We had to be checked out of our rooms before 10am, so we did that before breakfast. That left us with only the lobby and the day room for our bags, which had no air-conditioning. People were all taking turns trying to nap or shower in there, but it was unbearably hot, so mostly we hung out in the lobby where it was cooler.
We made a grocery run on the way to the bus station for our 16-hour ride to Sao Paulo, since they wouldn’t be serving a meal on this ride. We’ll have both a dinner stop at about midnight, and a breakfast stop in the morning, but we all wanted to have sufficient snacks and beverages to get us through.
We normally get there way before the bus is scheduled to leave, but this time we only had about 15 minutes to make a toilet run before boarding. A couple of guys had ordered food thinking it would be ready to go quickly and they’d take it with them, but they ended up having to board without the food they had already paid for. They weren’t too happy. This whole run will be our group plus one of the other Gap groups that was at the party in Iguassu, so they’ll be with us on the overnight bus, and we’ll share a minibus the rest of the way to Paraty.
Right away we checked-off that the air was working, so that’s a major upgrade from the last ride. Each time that we had these rides our tickets were shuffled up to change who we’re sitting with (except for the couples), so it was a good opportunity to get to know the others in the group a bit better. This time Phil & I were sitting together.
Tim & Jasper bought rum and mixers at the store, but they went very quickly among them, Seamus & Phil once we got on the bus. It was probably not a bad idea since they all seemed to sleep pretty well afterward.
A lot of food places here do it by weight, and both these and ones with item pricing, gave you either a slip or a barcoded card where all of your purchases were added up and you then pay only when you’re exiting, because food was in one area and beverages or desserts in another. I guess in some ways it makes a lot of sense, but it seems so weird to us. The only places I’m used to food by weight is at food bar bodegas for lunch in Midtown. I took photos of the barcode plaques from one of the restaurants along our bus ride.
Our midnight dinner stop was funny, because the place amounted to a truck/bus stop and the food was all ordered in what amounted to a point and pray method. I got lucky because I was one of the first in and spotted chicken empanadas. Wes and I each had 2, and while they might not have been gourmet, our bellies were full, and that was really all that was important right then. I was amused that when I went into the ladies’ room to brush my teeth, it was full of a bunch of young women just off work and changing to go out. I had cynically wondered if perhaps they were pros freshening up, but Zema said that would be very unlikely.
As we were leaving the stop, one of the women in the back of the bus started going off about something. Not understanding enough Portugese to make out what the problem was, we were left to laugh at the gesturing and enthusiastic delivery. It was even stranger that as she was making her way toward the front to give the drivers an earful, she started talking “at” different people as she passed their seats. First target was Dave, and then Bhavisha, though we have no idea why them, and they just looked back stunned without saying a word, but in both cases, she walked on to the next person looking as though the last one had agreed with her completely. Zema had his headphones on and was immune to the whole thing, so I finally tapped him asking what she was having a cow about. At that point the inquiry was lost because he & a few others were laughing so hard at the fact I said the woman was having a cow. Apparently this isn’t a universal saying and was a new one for them. The more I thought about it, I realized that I wasn’t really sure where the saying might have come from. Please jump in if anybody knows the answer.
We finally settled down and took a stab at sleeping, but Phil and I were sitting right under the air-conditioner, and it was working so well that it was tough to get sufficiently warm. I had worn a long sleeved top, layered a turtle-necked technical top over it, then added my fleece and was still cold. I didn’t have anything else to put over my yoga pants, so I finally caved and got out my silk sleeping bag. By that time I think the whole bus was asleep except me, so luckily that was enough to let me drift off too. I teased Enzo & Emilie about being the sleeping beauties, because we hadn’t heard a peep out of them after getting on the bus. I think they ended up sleeping most of the way. I was jealous.
After our morning breakfast stop, Phil and I watched a movie on my laptop to pass the rest of our trip. When we arrived at Sao Paulo, we had to hustle to get our luggage and herd everyone along to meet the minibus that would take us the final 6 hours. From what people had read and seen on the map, it wasn’t actually that far to go, but the roads were winding and meant that you couldn’t go very fast. That turned out to be a pretty accurate assessment, and meant that it wasn’t much opportunity to sleep well, especially after the overnight bus. Mathias and I watched a movie on the iPod to pass some of the time, since neither of us could get back to sleep. Finally we arrived in the sleepy little haven of Paraty.