And a little bit of drinking
12.03.2012 - 15.03.2012
The beginning of the next leg was going to involve a lot of driving so the next few days were all truck days with a few extras thrown in.
The drive on day one was pretty uneventful, cook group shopping took forever as usual, standard lunch of cheese and ham rolls at the side of the road, a small incident with a bag of ice and the fridge which turned into a bit of a truck party and an arrival at our bush camp spot later than planned. Nothing we haven't done a million times before, only the scenery was amazing. We are now following the east coast northbound in brazil and it's beautiful, very lush with lots of coconut trees and hills on one side, and white sandy beaches on the other. Pictures don't do it justice so I just stare out of the truck window at it and hope I can remember these sights well.
Our bush camp was by the beach near a turtle sanctuary. The east coast seems to have loads of these and I was excited to hopefully see the turtles. Unfortunately we only saw a few that the sanctuary are breeding from and the eggs haven't been laid yet, but it was interesting to understand it all a little better. I definitely still want to do some volunteering with turtles one day, they are amazing.
We didn't have time to enjoy the beach too much, but we had a nice dinner together and a bit of a jam session with all of the various instruments that we've picked up along the way. A ukulele, drum, random plucky thing, rubby squeaky thing, shakey thing and a guitar.
The following day we were headed to olinda, a city also on the east coast. The drive took forever owing to a ridiculous amount of roadworks, so we had another lunch outside a service station made by myself of salad and sarnies with coronation chicken, the nicest smoked cheese, salami and tuna. A lovely selection that went down well with the group and then we were on our way.
The sun sets really early here compared to what we are used to - 7pm rather than 11pm that we got down south, so we were in darkness for the final part of our drive so with nothing else to do and boredom setting in, we livened things up with a good old singalong. Closely followed up by lots of waving and befriending of locals in a traffic jam.
We got lost as we drove into olinda so we got a few tours of the city before arriving at our hostel. Such a shame that we arrived so late as the town was pretty cool and or hotel had a lovely swimming pool and pool table etc that none of us got time to use.
We showered up, dealt with the red shower gel explosion that had happened in my backpack which has nicely seen of the last of my motion sickness tablets only a week or so before our 5 day boat trip, and then headed out for food. I saw that late had what looked like beef and chips which looked yummy do I ordered the same with a caiprinha. We have just translated the menu (the next day) to find that the direct translation is nipple. God knows what kind of nipple I ate, but I suppose I can add that to the list of random things I have eaten on this trip.
Once we finished dinner a little group of locals appeared at the other end of the square and started playing some samba music. There was about 15 of them and they'd take it in turns to play on the various instruments they had. Sarah and I went to watch for a while whilst we waited for some others to join us for a walk around te city.
We went off for our walk to find a lovely town, with cobbled streets and coloured buildings so common in brazil. There was lots of street art everywhere but generally not a lot happening anywhere at all so soon enough we headed back to the square to see if the band were still playing. We wanted to dance again.
Fortunately they were and we were called over to join them to dance straight away. After a while they finished playing and another of them told us to try to play the drums. We put the drums on (they stay on with a cross cross of fabric that goes over your shoulders and around your back) and then he was teaching us some rhythms to play. Then we moved on to a standing drum and cowbell before having a go at the shakey thing which is a big bulbous piece of hollow wood that is wrapped in beads which makes a cool noise when you shake it.
We were invited to continue our little band at one of the locals houses but we decided it probably wasn't a great idea to take off with some random you just met in the middle of a town you just arrived in so we sloped off back to the hotel.
Back to the hotel for a paddle in the pool and some sleep before another drive day the next day ad the final four nights of camping on my trip!
Day three of our drive days was much the same as the others. We stopped at lunch to go and visit a monolith which ended up being very different to what I had imagined. It was a huge rock with lots of pictures chiselled into it which they say is hundreds of years old. We were getting towards the end of the talk about what the pictures are thought to represent when little Sarah found some baby turtles swimming in a trickle of water that was running between the rocks. They were tiny, about two inches round and so cute! I eventually plucked up the courage to hold one myself after playing with his feet for a while. He felt all nice, if a little bit wriggly.
We had lunch there and then continued our journey towards our bush camp for the night. Our bush camp turned out to be in the grounds of a hotel with a swimming pool, pool table, ping pong table, showers and toilets. Not bad!
We visited the rock formations there, which are great big round boulders similar to the ones you see in Australia. They we're huge, and we played about taking photos with them before watching the sun set and heading back to make camp.
We had some fun playing games and listening to music. Before heading to bed ready for another day of driving the next day.
The next day we were taken off first thing to see some more rock formations before starting our drive. Half the group had had a big night the night before and were feeling rough so stayed back while the rest of us went out. We took a short walk to the rocks stopping along the way to have the plants explained to us along with all the medicinal properties that they all have. They pretty much all have anti inflammatory properties it seems.
The rock formation was pretty cool. A huge rock that has formed from volcanic activity that over time has formed into what looks like huge brickwork in a pyramid shape. There was a pool at the bottom of it to swim in and we also had the choice to climb the rocks and stand on the top.
Jarod (the one who ate the spiky fruit in a previous blog) immediately took up this offer and went running off up the path. Moments later he came running back down having been faced with a swarm of stinging flies who'd stung him all over his face. He doesn't have a lot of luck.
Anyway the stinging put most of us off so opted to stay at the bottom and take photos. It was quite funny watching them climb the rocks as at the top they had to squeeze through a little hole to get to the very top rock. Most of the boys went storming through and then our group of three camp gay guys had a go. One refused to go through and the other to we're going through screening and shouting, very entertaining, and was closely followed up with them demanding many pictures of them camping it up at the top. If I heard "Sarah I'm ready" one more time!
Anyway the rest of the day was pretty much taken up with driving. We were bush camping that night at valley of the dinosaurs where we were supposed to be able to see actual dinosaur footprints. We arrived too late that night to see them so instead we had a bit of a bush camp game session and saved the footprints for the following morning.
We started our games with bush camp twister which is basically a piece of tarpaulin with tape stuck on. It didn't really take off so well (I think more drinks were required) so we
Moved on to an obstacle course which was mainly done to stitch Tyler up a little. everyone had a go without blindfolds and the competitive nature of "the gays" (as we lovingly refer to them as) started to show. We didn't think an obstacle course would go down well with them but they got right in there and properly went for it competing for best time while the rest of us sloped through it slowly. It wasn't the best course, jumping the stove windbreaker, along the twister mat hitting each of the spots, through a camp chair and then over some more chairs. After they were all done we moved onto the blindfold round. Setting Tyler up first we blindfolded him, removed all the obstacles and let him go for it. It was very funny watching him try to find the chair to crawl through at the end.
We tried to hula hoop whilst we waited for dinner but it's really hard and most of us couldn't do it at all. Was it really that hard when you were a kid?
Next up on games night was bite the box. You get an old cereal box and take it in turns to pick it up off the floor with your mouth, no hands or feet allowed to touch the box and you aren't allowed to touch the floor with your hands. You take it in turns to have a go tearing a layer off each time making the box shorter and shorter until its flat to the floor and then it gets smaller and smaller until only one person is left in. I thought id be rubbish at this having watched the others play earlier on in the trip, but I rocked this game. It was down to me and rudi with a two inch piece of cardboard. Unfortunately I had drunk too much vodka and fell at the final hurdle and rudi won but I was feeling very pleased with my efforts.
We finished the night with a blast of the song follow the leader which is awful and annoying but with the whole group ins chain doing the actions, quite funny.
We then took to our tents for a horrible sweaty night of very little sleep.
Valley of the dinosaurs was, in my opinion a bit of a disappointment. After another photo session of us by the truck by the locals we took off for a walk to see the footprints. Over two very dodgy wooden bridges which were swinging all over the place, we arrived at the sight to see about 3 trails of footprints with chalk marks outlining them. They were pretty small and it was weird that we were allowed to walk all over them. They could have been real but I wasn't really getting it. I wasn't alone and before long we were back on the truck heading to canoa quebrada - the beach!!!