Trivia Q. Which of the continents has the most countries?
SATURDAY 27 FEBRUARY – It is a poor morning which makes it easier for us to leave. We catch the 1045am COT bus to Chuy, U$50 (£1.60). You have to ask if you want to stop at the Uruguayan border as it is about 2km before the town. After getting off the driver tells us we must make our own way onwards. Exit formalities involve a quick stamp in our passports. The official tells us it is 4km walk to the Brazilian border; there are no buses or taxis available. We set out walking and try to hitch a ride. The 3rd vehicle pulls up and he offers to take us into Chuy town. With our luggage in the back and 3 of us huddle into a 2 seater cab we set off. He speaks no English but we learn he is a dairy farmer and appears to know everyone in town judging by the number of people waving at him. He asks where we are going and we tell him the name of the city in Brazil. Next thing we know he tells us we are now in BRAZIL and a block later he drops us at a bus station. Tickets to Pelotas R$37 (£13) with the bus leaving at 1pm. Perfect timing as it is now ¼ to 12. I walk up the street to find an ATM and realise the central strip of the main “dual carriageway” is actually the border between the two countries. On each side of it cars are moving in both directions but there are no border controls. After getting my money I return and find that Steve has worked out Brazil is now 1-hour behind (3-hours behind England) so we have a 2-hour wait. Walking around we spend the last of our Uruguayan money on drinks and stuff to eat. There are few people on the bus but a couple of km out of town we pick up more at the Brazilian exit border. The driver has taken our passports and quickly deals with entry formalities. We now realise that this point would have been the 4km walk from the Uruguayan border but going into the city was a little shorter but still happy we got a lift. Our journey continues through very flat land with cattle, rice and soy fields and wetlands. The bus stops almost every 1km to pick up or drop off a local so the journey is slow. In the wetlands we see many capivara, a rodent that is as big as a pig plus and a wide variety of birds. In Pelotas we phone our host Beatrix who arrives a few minutes later. She is a 40-year old single lady and very chatty. Her home is a very old building near the centre of the city and she has given us her room and moved into the single spare bedroom. Her English is perfect as she lived in USA for 5-years working as a nanny to save money and improve her English. She could earn more money doing that than working as a lawyer here in Brazil. Now she has returned and bought a couple of houses and works as a lawyer and English teacher. In the evening she takes us for a drive around the city where we see some very nice architecture. The wealth of the city came
from salted beef in the times before people had refrigerators. We end up at Laranjal beach on the edge of the lagoon. It’s too dark to see properly but looks very nice. After a drink in a bar I cannot resist the ice cream buffet next door with many flavours of ice cream, sauces and decorative toppings. The diet starts tomorrow.
PELOTAS, HOSPITALITY CLUB HOST BEATRIZ
PELOTAS 2, HOSPITALITY CLUB HOST BEATRIZ.
PELOTAS 3, HOSPITALITY CLUB BEATRIZ.