We are now in Porto Seguro, about midway between Rio and Salvador on the Brazilian coast and it seems to be a Brazillian holdiay paradise.
I would swear that we are the only westerners here, and seemingly the only people that speak English which is a bit of a challenge for us as our Portugese is even worse than our Spanish, and unlike Spanish which I could get the idea of what someone was saying when they spoke to us I have absolutely NO IDEA what people are saying when they speak to me in Portugese... EEEKKK!!
We were undecided on what we were going to do after Rio. The others were heading to Salvador, another largish city with crime problems that are talked up to rival Rio's, especially around Carnaval time. We weren't really up for that and instead opted to go somewhere that we percieved to be a bit less of a Western tourist destination and therefore a bit more relaxed and hopefully more safe. Well, we were right in some of our assumptions (that it was a bit less of a Western tourist destination and that it's safer), but definitely not in others. The Carnaval continues here in Porto Seguro for an additional three days, which means that every Brazillian man and his dog seem to have come here for a party. The establishments on the beach here are massive, and seem to serve as a bar, a resturant and a nightclub all at once. The party started before lunchtime yesterday with dancing on a massive dance floor on the beach to live music (Fat Boy Slim played here the day before we arrived DAMN OUR POOR ORGANISATION!!) and continued (from what we could hear from our hotel) until well into the early hours of the morning. The town itself is tiny, and in winter I can imagine one of the quietest little villages on earth, but it's official territory stretches far North to a series of about 4 seperate beach areas over about 30km, one of which we have stayed at last night and for the coming two nights.
We had our first real taste of 'winging it' when we arrived here just before midnight on Wednesday night as all available accomodation on the internet had been booked out and we had arrived without having anything organised. Imagine trying to communicate to a taxi driver that we had no idea where we were going but that we needed to find a hotel with 24hr check-in that had available rooms that were preferably not going to cost a fortune IN PORTUGESE.. Thank goodness for Lonely Planet's phrasebook and Brent's quick thinking: he wrote everything down before we arrived and just showed it to a taxi driver (we have learnt that trying the say the things we have written down doesn't work as our accents are too strong) and he managed to take us straight to a hotel which had an availibiliy in the middle of town which is a perfect place to organise further accomodation from. A bus trip out to the beaches the next morning secured our hotel by the beach. Very nice.
It's starting to sink in that we have less than two weeks left. Very scary. As much as I am looking forward to getting to know London better "Life is always better on holidays" to quote Franz Ferdinand and it will be very very sad to swap lifestyles back to an ordered, working one. AHHHH!!!
P.S. I officially feel like I have no idea what is going on in anyone's lives but my family, Jess' and Jacqui's (and I presume Nez that you are still studying your bum off and are therefore forgiven). WRITE TO ME PEOPLE!!!