I am not sure where to begin or how to write this...but here goes!
The trip to Ouro Preto and the surrounding area was quite an event. We left Friday night...though MUCH later than any of us had expected. We were supposed to leave at 7, but the bus was delayed due to traffic.
side note: this is something that I can not figure out. traffic tends to be a problem here...especially on holiday weekends, Fridays, etc... why do the people who run a public company, like our bus, not know what time they need to leave in order to be where they need to be on time.
So, we were supposed to leave at 7 and the bus shows up at 8:30. Which is when we find out that we all need photo ID's...three sets of people did not have them. We go to one's office, and two houses, and retrieve the necessary documents because if not, the bus driver would not risk having to pay Rs. 4000 (roughly $1,837) to a police man IF we are stopped, and he asks for ID.
The bus had seats for 25 people...the exact number we had including the guide. A little cozy..
So, by 9:30 we are off and on our way. Well, I am not sure what happens, (I fell asleep), but we did not even get to the hotel until 5 am. This was not expected. Our original schedule said we would leave at 7 pm and be there by about 1 am.
Next up: our guide
I can not speak about him too much in fear that I may hurt all of your ears. Yes, it may be possible to hear me screaming through this computer because of HOW BAD he was...
nothing was his fault, nothing he did was wrong, according to him, of course!
He was terrible.... he was rude, especially after some of us challenged him. He wouldn't give us any details about the tours, like what time things were happening, etc. His translations from what our Portuguese speaking guy said to what he said in English was pitiful at it's best.
For example...the local guide was telling us about the decline of the gold era, etc...
our guide was telling us about the decadence of the gold era.
The local guide wanted us to know about a particular author. Our guide said, (and I quote), "what was his name? oh, that's too difficult for me to say and since they are American it sounds all Chinese to them anyways".... (don't even get me started on that one. especially since quite a few of us understand and even speak Portuguese!)
Lash made an appearance at one point. She challenged him to a word duel... they "discussed" why we couldn't know how much time we had in a certain area. Our guide started to get very upset and Lash came in and rescued me by advising him about how all we would like to know is what the schedule is for the day. But then again, nothing is his fault!
(who is placing fault? just tell what the schedule is! is it that hard?)
They charged us extra for different vans than the ones we came in...claiming ours couldn't fit around the streets, he didn't pay for my daughter to go into one underground cavern, even though it was paid for in the price of the trip, saying that she kinda looked 5 years old...
she is 7, and though tiny, she does not look 5. I would not have her lying to save himself a few Reals....
but all this could go on and on, and I will leave you with this for the evening....
and tomorrow, we will talk about the amazing parts of the trip..
The cities of Ouro Preto, Mariana, Congohas, the caverns, called Gruta de Maquine
and of course, pictures to accompany it all!