Monday, October 22, 2007

Brazilia Brillia (best I could do!)

Well, we got to Brazil. Eventually.

Basically, woke up the morning we were due to leave Iguazu with a slight twinge in my belly. Hmmm, I thought. Maybe something to worry about? Not yet....

Had to pack up all our stuff, and say goodbye to a lovely German/Italian bloke called Dario, whom we had dinner with the night before and shared our cultures, and suchlike. Got all our gear, and had a bit of sit down. My stomach gave another little shout at me. I tried to ignore it. Big mistake. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I was the first to succumb to 'travellers tum'!! We had eaten a salad at the restaurant the night before. It was a nice looking place, and I decided to ignore one of my strict travel rules (I had made a few before leaving, in order to be on the safe side - for example, no eating fruit or veg raw unless I washed and prepared it fresh myself; no drinking the water ANYWHERE; no petting dogs or monkeys; no eating from street vendors; etc., etc., you get the picture). Anyway, I broke the rule, and payed for it dearly. Our taxi was due to arrive at 3.30 to take us over the border - we had worked this out with a scamming bitch (sorry to use that word, but she was one!!) at the tourist office in the Puerto Iguazu bus station, as we had to buy our ticket to Florinopolis from this side of the border. She had given us a receipt as to how much the taxi would cost. By the time the taxi arrived, I had finally said goodbye to the hostel toilet (only so that I could seek another one!), and was doubled over with cramps and pain. The two taxis arrived and started telling us that the cost was 100 pesos instead of 80, as the scamming bitch had told us. They refused to take us for less, but finally agreed to 90. I was nearly crying with pain at this stage, and all I wanted to do was get on something settled - like a bus - and lie down. The car was air conditioned, which helped, but we had to get through the Brazilian immigration, which was not. I had to stand in queue for ages in the blistering sunshine, before finally getting the passport stamped with my 90-day pass, and moving into Brazil. I could barely whisper 'Obrigado' to the official before climbing back into the car and leaning over with my head between my legs.

At the bus station in Foz Iguazu, we had another hour and a half to wait for the bus. If you are of a sickly dispositon, then skip this next bit, because it gets kinda gross! For my Mam's sake (she likes to know when I'm sick!), and for the accuracy of a travel diary, I'll include this next bit.... Sitting doubled over leaning on my bag, with sweat pouring off me - not altogether due to the roasting hot day - I suddenly had the urge to look for a loo. As I walked off, I started to feel that all was not right with my stomach. The usual cramps were there, but my throat seemed to be constricting also! I spotted the sign for the toilets - I could feel the spasms in my stomach getting worse...I could......just......make it.....I ran up to the entrance. It was a bloody pay toilet, and I had no Real yet, just my useless Argentinian cash. Oh God! I ran from the toilets towards the open door, as I got halfway there, I began to retch. My instinctive politeness over-rode my physical situation, and I managed to hold it in until I literally got through the door - and right into the taxi rank. Sorry guys! I got sick once there, then stumbled across the parking lot to a grassy area, fell on my hands and knees, and continued to puke for at least five more minutes in the sunshine. And yes, for those who doubted it, I can confirm that it was indeed the salad that had made me ill! I sat out there for a while, in the sunshine, feeling a good deal better. Some people came up to see was I OK, which was very nice of them, I have to say!

Got back inside, able to talk at least! Got onto our bus ready to settle into a 17-hour bus journey to the coast. The bus set off. We'd got cheapish seats, so it wasn't massively comfy, but it was OK. My stomach was still in spasms, but things got immeasurabely worse when the air conditioning broke on the bus, and he drove on, while we gasped for air inside. Eventually he realised that we couldn't continue like that (inhumane, I tell you!!), so he pulled over, and we sat in the 40-degree heat and waited an hour and a half for it to be fixed. So, we continued on our way. Overenthused, perhaps, by the fixing of the air conditioning, he left it on full blast all night, so sleep was nigh-on impossible, what with the constant stomach issues, and the freezing cold air!!

Arrived safe and sound in Florinopolis, though, and made our way out to Barra Lagoa on the Atlantic side of Isla de Santa Catarina, just off the coast of Florinopolis. Our hostel is pretty cool. Right on the beach, and with free boogie boards and surf boards, it's full to the brim with Aussie DDDUUUUDDDDEEESSS and totally BODACIOUS Americans. A bit too rich-kid-surfer-dude-frat-boy for my liking, but they're harmless enough, and good craic!

We got straight in for a swim in the surprisingly cool water, which was pretty refreshing! Had dinner out, then went to our rooms. Alan and I plumbed for a double room this time, leaving the other lads in the dorm. I'm enjoying this little break from the boys club - but I'll be happy to get back to them again also!! Little feckers!!

That night, there was a huge lightening storm over the ocean, and it pounded rain. Pretty spectacular! The next day was bright and sunny, though, so we grabbed surf boards - or, in my case, a boogie board - and hit the beach. We stayed there all day surfing and swimming, then went back to the hostel where they were cooking dinner for everyone - delicious traditional cooking, with plenty of kidney beans and fish (Mam'll be glad to know!). That night, we realised that I had gotten a bit burnt, but that Alan had got COMPLETELY burned!! He was in so much pain! Luckily, I had brought both Aloe Vera gel, and Aloe Vera cream. We stayed out of the sun today - though I did sneak out for a swim during the day! The water was much warmer, and so refreshing!

Heading back now for a poker tournament in the hostel. We're gonna go hunting an apartment tomorrow, because we want to stay on this island for another couple of weeks, and can't afford to stay in a hostel all that time.

Small problems to have, though! Brazil is much more expensive, so we have to try keep within budget. Doing OK so far, but have to keep cooking our own food to keep on top of things. That's fine, though! The sun is shining, the waves are big, the water is warm, and the sand is white. What more could I ask for from life right now?

I'd like to say something in Porteguese, but I've no idea of anything in this language. It's like a mix between German, Japanese, and Spanish! Not gonna try learn it - we'll be back in Spanish-speaking country soon enough!!

Until next time........

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