Mar 122008

My trip to Brazil was finally drawing to a close. It was time to head back into civilization – into Rio – for one last day in South America before flying through Panama and back home.

We jumped into the jungle lodge owner’s little blue VW Bug and caught a ride to the bus station, along with our two giant backpacks and three kids who were hitching a ride to school.

It was pretty cramped.

Then we hopped out, smearing our clothing with grease from the seat mechanisms in the process.

Back at Casimiro de Abreu bus station, the first thing we noticed was a piece of paper hanging on the wall next to the bathroom – with detailed instructions about how to reach Jungle Beach lodge. I guess that after our difficulty reaching the place two days earlier, they finally decided to post some coherent instructions! 😛

The sweet woman who helped us on the way there was also back on duty. We thanked her again, and assured her that we reached the place no problem.

We caught a bus and arrived in Rio in good time, checking Peder into Stone of a Beach hostel before starting out into the city. But because it was still raining and/or completely overcast, like every single other day I spent there, we couldn’t do much of what we wanted. Instead we just relaxed a bit, headed over to Silvia’s to say goodbye, and walked down to the main beachfront road so I could catch a bus to the airport. It turned out that the buses were no longer running, so I took a cab instead. The first three drivers tried to charge me 65 reais, nearly double what Silvia paid for the inbound trip. But I finally found someone willing to not rip me off (willing to go by meter), a VERY friendly guy who wanted to chat the whole way there despite speaking virtually no English.

A couple hours later I was flying over the Amazon and out of Brazil.

…Right after the TSA jackasses felt it necessary to throw away my toothpaste and hairgel. Give me a break. Don’t even get me started on how absolutely ridiculous the idiot-USA’s regulations have gotten these days 😡

Luckily the plane was almost empty, and I was fortunate to have an entire row to myself. I woke up only occasionally to scratch the pile of jungle bugbites that covered both my feet or to readjust my body to prevent my lower legs from touching my carry-on. I still felt pretty filthy from having spent the day splashing around Rio’s streets in the rain.

Then I was in Panama, my “Freebie Country.”

(Note: This entry was originally posted on Mar 15, and was part of the next; I later split them and changed the date to fit the chronology of events.)

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