Highs and Lows of Brazil
About the Photo Above: Street in Paraty, Brazil
I have a thing for colonial style towns and villages; something about the cobblestone streets intrigues me (even while trying to pull my four-wheeler luggage down the street). I found Paraty to be charming and interesting, enough so that I spent a week here.
Sao Paulo and the Shopping Mall
I arrived at my hostel in Sao Paulo and asked the local guy at reception what interesting things there are to see in Sao Paulo. His eyes lit up and he said, “we have an excellent shopping mall only two blocks from our hostel with Armani, Gucci and Tommy Hilfiger! It also has a food court with Pizza Hut and McDonalds!” Hmm… Let me just say, when I am a tourist exploring the world, a shopping mall with McDonalds and Armani suits are not really at the top of my list of things to see. I wandered Sao Paulo the next day with camera in hand thinking I’d find some interesting architecture or nice parks to photograph. No and no. I spent two nights and a full day there and couldn’t find anything I felt worthing of the digital space on my camera. I think for locals, Sao Paulo might be a wonderful city to live in, with a wide variety of good paying employment, quality housing, shopping and fine food–essentially everything a consumer minded individual would enjoy. For me? Well, it was not my cup-of-tea, thus I don’t have any photos to display of McDonalds or Armani… sorry!
Paraty offers two things I enjoy as a world traveler: interesting streets and buildings as well as nice beaches. The highlight of my weeks stay was the 60RS (about $20) boat trip with unlimited caipriniha drinks. Caipirinha (k-eye-per-reen-yah) is the name of the drink: Cachaca (kashasah) is the name of the alcoholic spirit/liquor used in the drink. Cachaca is a Brazilian distilled liquor that starts from unaldulterated sugarcane juice (unlike rum, which is made from what is left over after the main sugar removal process). The boat tour started at 11am and ended at 5pm (that’s six hours of drinking while lounging about on a boat). The boat stopped at four islands for quick swims and blared party music the whole time (until we were raided by the harbor police). It was quite delightful and the most fun I had had in several weeks!
Map of My Travels in South America
Curious to see a map of my travels in South America? View the map.
Costs in Southern Brazil
While hostels were cheap, food costs were similar to the USA.
Hostel: $10-12/night (shared dorm) including breakfast
Food: typically $7-12 meal for lunch or dinner; I ate lunch “by the kilo” places for $6 to $7 for a large plate of food.
Transportation: City-to-city buses cost about $5/hour. I rode two buses, one for five hours and the other for six. Costs were $25 to $30 for day buses.
Next: Rio de Janeiro!