Travel Journal

Sao Paulo and the beach at Guaruja

(Sunday 27 March 2011) by Brennan-adventures
Well here we are again and another couple of weeks have passed; I cannot believe how fast the time goes. 8-O

Last week was a strange one as we had to rush down to Sao Paulo at the last minute. There was a deadline for Mike’s professional documents to be handed into headquarters of the University in Sao Paulo. Mike had hoped it could have been done by mail; but for goodness sake it’s Brasil, hand in personally please!! :-|>:-(:o)
Tuesday at 4pm I was told we were leaving the next morning then staying the weekend at the beach… Whew just as well the suitcase packs itself now!!

Next morning away early, Mike luckily had not managed to find a Hotel in Sao Paulo, so we were staying 2 hours away which meant at least it would not be dark when we arrived to find the Hotel. The journey was long but we found the Hotel ok.
Next morning after the usual Ibis Breakfast, off we set for the Headquarters of the University, helpfully in the centre of the city!! :-| Our appointment was 2pm, we hit the outskirts of Sao Paulo about 10am, and it was sunny for a change!!
Well I would willingly drive around the centre of London with no GPS than deal with Sao Paulo.
I was driving watching all mirrors and lanes. Mike was watching the GPS and signs, at times TOM -TOM our GPS got confused about which of the 3 roads going the same direction we were on, swift lane changes necessary, looking out for the BL***y motorcycle drivers.
God I HATE them, I would love a machine gun to mow them down ….. They travel down the lanes of traffic, whether the traffic is moving or stationary at fast speeds honking their horns. They stop for nothing and will not let you change lanes, it’s a nightmare!! God help pedestrians as the moto drivers have no concept someone could be crossing between stationary traffic…. Seemingly this is how most people are killed in Brasil.:-( Well eventually we saw the building and chose the nearest car-park we could find. All I can say is think corset; it was so tight between the parked cars!!

The trip to the headquarters was good and bad. They told Mike they would start the process of validating all his professional qualifications, but some of his documents he would have to get authenticated in UK !!!! Luckily we are back in a few weeks anyway.
Once all this has been validated they then write a job description hopefully for him to get hired as a Professor in Ilha Solteira….. or we could find ourselves selling coconuts at the street corner!!!!

Now while we were waiting, Mike got a message from one of the Brazilian students, Camila. She lived between Sao Paulo and the Beach we were visiting for the weekend. She wanted us to stop as we were passing so we could meet her Dad, she also was going to move house to another city that weekend so it would be the last chance of seeing her there. We finished at the Headquarters around 4-30pm. Rush hour was already starting. >:-(
I was worried about the journey to the beach as we knew the road and all it problems from previous visits there. I did not want to be travelling for 2 hours in the dark, down this winding dual carriageway with HUGE lorries thundering alongside me. We decided it would be a 30min visit to Camila's ….. Well arriving at her house, no Dad. He had gone for food??!!!! We were expected to stay for tea, it was awful having to be firm about leaving, and we did manage 5 mins with her Dad but believe me it was necessary !!

Going out to the car the fog had descended and now it was pitch dark as well, we were lucky to see 10ft in front of us 8-O:-?..... did this stop the loony Moto’s?? …. Not a chance!!
Now the road we were using to get us to the beach at Guaruja is the same road that is used to transport everything to the port of Santos, so all the freight and cruise buses use this road. Sao Paulo is really at the top of a medium sized mountain, so this road is a steep decent to the coast.
The slow lane of the dual caraigeway is used by the large lorries, they have to use an extra safety brake all the way down, the other lane is to pass these slow movers and I do mean slow movers. With the result 70% of the traffic is in the faster lane with crazy moto’s buzzing down between the two lines of traffic. >:-(}-)
Did the fog stop vehicles including buses from sitting 1 metre from your bumper….. Not a chance, honestly it was like some horror ride in the fairground !! :-|>:-(8-O
In front of me was a bus driver that seemed to have some sanity, he kept well back from the traffic in front of him, no violent braking, and pulling over to let the IDIOTS pass. I decided even if it took us 5 hours to travel the normal 2 hour journey then so be it… behind the bus I stayed following wherever he led.!! Eventually the Lorries peeled off to the port, along with the buses, however the fog by that time had disappeared as we descended towards the coast….whew!!! :-\
We found the Hotel, and I was absolutely exhausted and I vowed never again!!

Next day the sun was out and all was well, a nice chill out for the day. That evening sitting at a restaurant on the beachfront watching the locals throw out their nets life seemed slow !!
Next day cloudy, did that deter us??… No… we are British, so off for a long walk along the pavement next to the beach. It was nice and stopping for lots of coffees we did not realise how far we had walked until it was time to return!!! The weather broke and the rain came down, everyone scuttled from the beach including all the beach sellers, we all huddled under the roofs of abandoned huts until the rain passed. Then having to scurry under the roof of the next hut when the rain started again.
That evening we tried a pizza restaurant that was next to a giant sling…. Well it was actually 2 cranes with a bungee wire attached to each of them. This wire was then attached to a seat large enough for 3 people, complete with straps and seatbelts. The bungee wires were stretched then the brake holding the seat was released. The occupants of the seat were hurled into the area between the cranes and bounced around there until the wires stopped moving, they were then lowered to terra firma. It was popular, but we decided it was a little too much excitement for us!!! :-?

Next day we were setting off for the epic 10 hours back to Ilha, the weather was calm but cloudy. Tom- Tom (the GPS) routed us through Sao Paulo, which although it was Sunday was still pretty busy. We then let him take charge, before long we realised he was taking us a different way back to Ilha. In all honesty it was nice as we saw another part of the countryside. Hopefully we have spotted all the speed cameras though!!! ;-)

Well we got back to Ilha with a numb bum, but that was the only thing wrong with us…. Oh and looking like lobsters after the 1 day sun we had!!!
The weather in Ilha has thankfully changed back to sunny and hot. I find the sun makes such a difference to peoples moods do you think so??? We saw 7 wild macaws flying as a flock over our heads today, it was quite a thrill; they had yellow bodies with Brilliant blue wings and long Blue tails….. As usual I had no camera !!

I have been teaching a lot, 3 new pupils last week; and they are payers …yippee!!! Now I have 8 in total. We had our first free ice-creams today as part of the bartering system for two of the non payers. I must admit I am exhausted, all this thinking on your feet especially about sentence stress and rhythm, it’s a hard thing to teach !!!! Still we have a laugh as well, so can’t be bad. I also hear them repeating things back to me with a Scottish accent, so loads of wee jocks being educated here!!!;-):o)

Last week was a busy one socially too, we were out most evenings. There was a cultural event on Wednesday evening. A local retired Doctor had written some poems these were being either read out or sung to music. They used the cinema, which in all honesty has not great acoustics so it all went over our heads a little. :-\:-^ The poems that had been put to music were lively and got the feet tapping though. Later when the concert was finished, the audience were moved into the large foyer where large poster sized prints had been made of all the poems; we at least could read and understand something now. ;-)
There was also the option of buying one of the poster sized poems with a photo printed behind the words…. Cost???? �150.00 each, sorry I was not that enamoured!!!
The funny thing was, it had been set up like a posh art gallery do in USA or LONDON, wine was brought around on silver trays and there was piped background music, with all the posters it helped create the atmosphere. There were over 100 people had turned up for the event… Well nothing else to do here!!!

In the foyer were around 10 large fish bowls placed on pedestals within the room, at times being precariously bumped into by the crowd of people. Inside these bowl were what looked like coloured pebbles and shell shapes. I thought it was some modern art exhibition until much later I saw someone take a handful from one of the bowls and start eating it. Nuts and Japanese crackers….. I am glad I had not commented on the art!!!! :-,:o)

The next day I had to have an emergency appointment with the toothy (dentist). I had been having a very painful inflamed gum on and off for over a week, I thought I should get it see to before flying back to U.K. Well he gave me 2 types of mouthwash stuff to use swishing for 1 min each time….
OMG I did not realise how unfit my mouth and jaw was!!! The first time I used the oxygenated water one I looked like a rabid dog…. foam escaping from between my not so firmly clenched lips. One min takes ages to pass, then after brushing my teeth I had to repeat the whole experience with the other mouthwash…..
I was told to use 1 capful, well I recon my mouth must be smaller than the average persons, as this stuff squirted all over the mirror in front of me, then down my chin, all over the mirror again.8-O:-\
Both of the mouthwashes start to foam as you swish it inside your mouth, the volume of the liquid increases all the time, I felt so out of control and exhausted, my poor jaw doing all that work!! I now use half the amount, but expect to look like Desperate Dan from the Dandy comic by the time I am through with this medicine course….2 weeks. Whatever happened to a quick course of antibiotics????
(Just in case some of you have no idea who desperate Dan is, it’s a cartoon character and Dan has the biggest chin you’ve seen, juts out a long way in front of his face!!)

Tuesday night at the Rotary I had told Mike I was not getting involved with the up and coming next event. I was not volunteering or cooking, I had done more than my share. 0:-);-)
They needed food and people to prepare the hall for 70 children coming from surrounding Brazilian cities to take part in leadership course for Interact, and Rotaract…. (The kids side of Rotary; it allows them to have an exchange with other Rotary kids from another country.) Well I did not budge at the meeting and said “unfortunately I was busy”. I did however give a subscription for the incidental expense pot.
Then there was a sheet of paper passed around for the volunteers to say what time they would be available to help…..
Breakfast………… 8am Saturday and Sunday
Coffee break…… 10am Sat and Sun
Lunch…………....... Midday Sat and Sun
Coffee break……. 4pm Sat
Dinner……............9pm. Sat

The guys had already filled in the times they were willing to help, and now the ladies were supposed to tally up with what their husbands had decided. I did not even look at it and passed it on. Later Mike tells me he has volunteered for 7pm on Sat evening to get the hall ready for dinner….. Well obviously he did not listen to me before we entered !!! :-^:-\:-?

He reasoning for doing this…. he did not think I could pass the form on without feeling guilty, so he had decided 7pm was the least offensive time!!!! I have said he is to go alone, well!! What a guilt trip he has decided to pull since Tuesday; obviously forgetting I have already done 3 things for the Rotary by myself, and did not get any support from him!!

Friday night saw us out at the pub with the amigos after my lesson. It is Lent at the moment and most of the people here are Catholic so they have elected give something up for the duration of Lent. One of the couples who have been to seminars at the church at 7am on Sunday mornings before, were asked did they want beer??
They replied. “No, we have given beer up for Lent, but we will have some wine instead” !!!
Well I fell about laughing as not only did they have a bottle of wine but had a shot of cachaca (whisky like spirit) as well. :o):o)
Oh you will be impressed to hear Mike had gone off to do his charity stint. He did leave me at home to finish the blog… aww that was nice wasn’t it!! :-)

Well folks, now only 3 weeks until we land in the U.K. It will be SOOO good to see family and friends again…. Also have some yummy food !!
Love to you all
Laur xx

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