Friday, 29 January 2010

DIARY - BRAZIL Sorocaba

Trivia question - Which is the only continent without an active volcano?

MONDAY 25 JANUARY – Cassiano is at work but Edilene has taken the morning off. She watches as I prepare the chilli pasta for lunch. We take a walk around town and visit the clinic where Cassiano is working. The waiting room is crowded and young children are using pieces of cardboard to skate around on the tiled floor. His lunch hour is 11 – 12 so we eat very early and invite Eva to join us. Afterwards we sit, watch and thoroughly enjoy the movie “UP”. Cassiano nips back from work to take us down to the bus station for our 1430hrs Viacao Calvipe bus to Sorocaba, R19.55 (£6.50). No air-con but
a nice breeze through the open windows. There’s some sort of problem with the bus as we have to stop somewhere and change to another coach and then we get rain so it is stifling inside. Instead of a 1 ½ - 2 hour journey it ends up being over 2 ½ hours and we arrive after 5pm. No sign of Alex to meet us so we give him a call and find he is at the station. His girlfriend Gisele tracks us down and we meet up with Alex then hop into the car. Alex is an English teacher and has lived in London whilst Gisele is just learning. Just as we arrive at their apartment complex the heavens open up and within minutes the car park is like a lake. It would be impossible to walk a couple of yards without getting soaked so I lend Gisele my umbrella and she goes home to get more. Even with umbrellas and a plastic poncho our bags get a bit wet. It is as if someone is pouring a huge bucket of water out. At their 2nd floor apartment we find they have given us their room and they intend sleeping in a spare room on an air bed. We feel really bad about this as Alex had a motorbike accident last week and had to have his broken collar bone fixed but he insists he spends much of the night sat up on the sofa anyway. They invite Couchsurfing friend Max and Alex’s student Alandro round for the evening. There is a power cut so we sit chatting by candle light. We are carrying a supply of tea bags so introduce them to English tea. There is little to do in Sorocaba but lots in the area including the biggest sky diving school in the country. Unfortunately our 1 night stay prohibits us even considering it. The other claim to fame for Londrina is that it manufactures parts for the huge wind turbines.
SOROCABA, COUCHSURFING WITH ALEX & GISELE

TUESDAY 26 JANAURY – We are due to catch the 0955hrs bus but suggest we might leave a little early due to problems with flooding. A good plan as the river side streets are closed so the others are full of traffic. Luckily all Brazilians drive like Grand Prix drivers so with Ayrton Senna (Gisele) at the wheel we make it through arriving just seconds before our Garcia bus pulls in. It is a more comfortable coach with a wider gap between seats and leg and foot rests. Again the countryside is much like England but much more of it. Drinking water is supplied and although there is a toilet on board we make a couple of stops. Each time entering the building you are given either a sheet or plastic card on which to record purchases before heading to the check out. Even just to go to the bathroom you must take a card, walk all the way through the restaurant and shops and hand it in before leaving. This time we are only 30 minute late arriving in Londrina at 1830hrs. The bus station is amazing, 2 floors with the top floor round with glass windows on all sides looking out to the bus stands.

Trivia answer - Australia

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