South America, the Tucan tour begins

We departed Rio and joined a tour for 16 days around Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. As we left Rio, the rain set in. It was only days later we saw on tv, the news of the devastation the rains had caused in Rio (and QLD!) with over 700 residents of several favelas, washed away in mudslides. We were only days into the year and it was the first of the terrible disasters that would hit the world in 2011.

Paraty was our first destination on tour, about 125km south of Rio and on Ilha Grande Bay.

Paraty is supposed to be gorgeous, a popular beach holiday destination for Brazilians and international travellers alike, but by the time we arrived at our accommodation, which I am sure would normally be quaint beach villas, the roads are flooded, the rain is depressingly heavy and the mossies have settled on the town like a plague. Thank goodness I had listened to my doctor and was taking malaria tablets!

A free afternoon in Paraty old town, a quaint colonial quarter with cobblestoned streets, no cars, boutique shops, restaurants and galleries was dampened by the heavy rain.

Shopping is always such a great pick me up. From bitter experience I have learnt if you see something you like when travelling, buy it, don’t think – “I’ll come back tomorrow.” or “They will have it in the next town.”, it always ends in tears. So when I walked into Sobral in Paraty I knew I would be coming out with a shopping bag, even better, this amazing resin jewellry by Brazilian designer, Carlos Sobral, is lightweight and small so it wouldn’t enlarge my suitcase on the first day of the tour! Happy days!

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