Friday, April 29, 2011

Paraty - an enchanted place

Glorita, her cousin, Angela, and I left Rio around noon on Thursday to drive to Paraty, a kind of fishing village on the coast half way between Rio and Sao Paulo.  The drive down was beautiful as we weaved between the coast and lush green hills.   We arrived in Paraty about 5:00 after stopping for lunch.

Arthur, Clo and the boys, on the other hand, left Sao Paulo at 9:30 Thursday morning.  The drive to Paraty should have taken them about 5 hours as well.  Instead, it took 12 hours, and they arrived bedraggled at 9:30 at night! We hadn't experienced any traffic from Rio because people GO to Rio for long holiday weekends. 
It is beautiful and there are gorgeous beaches, so even the Cariocans stay in the city.  Sao Paulo, on the other hand, is a huge concrete city and when a long weekend offers itself, everyone wants to leave and go to the coast.  Arthur said that over 386,000 cars left Sao Paulo on Thursday.

It was almost like an evacuation, and there were times when they sat in traffic not moving for more than ten minutes.  How they did it with three children in the car, I can't begin to know!

The owner of our cottage had told us of the horrendous traffic from Sao Paulo, so after Glorita, Angela and I had settled in, we decided to head for the old town of Paraty to have dinner.

 The town was settled more than two hundred years ago by those seeking gold.  It is absolutely charming with little shops alongside cobblestone roads.  All the shops used to be the homes of the gold miners, and they have remained the same, so you really get a feeling for what the town must have been like originally.

We ended up eating at a kind of Italian place.  We had a delicious lobster meal that came in two parts: the first was a pasta dish with the lobster meat in it, followed by a stuffed lobster.  We ate outside on the cobblestone watching all the people go by.

When we returned to our place, Arthur & Clo had just pulled in.  The boys were very excited to be there and seemed to have amazing energy considering they had been sitting in a car for 12 hours.  Arthur and Clo had nothing left!!

The next morning we headed out to find one of the many beaches in the area.  We got some excellent advice from the owners of where we were staying and found a beautiful beach.  We parked in a lot by the water's edge where many fishing boats were moored, and then walked down a path to the beach.

It was really quite beautiful, and the kids immediately headed for the water which was warm but refreshing - so different from the cold Pacific Ocean!

 Glorita was not about to make the trek back to the car, so she commandeered a fisherman to take her back by boat.  Of course the kids thought that was a great idea, so we all hopped aboard.  It was a fun trip!

 We returned home and I took the boys on a walk along the river towards town where Glorita, Angela, Arthur & Clo were going to meet us for dinner.  The river walk was charming.  We saw an egret perched on the prow of a boat, and some very cute houses that lined the pathways.

 We had a delicious meal of Pastilles - a deep fried pocket of dough filled with various choice fillings.  Nicky likes his with hearts of palm;  Timmy and I had a pizza filling.  There was cheese, meat, and other selections.  Yum!!

 The next day, Saturday, Glorita and Angela left for Rio, and we headed out to a different beach, but not before dying some Easter Eggs which Arthur had blown out and brought up from Sao Paulo!

The beach was VERY crowded- we almost couldn't find a parking place amid the seemingly thousands of cars.  But the surf was quite strong and Timmy & Nicky LOVED it!

Because we didn't want to have another 12 hour road trip home on Sunday, we decided to leave after an early supper on Saturday night.  We hit the road about 6:00 and had pretty smooth sailing arriving in Sao Paulo around 11:00.  They boys slept most of the way, and it was a nice trip.

Sunday was both Easter AND Matthew's 4th birthday!!  We headed out to the club where we tried to convince Matthew that all the Easter decorations were made just for him because it was his birthday!!

  After we had a lovely buffet dinner at the Club, we all went back to Olga and Peter's house for birthday cake and more presents. 

Then we went outside for an Easter Egg hunt.  The boys were so excited and had a wonderful time.  And Matthew, the birthday boy, found the golden egg which had American money hidden inside!!

 The next day was my last.  I would be leaving late Monday evening to return home.  After the boys returned from school, and homework was done, a final project we embarked on was to paint the small wooden boats that the boys had bought in Paraty.  It was really fun.

Looking over these pictures from my desk in San Francisco makes me ache a bit.  It was a fun visit, and I miss being close to these children.  Let's hope they return to the States before too long!

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