The second day in Ouro Preto dawned. Although our room in the hostel is very basic we got a good nights sleep. There had been a bit of noise the previous evening but everyone seemed to respect the 10pm quiet curfew. Even the local dog stopped barking pretty much on queue.
The hostel has a well equipped kitchen which is exposed to the outside world with a straw roof. Next to it is a dining area and TV lounge with lovely views of the mountains. Breakfast itself was coffee/tea fresh fruit , rolls and cheese etc. All in all very nice.
After breakfast we had decided to explore some other parts of the area and visit some of the churches which were described as very ornate. Before we headed out we thought we would have another go at paying the bill as we didn't want to be messing about the day after when we were leaving.
Lucky us it was the same lady who had met us on arrival. Now I do understand that not everyone on the planet speaks English. What I do find odd though is that the receptionist (apparently she wasn't the cleaner) doesn't know how to work out your bill and take the money.
After much arm waving and several phone calls we were not much further forward. Then in comes a chap. She has a brief chat with him. We establish that he understands Portuguese and speaks Spanish and French. Still no English but hey how hard can it be.
We eventually establish that the receptionist has got the gist of the cancelled night but only Marina can close the account. Ok we say so when do we get to speak to Marina? 'Wait now' says the Spanish speaking French man. So we do exactly that believing that the mysterious Marina is on her way.
We plonk ourselves on the sofa and wait. The receptionist seems to still be agitated. She has a conversation with a young chap who is in reception. He sits down and plays with his phone. I made a comment to Jill which made us both laugh. At the same time the chap looked at me and smiled. You speak English I thought.
I was right. He eventually agreed to translate. It seemed Marina would pop over during the day and sort out the bill for tomorrow. The receptionist looked so relieved Jill gave her a hug. Lots of laughing and off we went out for the day. Our saviour turned out to be an oil rig worker having a few days away on his motorbike. Nice chap who spoke excellent English apart from saying 'f***ing' in front of everything !!!
It was a very hot day and Ouro Preto is like mountaineering up, down, up down. Phew. Still I now have buns like an Olympic sprinter. We visited several churches, several cafes and bars and explored most of the town. We needed to break some of the larger notes we had into smaller denominations. When I retired I changed my bank to Santander. In England they have been s***. However they have lots of branches here. We walked into one and it looked chaotic (no surprise there). In the small lobby there was a glass wall with a revolving door into the main area. This contained a teller area lots of seats with people waiting an armed guard and a young chap in a tabard with 'Can I help' on it.
We tried the revolving door but it wouldn't let us in. We looked at the chap in the tabard. He came out and said we had to check in our phones and metal objects before it would unlock. So we duly deposited said items (I kept my glock and flick knife hidden). Once inside tabard chap asked what we needed. I showed him my Santander cash card and said we need to change these big notes to small ones. He took the notes, walked over to the teller, practically pushed another customer aside and came back with our small notes. Together we are Santander I said and left clutching my crisp new notes.
After a lovely day exploring we decided we would cook at the hostel. So off we went to the supermarket and got some spuds, tuna, sweetcorn and mayo. Baked potatoes, yummy. We also went to the cheese shop so we could have cheese and bickies and a glass of red to finish it off.
We ate our dinner in the company of a young Aussie couple who had both jacked their jobs to go travelling. It's nice to talk to other travellers because often they have done what you are about to and can give you tips and hints.
After dinner it was off to bed. We planned to get up earlyish the next morning as the bus station was right at the top of the town. We weren't sure we could get the receptionist to understand taxi so we were planning a long hard walk with our backpacks.
We needn't have worried after brekkie she was poised and ready. She took the cash and was pretty much on the phone instantly. I suspected she was not sorry we were going. 'Happy travels' she gleefully said in Portuguese as she opened the front door and pointed to where the taxi would meet us.
Her efficiency meant we were at the bus station an hour early. Jill very boldly went to the desk showed the man our tickets and said in Portuguese' travel early please'. He clearly understood and issued new tickets for a bus in 20 minutes. Result.
2.5 hours later we arrived at Belo Horizonte. It's a bit of a concrete jungle but we are using it as a stop before heading back to the mountains. We went straight to a booking desk and sorted the tickets out. Then it was outside to get a taxi to our hotel. I showed him the address and he smiled and pointed. We both realised the hotel must be nearby but where was the question. More smiles and we got in the taxi. Barely 5 minutes and a lap of the block later we were at the hotel. Oh well.
Currently sat on the bed having done some washing watching Man City play Blackburn on Sky. The commentator is a tad more excitable than Martin Tyler !!!