Slow life in Paraty continues... with one exception
Since Monday, the 31st October, we have moved to a different place - Breda Hostel. We wanted a change of the surroundings, to try something new and potentially save a couple of euros per day. We found Breda in the historical centre of Paraty while walking around. It is right on the coastline, by the pier with all the colorful boats around it. So we booked in and the rest of our days mostly consist of delicious breakfast with relaxing bossa nova music in the background, lying in the hammock under palm trees, walking around the town, browsing and planning the upcoming travel and cooking something for lunch...
It felt like we have got used to such slow life and everything is going perfect for us except one unfortunate evening when we were walking back to our hostel from a small BBQ party on the other side of the town. After about a 2 kilometer walk we had about 100 meters left to the gates of our hostel. There was a nice old-style building, lit by the authentic hanging torch and a BMW F800GSA parked right in front of it. We knew the motorcycle - it belonged to a local gentleman we spoke to a few days ago when we first spotted him in town. We stopped for a few moments to take a picture of the whole set with a motorcycle and the building in the background. At the same moment the delivery truck stopped by and two men took out some boxes and walked down the street to deliver them. The moment they were gone from our sight, a motorcycle with two young guys on it rode by with a sound of plastic parts flapping on the uneven surface of the unpaved street. Suddenly the motorcycle turned around and came straight at us. The guys jumped off in front of us and started shouting something in Portuguese and pointing a gun at us. We tried giving them the cash we had in our pockets - we didn't have much - only a 20 Brazilian Reals bill (worth about 6 Euros). They took it and continued shouting something. When I tried telling them in English that we don't understand what they want, they both jumped on me to pull out my photo-camera from my hands. As soon as they got it, they were gone in seconds. We were left standing there shocked. On one hand we're lucky to be unharmed, on other hand it's significant financial loss for us... Especially having in mind that such cameras here in Brazil cost about 3 times more than in the US or Europe.
We walked to the hostel and asked staff to call the police. Soon after that two policemen came. It was ironic - they were dressed like they are ready to calm down a riot - with the combat gloves, giant automatic guns handing on their chest... but with a smile on their face. They listened to our story, showed us a picture of a motorcycle that was stolen that morning (it really looked like the one we saw a few moments ago) and a video-footage from another town or village which had shooting in one of the buildings a few days ago. I guess they tried to cheer us up that way - we are lucky to be unharmed... We agreed that we will go to the police department the next morning and fill in the report.
That was exactly what we did the next morning. We walked to the police department and found investigators there walking around in sneakers or even flip-flops. Some of them had guns hanging on the waist of their shorts or jeans and all wore their police badges proudly on their chests. Just when we the investigator started filling in a form on his desktop computer, the electricity went down in the whole building. People started gathering in from other rooms around us. They spoke something in Portuguese and smiled at each other with a bit of irony. We were told our report is the fourth one from last night... There were at least three more attacks. While we were there a local lady came in to report her house being broken in and robbed as well. So it seems that police life is not boring here in Brazil. And we were told many times that Paraty is a safe place.
But if we look at the bright side, we are lucky to have avoided getting holes in our bodies and we had very few pictures stored in the camera, since we had copied everything to the laptop, so the loss is only a financial one. We will have to take some time now to figure out how to get a new camera at a reasonable price...
To take away the stress caused by this experience, just after finishing at the police, we rushed back to get on the boat-tour which was leaving at noon. We got there just in time and after we jumped on the boat, it sailed away for the day. The boat called Gladiador had a friendly young crew, ready to have a good time with us. The weather was perfect (here in Paraty, they have more rain than average in this region, so every day with clear sky is very precious for them) and so we enjoyed the incredible views around us all day long while on the boat.
On this tour we had great company - our hostel neighbors Gwen and Kevin were also there. The couple from Netherlands with already a 14 months travelling experience under their belt and a plan to travel around South America until August next year. We had great time together, spoke a lot about travelling, jumped off a boat for a swim in the ocean, fed bananas to cute little monkeys, watched the funny capybaras and some big proud lizards sniff around on the rocks by the water, had lunch in fishermen's restaurant on the shore, sped around on the water scooter and watched turtles slowly diving out of the water to breathe in air before diving back to the deep. Gwen and Kevin were very kind to share with us the pictures they took during the day.
In the evening we got back to the hostel laughing and chatting with each other. Just as we came in to the garden I spotted two motorcycles parked in the corner under the palm trees. I checked the licence plates on them and found that they were French. Apparently, two gentlemen, brothers from France - Laurent and Jean-Marc - are traveling on their motorcycles around South America. So we spent the evening chatting in French and English about our travelling plans, previous and the upcoming trips.
I even got to ride Jean-Marc's BMW F800GT! And the stay at the hostel got brand new colors - with lots of joking, laughing, drinking caipirinhas and even listening to some live music at night.