Well after 36 hours through Tropical Rain Forest and down town Sao Paulo, flight refuels, diversions and storms I have finally arrived. Wow what a place, the contrasts are immense and I am still coming to terms with the overwhelming levels of poverty here.
My Hotel is perfect and very very white! Slightly worrying with combination of bikes,with and mud on the cards!! Plus 6 stories to get the bike up!
I have the prerequisite statue of Christ overlooking my room he stands like Rio de Janeiro up on the cliffs above the beach. I have been travelling for 37 hours since I left home on Sunday morning. Finally arriving at 9pm local time last night. My flight was interesting ‘brasilian budget style’, small, no very small seats, obligatory big man as neighbour and sound that did not work on my tv! Robin Hood is just not the same without noise! It was one of the bumpiest flights I have taken in a long time, so much so that we diverted to get more fuel into Recife in Northern Brasil.
The delay put us two hours behind. Landing in Sao Paulo is an interesting affair. Bags took about an hour to arrive and it was almost impossible to fight your way through trollies and people to get them. Once they finally arrived it took about an hour to get through the people and bags trying to come into the arrivals area.. Lots of trolley rage for sure. Then more immagration and more trolley rage! The realisation dawned on me that there was no way I would make it across Saol Paulo and catch my connecting flight. Fortunately Jamie and I had bumped into Joe a fellow Brit racer. He was driving to the race and I scored a ride. All be it, a little tight with luggage to two bike bags ina saloon!
I neglected to note that the destination was 790km way though aaaagh! It took an hour of Tomtom specialness to get us through some rather undesirable areas of Sao Paulo and onto the hiighway south. Then onto a road that snaked its way for miles through Banana plantations, swamps and then beautiful Atalantic Rain Forest and Jungle. The crazy thing is that the road is dual carriageway but people cross, walk down the middle and even fly kites from the central barrier. Families take picnics on the hard shoulder and bikes seem to have more rights of way than cars.! Most minor roads are dirt tracks it seems and most people live in two room tin shacks, with no electricity and very poor standard of living. It’s not until you get further south that the houses and standard improves. Balneal Cambroui is a high rise beach resort with busy sea front, white sandy beach and lots of people. I have only had a few minutes to see it so far but will go out after brekkie to see what it’s really like. For now though, its unpacking, bike building and race registration.