Paraty: South America’s most blinding town

The streets of Paraty take no prisoner. There is an enemy lurking there that few can withstand, and all eventually succumb to. It is not the perpetually insidious mosquito that I speak of, nor the troublesome boat owners yelling ‘passeio’ at every passerby. No, it is the sunlight. Yes, the fricking sunlight. Wherever you walk in this admittedly beautiful cobbled town, the white walls and polished stones reflect the tropical sun directly into your brain in an attempt to permanently blind you. *

So after escaping Paraty with both our vision capabilities thankfully intact, we have arrived in Sao Paulo, which I believe is the biggest city in the southern hemisphere. The Lonely Planet says 19 million people inhabit these grey, towerblock lined streets, and from what we’ve seen it certainly does go on and on and on in every direction. There are no majestic rainforest-covered hills rising above the concrete like in Rio, no gorgeous sandy beaches like in Paraty, this is a city at its most functional and ugly. As a Brazilian told us last night “you want fun, you want to relax and party – you go to Rio. You want to make money, you come to Sao Paulo.”

Finally I would like to add that following on from my last post I did try an ‘espanhola’ and it was, all things considered, pretty disgusting. I fully attribute my inability to sleep that night down to that thick death liquid, but in retrospect I probably should have seen that coming. It’s difficult to describe the taste but it was something like a milkshake made from an alcoholic cow that had been solely fed on rotting old pineapples. Ironically, Jemma, my girlfriend and sprightly travelling companion (also a long time abstainer from alcohol) loved it. But there’s no accounting for taste…

* I would like to add that once you get over the brightness, it is a beautiful little place to amble around and spend a few lazy days doing very little…

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