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Monday, July 1, 2013

Buzios to Rio; then to Angra dos Reis – both by bus; and onto Ilha Grande by boat & return by ferry. CouchSurfing


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We have been staying with an Irish and Brazilian couple and their little boy in Buzios for a week 
while we waited to sell our motorbike.

We had many people who wanted to buy it, 
but I learnt Brazilian men like to talk, but none wanted to part with the $$ -
- even for a bargain price.
We only bought the motorbike 5 weeks earlier when we started to sell, 
but we ended up getting messed around by his friend who was a politician. 
It seemed everyday there was “tomorrow”, 
then the weekend came – finally after every story under the sun and beating us down 500 reais, 
he then attempted further discount. 
The excuses continued – delay after delay – he had to help his father repair the houses – 
- so we wait.
Then he couldn’t find his wallet; lost his bank card; 
had to borrow the money off family members -
– there were several inc. mother, grandfather, and cousin if I recall correctly.  
Finally we wait all afternoon while he messes us around, 
and he tells us we don’t have all the documents and tries to beat me down again. 
I nearly popped a blood vessel!
We joke 'my son hit him, bit him, and I burst into tears and stormed off and got lost in the streets' 
-– none of this is true – but I did tell him to take it or leave it, 
when he tried the ‘tomorrow’ story one last time.
The interesting thing was he was selling it on a hire purchase scheme to a local,
 and over the time making double what he paid for it. 
But in all of this I learned many a lesson. 
But in doing this he is actually helping the guy - who otherwise could not get a motorbike.
I am also extremely thankful for our friends and how he patiently dealt with his friend 
over this last week.

So sadly - we say good-bye at the bus stop and wait for the bus.
To our surprise there was a snake under the bus seat!

The bus was very nice, and we enjoyed a lovely stop at a rest area

 about half way along.  It had a great shopping centre too.

However, when we went to let passengers out a little later, the door refused to open. 
Men pushed and shoved.
Buttons were pushed and pulled, and some time later it decided to open. 
But then it refused to close!
So this caused quite a delay.
Eventually we drove with the door open.
No drama until we got to the Rio bridge toll area. 
The drive tried again and it closed – 
- we feared they would not let us cross the bridge with the door open.

We finally reach the bus station. 
We have been warned of rouge taxi drivers, so we pick the registered taxi office and pay a set overpriced fare to our posada.
Please read our blog on Rio separate to this.

Next day the posada call us a local taxi.
The driver is really rude, and just scrapes and minorly rips the luggage as on the road. 
I get annoyed at his lack of care, and show him the damage – he mocks me.
He then tries to overcharge us – the meter is already ticking away. 
When we stop he also tries (which he can) for extra for the bags. 
However, he tries to charge us for the small backpacks and ups the price on all of it. 
I then argue he owes us as he ripped our bags. 
I finally paid him his fare – which was already inflated and told him to call a policeman if he didn’t like it.  Well done me – as I only have a few Portuguese words I can speak.
We then buy our bus tickets to Angra dos Reis. 
When we ask people how long the bus trip is we get told 5 hours, 2 hours and 3 hours. 
In fact it was just over 4 hours.

A nice lady on the bus talks to us – and she has a little English.
She offers to drive us to our Couch-surfing home for the night – so nice.
She is dressed well and has a nice handbag, so I go with the gut feel that we can trust her.
And indeed we could.
After a few stops to ask locals which Rua to turn up or down, we head up the steepest of hills.

We are greeted by our Couch-surfing host’s Mum – she can speak no English. 
But we sit and watch TV and then she calls her son who speaks English and we talk on the phone.
He comes home and we get ourselves settled in. 
He has to go off and do a course.
So we are quite surprised when the family go out shopping and we are left alone to cook 
and have showers and unpack.
The family return, and soon so does our host.
He is fantastic – thanks Joao – and he gives me maps and directions to the boat for the next day.
I have learnt that Brazilians eat at all various times, going to bed and waking is the same.
So after midnight the house is still very alive.
When we wake our host has gone to work and his Mum 
and I communicate that she will drive us down to the boat. 
How kind! 
She is a lovely smiling lady with a warm heart.

We get to the boat – called a catamaran – but it is in fact a wooden boat.

We walk to about 3 places til we find where to get the tickets – across the road.
The boat trip is slow and pleasant.

It is great as we pass an oil rig up close – we use this as today’s un-schooling lesson.
  
When we arrive at Ilha Grande we wander down the pier.
A local guy tells us he will show us some accommodation options within our budget.
We end up negotiating a great rate for a 3-4 star clean and lovely upstairs room. 

The balcony opens out over the restaurants below. 
Tables and chairs are set up in the sand as the waves gently lap at your feet. 
It is lovely. 
And it has wi-fi and the staff speak English.
I recommend Lonier Inn – right on the Praia beach front -  it is a yellow building.  
Fantastic buffet breakfast is also included, flat screen TV, crisp fresh linen, 
and probably the best location in the whole town.

When we come to leave, we choose the cheaper option of the daily ferry.

For only $4.50 US we have tickets for us both to return to Angra dos Reis, 
where we will collect our big bags we left at our Couch-surfing hosts home to head on.

But we were in for a surprise.
First we get to see a great view of his gorgeous city.
He picks my son up and pops him on his shoulders.
We go through a construction site to look out across the city, and bay.

Our host is a great skater.
You can see him here http://youtu.be/ZjZCyACQEYM?t=3m9s
He shows my son the basics of how to skate.

I am pretty impressed with how well he does.

Then to finish off a great cultural experience is when he starts to rap.
The bar is full of Brazilians about to watch the Confederation Cup.
A happy drinker has his ukulele.
Then an impromptu song starts.
It was fantastic - and so much fun.
This is getting to know the real heart and soul of the people we visit.

We head back for lunch.
His dad drives us to the bus stop.
He helps us take the bus to our next destination.

I will blog on Ilha Grande separately.

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