The Amazing Adventures of KashNickov!
Hello all. . .this is Nick making a rare foray into the postings. . .I struggle to wrestle the keyboard from Kate (she has incredibly strong forearms don't you know!)
Kate and I are in Brasil. . .that's right. . .Brasil! It still hasn't completely sunk in. We started in Rio, last saturday which was amazing, although a little scary as everyone we spoke to had been mugged at some point during their stay!! We were super cautious, careful, and possibly a little paranoid and got out unscathed. I have so much to tell you as my already full travel journal (that Kate made me write but is now regretting it a little methinks) can attest to. I won't bore you with every little detail that can wait for when you all read the journal which I'm sure publishers will be begging me for!
It seriously feels like we've been gone for a couple of months, which is cool cos I don't want the time to fly by. Even though I am still looking forward to relaxing and not stressing about everything when we get to Marion and Jan's in 3 and a half short months! Travelling isn't the walk in the park everyone thinks it is though. . .the language here is Portuguese and it is really difficult to make yourself understood and understand others too, so that's a bit stressy and Rio was beautiful but felt really dangerous too. The only times I actually felt safe there were when we were in our room or ironically when we went on the favela tour. If you went to one of the ones we went to without being on a tour you'd be pretty much guaranteed to get robbed, but with the tour you're guaranteed not to. You can even have your cameras out and everything as they know the tour very well and know that we're paying the favela to be there etc. It was really cool and didn't feel at all voyeuristic, it kind of makes you want to live there in a strange way. I'm sure they have pretty bad problems to deal with but they also have an amazing community spirit and everyone knows everyone else. They also don't have to deal with a lot of the crazy bureaucratic crap we do out in society, but I suppose you would prefer that if someone built something right in front of your house, or the resident drug lord didn't share your particular point of view in a dispute!
Then we went to Ilha Grande, and it was freakin paradise. . .but please don't all go at once cos you'll spoil it! One day Kate was hung over from too many Caipirinhas so I just went off for a walk on my own. . .I got a bit confident from finding loads of cool spots like a natural pool in the jungle and an old aqueduct so ended up looking for this waterfall called Feiticiera and walked for about 4 hours looking for it through thick rainforest. I saw some incredible views but the path was pretty tough going in my flip flops!! I didn't see anyone for about 3 hours and got frustrated going down all these sheer, muddy, tracks through thick jungle, hanging on to vines to keep my footing, avoiding the spiders and crazy-coloured caterpillars. . .but I still kept just coming out at this same stream; it was pretty vigorous but definitely not what I would call a waterfall. . .I knew the waterfall was either up or down stream but I just couldn't find the path to it!! I eventually started walking down the stream itself and inevitably slipped over. I cut my ankle and my arm and Kate's camera was in my pocket. . .luckily it was fine, but I was a bit shaken up thinking about what would have happened if I'd broken my leg or something. . .I would have been stuck out there for days!! You know you're being a bit of a spaz and how dangerous it is to be in these sorts of places when you're on your own as you keep swearing at yourself outloud!! I also hadn't drunk anything since 12 (it was now half 4 and it gets dark at 6 here at the moment) or eaten anything since 8.30 breakfast!! So I decided to turn back. But then my feet were killing me because my flipflops kept snapping out on the dodgy ground and I was walking barefoot until I realised I could poke the plastic strap back through again (sorry, I know I said I wouldn't give you all the details. . .just trying to paint you a picture here!)
Anyway. . .I eventually walked down to the nearby beach and thanks to the kindness of strangers (I'm speeding the story up for you a little bit now. . .I'm leaving out the bit about the minator and the fairies!), got a boat back to the little town where we were staying (I still hadn't found the waterfall!!) even though I couldn't afford the fare.
It was okay though, cos I went back with Kate the next day and there were loads more people around who told us where the waterfall was. . .so I did get to put my hot head under its cooling waters!! I can't believe I did it all in flipflops again though cos Kate had assured me she wouldn't want to walk all the way there. . .but then the adventure bug caught her after a bit of walking, just like it did to me the day before!!
Ok, realise that you're all probably completely bored of this now, so I'll stop, I do have a lot of other stories but some will inevitably have to wait til we get back! Tomorrow we are getting on a 6 hour bus to Sao Paolo, where we have to go to get the bus to Curitiba. I know our itinerary says we were stopping in Sao Paolo, but everyone (even Brasilians) have said not to bother. . .17 million people, more crime than Rio (it must be carnage!!) and nothing more interesting for tourists than a couple of museums and botanical gardens (I know mum, why aren't we going!!!??)
Hope all is good with you all, send us some messages please. I know we've only been gone a week, but it seems like much more than this to us, so feels like you're all neglecting us!!
x Hang on. . .one last story, this is one of my favourites though!! On the bus to Paraty from Angra dos Reis (the port where you go to and from Ilha Grande) I walked up to the ticket guy (who is not the driver in this country. . .I know!. . .the mysteries of Brasil!) and asked for two to Paraty. He just seemed to wait for me to get my money out and I stupidly didn't have anything less than a hundred on me (it's only 30 quid or something!!). He laughed to his mate when I got it out and then looked unsure about how much change to give me. He then just handed me a 50 back. If he had done it confidently, I'm sure I wouldn't have been any the wiser. . .it is a 2 hour bus after all and we'd paid 25 each which is about 8 quid!! But after getting back to my seat it was bugging me that we might have just paid for this guys cachaca addiction for the next week (its what they make Caipirinhas with here and it's cheaper than bottled water!! No wonder drinking is a bigger problem than drugs here!). So I went back up and tried to get some sense out of him speaking spanish with a portuguese accent! His mate was smiling when I walked back down the bus, so I knew I must be on to something. I made it clear I wanted him to write down the fare we had paid on the tickets he had given us but he refused to do it saying he wasn't allowed and then he just sat there pretending not to understand. I was furious but couldn't do anything about it. Anyway, about 20 minutes down the road, an official looking bus company guy got on so I asked in spanish how much it should be from Angra to Paraty and he said 7.50 Reias each!! Gotcha!! The guy had already started walking down from the back of the bus when he saw me talking to the official! After saying how much we'd paid he started yelling at him, telling him off in front of the whole bus! It was in Portuguese so we couldn't understand but I would have loved to have known how he tried to explain himself!! I really wanted to wave at him as we got off the bus but Kate sensibly wouldn't let me! Lessons being learned every day though. Sorry for the huge extension to the email, I enjoyed it though. . .love to all xx