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Panning for Gold

And then there was one...again

View South America on rcally's travel map.

I felt like I was starting all over again on this day. Our bus arrived in Sao Paulo with plenty of time to get to the airport, where I had decided to go to wave Becky off. We had breakfast (or lunch?) together, and then it was time to head to security. This time, it was Becky heading through the scanners, leaving me behind in the vast check-in area, weeping and feeling pretty miserable. I had a few hours to kill before I needed to catch my next bus, so made use of the airport wifi, until it was time to head back to the bus terminal.

A little advice for you: don´t take two night buses in a row! It is horrible, and your body will not forgive you for a really long time. 11 hours later, I unfolded myself from my chair, and staggered out into the early morning in Ouro Preto (Black Gold). I had been recommended this place by Becky´s host family in Rio, as a historical, and picturesque town to visit. As a former colonial mining town, with cobbled streets, winding lanes, and steep climbs, this made a change from my past few weeks. Somehow, on my walk into town to find some accommodation, I ended up in the company of a French man, and a very overbearing Spanish lady. It was decided we would hunt together (not by me), and I regretfully found myself checked into a dorm, with only the Spanish lady for company. (French man disappeared along the way). The beauty of travelling solo is that I can pick and choose when I want to be burdened by others (too harsh?) and this was one burden I did NOT want to carry. I have never been irritated by someone quite so immediately, but I shall refrain from ranting here.

One of the many hills of Ouro Preto

One of the many hills of Ouro Preto

After checking in, we were still early enough to be the first at breakfast (provided free by the hostel yay!), so tucked in, and were soon joined by various other guests, including the French Olympic Dive team coach and his girlfriend, a very lovely couple. We were all rounded up together and taken off for a tour of one of the now-closed local mines. The tour was delivered in Portuguese, so I´m sure it was very interesting, but I didn´t understand most of it. Still, we crawled along the old tunnels, and squeezed through narrow gaps, and I of course, banged my (hard helmeted) head several times. Thinking about the children who worked, and died, down there, hurt my heart.

Back in the fresh air, we were treated to a tasting of chocolate cachaca (although I wouldn't use the word treated, to be honest!) before being led around the town for a bit more sight seeing. After lunch, we all drifted our separate ways, and I took a well-earned nap!

I passed a couple more days in this quiet little town, visiting their mining/slavery/furniture/fashion museum, having tea-for-one, exploring the many artesan craft shops, and making a flute with a German guy; and no, I don't know how to play the flute. It's on my to-do list.

With not much left to do in town, I decided to move on, more specifically, to the coast of Bahia. Everyone I spoke to about Brazil told me I "simply must" go to Bahia, especially for the beaches, and as I am not one to turn down a good beach recommendation, it was next stop on my journey. I bought my bus tickets, and returned to the hostel to pack up.

This next journey, was actually the longest so far, taking a grand total of 22 hours. But I was prepared, and before I left Ouro Preto, cooked myself a mountain of tuna pasta, packed into a variety of empty tupperwares and pots. I actually cooked far too much pasta; I had three meals for my journey, and had enough left over to eat dinner before I left and feed two guys at the hostel. Ha, I hadn't got the hang of being solo again, yet.

Posted by rcally 12:01 Archived in Brazil

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