Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Paraty: A Getaway Weekend

Paraty (pronounced Par-ah-chee) was the destination.

A bit of bonding for all the new teachers of Graded, The American School where Susan works was the objective.  The school hired a bus with all the other costs such as “posada” stay, food, etc. was the teachers. 

Logistics were to leave right after school on Friday and return Sunday afternoon.  Let’s get the “getting there” out of the way and back again.  Simply a very lonnnnnnng bus ride of 8 hours over the winding roads from Sao Paulo to Paraty.  There are no highways per se twixt here and there. 

We arrived at around 11 p.m at the Paraty bus station in the middle of the night.  Right, you could have figured that 11 p.m. was the middle of the night. I know.

A nice hike to our posadas ensued and that meant carrying our roller luggage most of the way. On the streets of old town small wheels on luggage were useless unless they came with shock absorbers installed.    The streets you see were constructed obviously by drunk Brazilians who dragged boulders from the surrounding area and plopped them haphazardly in the road.  There must have been a contest for the worker who could get  most of the rock to protrude above ground.  

Levels must not have been invented yet. 

 Our posada or pousada was the “Estalagem Colonial” built in the mid 1800’s and maintained as if it was the mid 1800’s.  Posada?  Glad you asked.  Per my good and personal friend, Merriam Dict: A government operated or approved inn offering moderately priced rooms to tourists, especially in a historic area.

Our bedroom at Estalagem Colonial.  

Photos courtesy of The agenda was simple and you could or couldn’t whichever you wanted to do:
  • Saturday morning: Boat ride or on your own.
  • Saturday evening: On your own.
  • Sunday morning: On your own.
  • Sunday @ 2 p.m.: Bus ride back to Sao Paulo.
On your own was the most popular activity. 

Saturday morning dawned and yes again I know most days dawn, but I usurp editorial privilege here.   Downstairs in the Inn was a basic continental breakfast with eggs made to order with enough fruit and breads to satisfy.

We wandered through old town to the dock where the charter boats were lined up and the street was lined with the usual cast of vendors: Coco milk, hats and souvenirs, assorted pot porri.

The rest of the morning was spent sailing out to a beach, anchoring and anyone who wanted could dive overboard, grab a noodle or not, swim to the beach and try to spot a sea turtle in the cloudy water from recent rainfalls.  The tourist photos will show sparkling clear blue water which it can be…but wasn’t Click on any photo to open a slideshow of that and all photos in a separate window.
 photo 13Paraty_020_Sm_zps4e3b227d.jpg photo 13Paraty_009_Sm_zps9a039e0b.jpg photo 13Paraty_027_Sm_zpsf90b2127.jpg photo 13Paraty_025_Sm_zpse53fbcb2.jpg

On the way back there was a stop at a small restaurant where the only downer, if it could be called that, happened.   Another way of looking at is to say: “I experienced the very laid back and slow culture of island cuisine.”  Translation:  The restaurant was  was under staffed to handle a group our size plus other groups who docked at the restaurant.

We learned there was a surprising way that the decision was made to serve food.  There were four terraces going up the side of the hill with tables on each terrace.  At the lower level were tables 1 and 2, then 3 and 4 on the next terrace etc.  Our group sat on the top two terraces.

We watched a couple of smaller groups arrive after us and sit on the lower terrace.  With the size of our group we figured it would take awhile for food,. But then we saw the new group being served before us even though they arrived after us.

One of our teachers who spoke Portugese tried to help with serving and went to the kitchen because it was taking  forever for food to arrive and we wondered why those who arrived later were already chowing away.

The teacher came back shaking her head.  “You won’t believe this.” Says she.  The kitchen was filling orders by the number of the table, not when the order was placed. 

Half our group got fed and shared their food with the other group which was still waitng close to over an hour after arriving.  Hey, it was a cultural experience.

That night Susan and I had dinner at an Italian restaurant fairly open to the street which afforded teachers walking by the open door to c’mon in and set and chat awhile.

Sunday morning for most of us was continuing to explore old town and enjoy the traffic free streets, historical buildings, and delightful atmosphere which was in stark comparison to Sao Paulo.

For some history and more background:

Sure was easy to see why this place is a tourist destination.  Some images why.

Click on any image to open the whole magilla of Paraty photos in another window slideshow.

 photo 13Paraty_033_Sm_zps9b78b631.jpg photo 13Paraty_077_Sm_zpse48a37c9.jpg photo 13Paraty_075_Sm_zpse24b3e61.jpg photo 13Paraty_055_Sm_zpsa3d3ed25.jpg photo 13Paraty_062_Sm_zpsfd608ddd.jpg photo 13Paraty_060_Sm_zps0a6eb1df.jpg photo 13Paraty_050_Sm_zps0b602170.jpg  photo 13Paraty_035_Sm_zpsc18cff59.jpg

No comments: