Race to Rio


This blog entry about the events of Wednesday, February 11, 2004 was originally posted on February 13, 2004.

DAY 116:  In CBS’s Emmy award-winning reality show The Amazing Race — coincidentally, a show I tried to get on with wheat — teams of two must get over their differences and work as a team to beat other teams to the finishing checkpoint in some city around the world.  Without being on the actual show, I had no definite finish line to get to.

Many mornings in my global trip so far, I’d wake up and not know what would happen that day or where I would be that night.  Lara and I knew we wanted to check out of Foz do Iguaçu, but where we would go we didn’t know just yet.  At breakfast, I searched for a coastal pirate town that Sam had mentioned to me once in Sucre — I found it in my Lonely Planet book:  Parati (pronounced pah-RAH-chee). 

The Four British College Girls and Justin the Canadian joined me at the breakfast table as I ate some frosted flakes.  They too were set to check out of the hostel in hopes of getting a bus to Rio de Janeiro.

LARA AND I WERE LOW ON CASH and had no choice but to take a bus into town since the guy at the hostel said the ATM at the international bus terminal didn’t always work.  We lugged our bags — they seemed to get heavier as time went on — on the two buses to the central terminal.  We continued our team effort; I went out to search for an ATM while Lara kept an eye on the bags.  The two nearby banks didn’t accept my card, but after asking around, I found a usable ATM inside a pharmacy.  I took a picture of the drugstore to show to Lara for when I kept bag watch.

One quick bus ride later, we were back at the International Terminal.  I kept bag watch while Lara went to get us tickets for Parati — but as we thought, it was only accessible by going to Rio de Janeiro first and backtracking.

“Rio then?” she asked me across the way.


But the bus agent said they were all sold out for the day.  Luckily, he recommended another company way down the long hall.  Lara kept bag watch while I went to investigate.  The other company had two seats together on a 2:40 p.m. — it too didn’t stop in Parati, and so Rio it was.

I walked back down the hall as people scrambled back and forth.  Lara looked at me to see what was up.  I smiled and held up the tickets in my hand.

“We’re going to Rio, baby!”

IN THE TWO AND A HALF HOURS TO KILL, we camped out at a table in the cafeteria to write.  Lara caught up on her journal while I worked on the last batch of postcards to Blog sponsors in South America.  Joining our camp were two English guys we had met in our hostel, Justin the Canadian and The Four British College Girls.  Justin and the girls also had a 2:40 p.m. bus for Rio, but with another company from that of mine and Lara’s.

“We’ll race to Rio then,” I suggested to Alice, one of the four girls.  I thought it’d be a cool little moment as per The Amazing Race.

“Yeah,” she answered unenthusiastically.  Apparently she wasn’t into the travel reality show as much as I was.

BETWEEN SNACKS OF BRAZILIAN PASTELS, we all took turns using the bus terminal’s one internet connection until it was time to go.  The Four British College Girls were still in a daze, sitting in the waiting room — if it weren’t for me to remind them what time it was, they might have missed their bus.

Team Lara & Erik got on Bus No. 1, the first of two to depart at 2:40 p.m. bound for Rio de Janeiro.  We sat in the back like two journalists writing notes in our notepads to catch up on our events while waiting for the A/C to kick in.

The movies Basic and Biker Boyz came on (dubbed in Portuguese) as we rode through the countryside (picture above).  We stopped at a service stop for a dinner break and had food from the por quilorestaurant, a hot plate buffet where you paid R$11.90 per kilo of food.  Ocean’s Eleven came on the bus monitors afterwards — luckily still in English — which killed two more hours of the estimated 22-hour bus journey.  We killed another hour making fun of Justin Timberlake’s lyrics coming out of Lara’s Discman until the batteries died and I fell asleep.

The bus cruised through the night.  I wondered where the “other team” was, but I’m sure they didn’t wonder about us.

Next entry: Welcome to Rio

Previous entry: Dumb and Dumber Day

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Comments for “Race to Rio”

  • 22-hr bus ride?!?  DUDE - that’s just SOUNDS worse than a 22-hr plane ride with the bug!

    too bad there isnt a prize at the end of the race…or is there? wink

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  12:25 PM

  • HEY ALL:  Looks like I’ll be in a LVIZ for the next two weeks in Rio…  I’ll catch up when I can…

    NEVEN:  Yeah, we’re a great traveling team, but only until we split up again…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  12:26 PM

  • ANIN:  The race ends in 2005, NYC.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  03:19 PM

  • This website is such a great idea & following your adventure like this is really interesting, especially as I’m planning on going to South America myself in a few months time. Can’t wait to be out there ...in the bright sunshine. Just wondering how much money do you need to do a trip like this, is it quite cheap out there?

    Later man,

    Posted by SUPER 8  on  02/13  at  07:05 PM

  • Erik: Your team may be ahead now… but watchout for the Airport equalizer!  (I LOVE Amazing Race!)

    I’ve been around for a while, so I should know what LVIZ stands for, but I don’t…. Enlighten me someone?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  11:33 PM

  • TDOT,  LOL, I’ve been around since the beginning myself and it’s funny cause I wondered the same thing, what does LVIZ stand for??  So will somoene will enlighten both of us.


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/14  at  03:52 PM

  • LVIZ = Low Volume Internet Zone

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/14  at  04:25 PM

  • LVIZ= which means that markty has to come up with something to entertain us with again ..

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/14  at  04:55 PM

  • Thanks markyt!

    LVIZ = Dail-up = WTF who still has Dail-up?!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/15  at  02:43 AM

  • SUPER 8:  Hey there and welcome to the Fellowship of The Blog…

    Depending on which country you go, the prices fluctuate, but coming from the UK (if that is correct), South America is one huge bargain…  Bolivia is the cheapest so far… you can get by comfortably on about 5-6 quid a day, without even scrimping, even less if you budget a little.

    Brazil is more expensive, but still nothing compared the UK or US… although you DO have to go out and find a bargain…  During Carnivale season, the prices of everything triple or quadruple though.

    Argentina used to be very expensive, but after the economic collapse in late 2000, the playing field was emptied and they are as cheap as the other countries.

    The most expensive country so I’ve heard so far is Chile.


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/15  at  12:30 PM

  • I can’t think of anything I’d like to do for 22 hours.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/19  at  09:02 PM

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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

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Next entry:
Welcome to Rio

Previous entry:
Dumb and Dumber Day


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