Day 213. I must have fallen asleep for a bit as when I woke we were in a well lit bus station and the German guy was getting off. He looked quite shocked as a can of coke in his carry-on luggage had somehow opened and leaked everywhere and the large bag he had placed in the isle, which was there as he’d argued with the bus driver that he was not going to put it in the hold, had a broken handle and zip which meant half his stuff had fallen out on the floor. God works in mysterious ways you know, but as my dad would say, man invented god so was this the hand of God or the hand of man? Well, I know the answer and I also know that I wouldn’t want to be stuck in the middle of dodgy bus station in Sao Paulo in the early hours of the morning with a broken bag!
Even though I was a little happier with these events I woke up again as the sun rose but still really pissed off about the stolen money. What wasn’t helping was the fact that the bus was now running six hours late due to Christmas toy overload and I had no where to stay in Rio, which according to my guidebook is the most dangerous place on the planet and you should have accommodation booked before arriving. Shortly before arriving we stopped on the main road because of some sort of road rage incident where a car driver jumped out and started smashing the coach door, quickly driving off and twenty seven hours after leaving Foz Do Iguacu we eventually arrived in Rio a mere six hours late. I quickly found a cash machine but to my horror the visa network was down, what else was going to go wrong, I was desperate for cash as mine had been stolen. Luckily after about thirty minutes of running about the bus station I managed to find one which took MasterCard. Getting money was still not easy as cash machines here are put in little cubicles for your safety and I had to try and fit all of my bags in as there was no way I was leaving them outside. I’ve heard and read some horrible scare stories about this bus station. I managed to find a tourist office who kindly booked the hotel I wanted, wow, things were starting to go right!
I jumped into a taxi and as predicted, as Rio taxis are renowned, the meter had just broken so he set a price according to the kilometre reading. I was not happy with this as he did set a high price per km but I just wanted to get out of the station as quickly as possible as I realised that people had started to notice me and were taking too much interest for my liking. At the hotel he calculated the wrong price so I re-calculated and gave him that amount, without a tip. I worked out that I’d paid between 50% and double what I should have paid but it was worth it just to walk through the doors of the hotel.
Walking in I realised that this was it, no more running around for hotels, no more painful overnight journeys, no more hostels with backpackers stealing my things, no more stress of figuring out whether I was going to get to my next destination in time. I collapsed on the bed and switched on the TV, not a bad place at £10 a night and en-suite. With the advice from my guidebook I headed out for a quick look around town but with everything locked up safe in my room as the book said that everything I had would be stolen within seconds of heading out. The old town of Rio is quite nice but I’m exhausted after the hassles of the last week and a half so I came straight back. I find it hard to believe that it’s been nine days and well over two and a half thousand miles overland since I left La Paz with a sizable chuck of that on dirt tracks.