With rain, rain, and more rain in Rio, and the forecast for rain over the next week, I decided to head off in search of a dry patch of ground somewhere else in Brazil. My first idea was to simply return to Foz do IguaÃ§u and then back home to Corrientes. After all, travelling in the rain is not highly entertaining… especially with an old umbrella that leaks on the inside.
It was 5.30pm when I made the decision to go. Wet shoes, wet clothes, and tired from walking, I had checked into my hostel for the night and paid the fee. Sitting there in the room, staring out the window at the never-ceasing rain, it started to make more sense to go than to stay.
Checking out of the hostel only hours after checking in surprised the clerk at the front desk, but he kindly agreed to refund me the total amount. With my leaky umbrella and overstuffed backpack, I joined the crowds jamming onto the bus during peak hour. Our bus weaved its way jerkingly through the traffic until we finally arrived at the bus station.
Sneaking A Ride
On the journey, four young boys from the favella (slum) sneaked onboard through the exit door of the bus. This almost caused a riot between them and the bus driver who looked ready to almost kill them, even before he had stopped the bus. The atmosphere was tense as the boys remained in the bus. After a few stops, it was obvious that the boys would not get off, much to the consternation of the bus driver. So to relieve the tension between all, I leaned over to the conductor and paid for their fare.
This small act caused a significant commotion in the bus at the time, and what had started out as being quiet and to the side, ended up being announced to all that were present. When the boys heard this, they came forward from their hiding places and sat near me. They were all around 10 years old, their dark skin covered in even darker stains and dirt. Their dishevelled hair and tattered clothes did nothing to obscure their cautious smiles of grattitude in acknowledgement of what I had done.
Finding A Destination
Then we arrived at the bus station. Somehow, in the midst of these boys, I managed to leave behind my leaky umbrella. As the rain seemed to be through most of eastern Brazil, Foz do IguaÃ§u seemed the best choice, but the news was all bad for this destination. Every bus had already left, and the next bus out of Rio was at 9am the next morning. Time to change plans.
In my original idea, the plan was to head through Rio to Curitiba and then Florianopolis on the way back to Foz. Curitiba is on the way back to Foz, so it became the next possible destination. On enquiry, there was 15 minutes spare before the next bus left. Perfect timing. Sold, a ticket to Curitiba.
Here in Curitiba it is still raining. Lots. My original plan does not look so great now. One day here, and head back to Foz tonight. The best part of travelling is to time each journey so it incorporates a night. That saves the price of accommodation and gets you there faster. A mobile bed.
Talking of travel. Here in Curitiba is a great bus system. Double-length buses run on specialised roads in the midde of the street, stopping at “tubes” to load and unload people through different doors. All passengers about to board have already paid at the entrance to the “tube”, making the transition time at the bus-stop rapid and efficient. I had read about this in a book on Brazil that claimed this system was the most advanced in the world. They could be right too.
So now I am travelling around a little. Shopping center, cinema, city center, and possible sights. A map with circles all over it of where the next best thing to see could be. Rain separates us, standing between me and my objectives. Time to shop for a new umbrella.
Time to go.