Having been unsuccessful the day before at ATM we return for US cash (in Venezuela they tell us to use the black market for exchg since the official rate from banks ie ATMs is only half of what you can get on the black market and costs would be prohibitive if we went with 4:1 rate)...this time we have success and should have enuf $$$ to get us thru Venezuela. Back to hostel and bus we say our good byes, really glad they came up and joined us in Uruguay!!
Bus La Paloma lvs for Chuy at 3:45pm...leaving Jake and Beth here in hostel til they depart for Montevideo on the 5th. Jake has plane ticket from B.A. on the 9th...
Thru alluvial plain, flat grasslands interspersed w/ stands of pine and herds of previously mentioned cattle/cows, sheep, and horses on the W. side of hiway while we drive along the coast and stop at various beach, surf towns. I'd say 2/3rds are youth/beach tourists 1/3rd locals on bus. Several towns looked promising, Punta de Diablo, Pedrillo, ? but LP does not mention them. Saw lots of surfers & hostels N of Cabo Polonio. Arr in Chuy at plaza just after 7 and we ck out tourist info - get some, i.e. where to find Urug soccer jersey (all sold out! boo hoo), taxi for going to immigration 2 km out where we must pick up our bus, and how much $$ we have to spend before exchg the rest w/ a guy out front casino! Back to Ruta de Dol office and get our bags and read there awhile...bus not coming til midnight! Finally, we head to immigration and sit out on the highway watching cars/trucks pass both ways, getting cold in the breeze (gets down into the upper 50s!). While waiting I discovered a line of ants travelling over 200 feet along the highway and into the grass on both sides of the cement pad we're standing on. The trail was so worn/cleared it was 1/2 inch deep and actually had a dried grass 'cover' over the last 8-10 feet on each end before disappearing into the ground. 10,000s of ants carrying bits of something in one direction to the other end...moving day??!! Ants are amazing! Bus arr late i.e. 1am, but it arrives!
Countryside continues flat in Brazil until we near P.A. then more green, green, green hills, much wetter...in flats there are wide areas of rice growing. Porto Alegre is a huge port city and definately a transport hub. From bus terminal (arr 8am) it's an easy train ride to the airport incl a free bus shuttle from train stop. We're in airport by 9:30 am...the whole day to wait til plane leaves at 7:20pm. Reading, echoes in the halls remind me we are in kid-screaming land again. We first encounter the phonom here in Brazil, little boy children seem to be tolerated when they don't get their way and commence screaming - very annoying!