Brazil > São Paulo
Ok, so the only reason we stopped off in São Paulo was to break up our journey from Paraty to Iguaçu - having never been on a bus for more than 40mins and with my ridiculous travel sickness that erupts at the sight of a coach, was enough to want to make the pit-stop. The bus we booked was pretty luxury and so the 6hrs flew by. The transition from bus station to our hostel was, although at the time we were unaware, the start of things to come in this huge city... the taxi driver got lost and proceeded to chat away in Portuguese which to us, was meaningless & the road signs available were of no help with almost every one pointing to a different hospital. Eventually we arrived at the next hostel: Pousada Dos Franceses.
We warmed to the cosy little hostel immediately, especially once we realised we were (almost) free from those dreaded munching-mossies. My sweet tooth must have led to sweet blood as not a day goes by that my body offers a 3-course meal for our flying friends. Nick has luckily got away with a bite here and there.
Located not far from the main road, we went to the local supermarket to buy dinner, our first "home cooked meal" in 2-weeks. We woke the next day to rain that must have followed us from Ilha Grande - Raincoats zipped up we decided to spend our one day there, exploring. With a couple of art museums and the Japanese District "Liberdade" on our agenda, we braved the local buses/metro. By 3pm we had accomplished 1 out of our 3 ´things to do´after getting completely lost in a huge park (which has nothing on NY Central Park), lost on the way back and resorting to a taxi just to get back to the metro. The taxi driver from the previous day was a sure sign that without Hansel and Gretel's genius breadcrumb idea, it was too easy to get lost in the city that resembles London. Fortunately we found the Japanese District; the largest Japanese community outside of Japan, which didn't fail to impress. Scared of getting lost we stuck to the main road that the metro was located, which luckily led us to a fantastic Chinese/Japanese restaurant. Wanting a little taste of Japan, we set up camp and enjoyed the best meal of our trip so far. Not wanting to stand out like tourist-thumbs we joined in on the chop-stick cutlery which made the meal even better (although Nick caved half way through and resorted to the good old knife and fork!).
With rumours of the crime rate here matching Rio, we chose to head back and spend the evening relaxing at the hostel.
Up early the next morning to pack, we enjoyed a breakfast of coffee and biscuits (I've never known a place to enjoy sweet things as much as Brazil - every other shop occupies nothing but shelves of sweets to match the street vendors on every corner. As much as I love sweets and cakes, a small bowl of Alpen and cold cows milk wouldn't go a-miss.) ready to endure a 16hr bus journey to Iguaçu; located on the boarder of Brazil joining Argentina.
Feeling brave we took the metro (which is as clean and efficient as its reputation, but with the cost of the tickets available, it should be!), our lives on our back, praying that today is not the day we become prey to a mugging-predator. Everything about São Paulo is big, including the bus station which meant we got lost there too! In the given situation is was no surprise to us that when we eventually boarded the coach, we learnt we had booked the wrong one - we had heard about luxury coaches that match business class level on a plane with all the leg room you need. It didn't take a genius to work out this is not what we had booked. 16hrs ahead of us with nothing but a pi**y toilet and grumpy old men around us... thank God for both the invention of the Ipod, and our imaginations...
Nick slept barely 3hrs whereas I drifted in and out the entire way. We arrived safe and sound in Iguaçu ready to have our passports stamped at the border...
We heard there has been good weather back home, so we hope you've all been able to enjoy it! If it disappears quickly, let us know and we will bring some back.
Lots of love
PS - PRICING TEAM: 30mins into our journey to Iguaçu I saw a huge Tyco factory just outside of São Paulo - I couldn't believe it!! With all the hospitals in this city, it's no surprise though! Hope you're all ok, enjoy a nice cuppa for me - I've been craving a good Tetley since the day we arrived! (& Hayley, don´t forget the oatmeal biscuits!)