Happy place at two rivers
23.12.2009 - 23.12.2009
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Angra Dos Reis
When we woke up this morning we knew we had to have our wits about us, as we had no plans other than a transfer to Angra Dos Reis. We started off the morning with a driver who spoke very little English. On top of that, some US networks want to “ lets make a Christmas story news event” about some guy Goldman trying to get his kid back from the grandparents was going on at the JW Marriott hotel we were at. On the way into the hotel last night and this morning we had to navigate the circus. For those not familiar with media set ups, the circus is an immense amount of cameras, satellite trucks, lights, generators, sound gaffers and reporters waiting around and COWS everywhere (portable Cell towers On WheelS), When we arrived at our room last night, CNN was discussing the news bah humbug (guess who is writing now). The waste on these events is colossal- never mind - back to the blog and happy thoughts.
To say Michelle is an extraordinary planner is to say the sky is blue or water is wet, but I have to hand it to her, we have now started part of the adventure that’s a bit foreign to her, it must be like sky diving with a blindfold on. What we are about to do for the next week is figure it out as we go with respect to where we will stay, what we will eat, what we will do.
Loosely the plan is to end up on Ille Grande and see some spectacular beaches Michelle has researched by sailboat; that we may be piloting. We will make our way back to Rio de Janeiro for New Years. (both of us now writing). Darwin is lost without a working cell phone so we tried to find a few cell phone stores before we left for Angra dos Reis but had no luck. (Our driver of course could not find a cell phone store in a city of millions) The three hour drive to Angra dos Reis was spectacular. We drove through suburbs of Rio and then some depressing favelas (slums) before we reached Costa Verde (green coast). We had spectacular views and then arrived at Angra dos Reis. What a pretty little town (97,000). Our driver took us to a port that did not rent boats. We tried to get him to take us to a marina but he did not understand our very poor Portuguese (note to self, learn more). When we saw the tourism office, he dropped us off there and then left quickly. So off we went with wheelies in tow to find us a sailboat/motorboat. The tourism office pointed us in the direction of the Association of boat owners who charter boats. Since it was 1:00 we decided to stop for lunch and a pee break. We found a cute restaurant between the tourism office and the boat association. We split a delicious fish and chips (no idea what kind of fish but it was scrumptious. Also surprised that they serve rice and French fries on the same platter). Through the help of our Portuguese book (boys, for one to look in such a book to understand what to say is much akin as to asking for directions or reading a map – thank god Mouse was there with her book). I of course downloaded the translater on the iphone that only works when you have web service (which by the way we had throughout Copacabana beach so our driver understood us while in Rio)
After lunch we headed to boating office but discovered the doors were locked. With the aid of our translation book, the next door neighbour told us the office closes at 2:00 and we arrived at 2:15. BIG lesson learned. Go the area, when you know it’s open because you never know when they may close their offices. So back to the tourism office. Through translation we found out that we could catch a 4:00 catamaran to Ille Grande (our final destination) at their location or take a taxi to the marina and try and charter a boat. Since it was cloudy and near the end of the afternoon, we chose to wait for the catamaran ferry. However, we did not have a place to say for the evening. The tourist office called a few places and found us a pousado for $140 Reals ($70) including breakfast, so we quickly jumped on the reservation. It was a cool ride to the Ille Grande. We passed several islands and it reminded us of the Gulf islands but alot warmer. The island also reminds us of Tamarindo, Costa Rica (kim and kev it is just as humid) with a bit of the Carribean mixed in. I have never walked through small streets like this before but we both imagine this is what the Carribean would have been like 40 years ago before the large ship ports were built.
Upon arriving, we stood beside the catamaran as they unloaded the luggage. We couldn’t believe the amount of groceries that were on board (later discovered groceries are a premium here so everyone loads up). The workers on the boat hold up each piece of luggage as they unload the boat and the owners quickly whistle or put up their hands to claim the luggage. A simple yet extremely effective method. We quickly found our Pasoudo Armacao dos Anjos. It is very much like a hostel – bunk bed and double bed with a small bathroom, bar fridge and TV. It is in the central area of town, so we were happy. While we were waiting for the catamaran in Angra dos Reis, Darwin went to an internet cafe and found a few rental companies, so off we went to find them. After a few conversations we discovered most boats are rented through Angra dos Reis (which we knew), so we were out of luck to bare charter a boat for five days. This also means we are out of accommodation over Christmas the busiest time of year. Luckily the owner of our pousado agreed to rent us our room for three nights at the same rate. We found a tour company beside our pousado and they are looking into a private sail charter to Paraty for us on December 26th. He booked us on an island tour tomorrow (December 24) where we will see the highlights of the island and lots of snorkelling. He also recommended a few restaurants to us. We checked out the pier again and had a drink beach side, while watching a cruise ship MSC Panama tender back to the cruise ship. Then off to the grocery store to stock up on some supplies (total of $42US for vodka, wine, Smirnoff ice coolers, water, chips, flip flops). We then checked out one of the restaurant recommendations down the street from us. We were the only diners and it was fabulous. We did not understand the orders are for two people (dois personas –really tough to translate this Portuguese – especially when its the local custom and not prominent on the menu) so glad we did not order 2 entrees. The bill for 2 beer, ½ litre of wine and the penne (that could easily feed 3 people) was $77 Real with tip ($38USD).
We are now back in room watching Brazilian TV and listening to our hostel neighbours conduct drinking competitions (we must be getting old as we should be joining them). Excited about snorkelling on Christmas Eve. This is much mellower than Rio de Janeiro and Copacobana Beach.