Days 211 to 212: The Luck Of The Irish

Day 211. The bleedin Israeli bloke in the room woke me up at 7am slamming about. Ignorant bugger, but I still have hopes that one day I will meet a nice quiet and respectful Israeli backpacker. After breakfast and spending about an hour trying to find a shower I set off to the ‘world famous’ waterfalls. I had to get two busses there which all seemed remarkably easy after travelling through Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay. The waterfalls are very impressive, made more so by the walkways which take you over and to the edge of the falls, although this did result in me getting drenched by the spray. The falls are not only bigger than those at Niagara but also set amongst a wonderful tropical rain forest. A must see if you like big waterfalls and to be fair to New Zealand which has a lot of them, they have nothing on this!

In the evening I sat around the pool and had to listen to a bleedin Brit with a really thick London accent coming out with a constant tirade of irritating drivel. She said things like “I couldn’t believe the taxi driver couldn’t speak English, if he wants my money he should!” This was quickly followed by “God I hate walking” but this was bleedin obvious given the size of her, and she kept saying “Do you know what I mean.” There’s also an Irish bloke here who came out with the usual comment that he hated travelling as people always accused him of stealing things, so all in all not classic conversations. Later on in the evening I met two girls who were also equally irritated with the other people so we sat, talked and got very drunk. So much so that we all decided to go skinny dipping in the pool which was followed by quite a good night!

Day 212. Packed my bag and left the room briefly to visit the toilet. When I got back into the room I noticed that my wallet with my ‘hand cash’ had been moved and 50 reals taken (£13). There was only one other person in the room who had been ‘asleep’ when I left, now he’d gone and the door locked. It was quite cunning as only 50 reals was taken with the rest of my money left. I know about this old backpacker trick, it works on your self-doubt. Are you sure money was taken after all money is still in your wallet? Not taking everything makes you think that you’ve made a mistake and that you may have spent it, however, I knew how much money I had as I’d counted it to make sure I had enough for the taxi. I gave the Irish guy the benefit of the doubt so just asked him if he’d seen any money in the room and had he picked it up by mistake but I got the unusual response “Yes, what are you going to do about it then?” This was a surprise and shocked me, he basically admitted to going through my stuff. I went to the hostel owners but they wouldn’t do anything about it and by the time I got back to the room he’d legged, the luck of the Irish eh!

This has really depressed me, I’ve been around the world and not had any money stolen until this point. Being with fellow backpackers my guard had been down as I thought I could trust them. Sadly I know from now on I will not trust backpackers again and will always treat them with caution. His actions also don’t help the general image of Irish backpackers which I’d believed was a horrible stereotype, if not racist and wrong, but now I don’t know what to think. It only takes one person to give you a bad image of a country. I felt and still do feel really let down and annoyed so as soon as I could I left for the bus station for my overnight trip to Rio de Janeiro.

I got to the bus station at 11:55am with one hour to spare before the bus was meant to leave. While I sat down I noticed that the clock on the wall said 1pm the time of my departure. I suddenly realised that there was a time difference between Paraguay and Brazil and I hadn’t realised, luckily I’d just made it on time and really only because it was taking them ages to load the bus with the thousands of Christmas presents passengers had bought over the border from Paraguay. I settled down trying to relax and not stress about finding a place in Rio as it’s meant to be a little dangerous to hang around. I’d phoned earlier to see if there was room at the YHA (HI) place there but it was full. A few hours into the journey a German guy got on the bus with the same seat number on his ticket as I had. He demanded that I move but I said that I also had a ticket for this seat and I’d been sat here since the start of the journey. They found him another seat and we set off again.
A little later we had a break for dinner but when I came back the German was sat in my place. He refused to move from my seat even though I’d been sat there for over eight hours as “He’d booked his ticket first” and wasn’t moving. There was actually another person booked into the same seat but when I pointed out that he should move as her ticket was booked even earlier than his he just replied that “He was sat here now!” This really annoyed me as his attitude was quite childish and disrespectful, I was bought up to treat everyone how I expected to be treated myself, so I figured I’d treat him how he was treating me. I got the impression that he really doesn’t like the English and at the next stop I confronted him and asked why he’d been so nasty. He said he was just doing what was right, which I found really irritating as this was not the case, but I did learn that although he called himself German and spoke German he was actually born and lived in Brazil and his family had lived here since the 1940’s. Mmmm, decided not to question him further as I guessed his family might have come here due to some nasty business they were involved in during that time. All in all it has finished off what has really been quite a crap day, I just want to finish off my travelling now. I have no money, no seat and am stuck on an overnight bus which is crammed with Christmas presents in all the available space and a neo-Nazi! I bet the Irish bloke is travelling first class with my money.