Wednesday, 9 July 2008

You have 15 minutes to remove your cube

Farewell to Rio and onwards down the coast! Visited a small town in the north called Ouro Preto which at one stage was BrazilĀ“s main exporter of gold. According to their museum they funded most of the industrial revolution in Europe. The locals dug it up (as slaves) and then the Portugese took it all. Their main attraction is 9 churches, all richly decorated with wooden carvings, gold leaf and scary life size bleeding Jesus statues. All set among charming cobbled streets and VERY steep hills. "Training for Machu Picchu" we muttered while dragging ourselves up them. Unfortunately we had to leave on their gay pride day or "party for the homosexuals" as we were told by the tourist office so we missed the big evening festival.

From there back to Rio for a day where we went to see the iconic 'Christo Redemptor'. The day was clear and sunny, we could see for miles and so could the other thousands of people who decided to make the most of the day. it took hours of queuing to get up and down but was definitely worthwhile. Sadly our camera died enroute and not even rubbing it off Jesus' feet would fix it. Took some pics with our memory card in other peoples cameras but its not quite the same. Thankfully a nice lady in Sao Paulo canon shop fixed it for free yesterday. "The lens is full of must stay away from the beach". Unlikely!

Then we moved on to Ihla Grande, went for 2 days and stayed for a week. It was a beautiful tropical island with cheap accomodation and a big gang of Irish to enjoy it with. Met Jessica & John (old school friends of Sian) which was great craic. Got barred from the pub on the first night although nobody is sure why... Much lying on the beach (Lopes Mendes is rated as one of the worlds top beaches), small amounts of walking in the jungle and we saw a sea turtle while swimming :)

We also experienced fine dining Brazilian style. Ordered fish, chicken and salad. 5 minutes later the waiter returns, "Im sorry we have no chicken". Alright... 3 fish and a salad. 5 minutes later "Im sorry, we only have 2 portions of fish left. And no salad. You can have beef and chips", beef and chips it is then! But what can you expect for 3 euro each...

When we finally dragged ourselves away from the island we couldn't get a bus to Sao Paulo and got stuck in Paraty for a night. Turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it 's another lovely colonial town with cobbled streets and an old town centre (horses and carts still in everyday use as cars are forbidden in the old town centre). We also caught the tail end of an international literary festival which was very lively and enjoyable.

Which brings us to the here and now. In Sao Paulo, waiting for the 16 hour night bus that will bring us to Iguazu falls.

Love to all :)

S & D


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