Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ouro Preto--May 22--24

It turned out that the airport bus I took dropped me off at a Tourist Bus stop and not the long distance bus stop like I had thought it would do. Itwas now about midnight since the plane arrived late. I got in a cab and told him to take me to the Rodavaria--long distance bus station. I gave him the name of the Madrid Hotel, a LP recommended budget hotel. This would be a departure for me in that up until now I have stayed at Hostels. As we approached the area, the hordes of homeless were getting ready to sleep along the sidewalks all around the Rodavaria area including in front of the Madrid Hotel. The taxi driver said this was a dangerous place to be, but I said I would be going to the hotel right away.

After he dropped me off, I found out Madrid was locked and the night clerk said they were full up, or at least that is what I thought he said. I figured I might be staying at the bus station for the night until an old guy came up to me with a card for the Brasilia Palace Hotel which I had spotted just around the corner. He walked with me there, but rather than walk on the sidewalks, where all the homeless were settling down for the night or having yet another beer or other drink, he walked me down the middle of the street until we got to the Brasilia Palace Hotel. This place is more like a broke down palace. The price was 77BR with no Internet, but I did have a TV with one soft porn channel and I would find out in the morning whether I had hot water for my shower.

My neighbors were quiet and I quickly fell asleep and awoke my normal 6 AM time and indeed had a hot shower complete with a small sliver of soap and a towel. I packed up quickly and was handing in the keys when the night clerk told me breakfast was included. It was a great breakfast of a cheese and ham panini, sweet melon, apple and a bucket of hot coffee with hot milk as well.

I got to the Rodavaria across the street at about 6:45 AM and after asking around I found the right bus that just about to leave for the two hour ride to Ouro Preto. I was glad to get out of that area and on my way to my final tourist destination.

I arrived just about 9 AM and found that the description of this town with its well preserved buildings and steep, windy, cobblestone streets exactly as described in all of the guidebooks. I easily found the La Em Casa Hostel right on the main square--- Praca Tiradentes. The staff there was very friendly and helpful and there were only two of us guests for the first night. The weather, too had changed considerably from the 90 degree--80% humidity down to something like 55--65 degrees with fog in the early mornings. Even inside the hostel and restaurants around town these are the same temperatures inside the buildings. I guess everybody bundles up.

Praca Tiradentes

Santuario da Conceicao with Igreja de Santa Efigenia dos Pretos in the distance which was built between 1742 and 1749 by and for the Black slave community.

The Casa do Ouvidor and O Passo are two of my favorite restaurants with many others to choose from.

This was the daily special at O Passo: File de peixe a mojo de camaroes, arroz Branco, ane is de cebola empanadas e saladinha--fish smothered in shrimp filled tomato sauce with fried onion rings, rice and salad. Cost: 19.90 BR or $10.50 USD. Plus the shop of beer was 4BR and came from their own microbrewery.

Igreja NS do Rosario do Pretos
View from my dorm room-- we now have four guests here, an Australian guy and gal, who arrived separately, a French woman and me. This is now the low season for visiting this part of Brazil with most travelers heading for the warm, sunny beaches to the north. Meanwhile, we are all here in the living room bundled up with our bed blankets draped around us to cut the chill.

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