of Thrones he hadn't realised how long I had been, that or he was being polite. We waited out the next couple of hours and then our bus arrived to take us too our next stop - Sao Paulo.
So until next time stay safe and take care