Gaga in Guaruja

Posted by Atlantic Rising on 30 April 2010

After a tortuous six week wait for Brazilian customs officials we have finally been united with our car, Beatrice. Atlantic Rising is back on the road.

It was an emotional reunion on Thursday night in a wet container park in Santos. Will and I dressed down for the occasion in flip flops and shorts, looking out of place among a small army of men in hard hats. Beatrice was a little reluctant to start at first, but after a tow (she’s too heavy to push) she spluttered into life and is now recovering in a garage in Sao Paulo.

I spent several hours on Monday waiting at the port while our customs officer finished her mid-afternoon tennis lesson. I waited alongside Safmarine’s Key Account Manager, Victor a great friendly Baloo bear figure, and our freight forwarding agent, Albano. The waiting room was occupied by a melee of other agents; a group of middle-aged men who looked like they had spent most of their lives waiting there.

When the customs officer finally arrived we were led to her office where she produced our file which landed on the desk with a thud and a volley of colourful expletives. The four inch wodge of paper will have to be added to our carbon footprint.

While the customs officers played tennis, the trip had once again become a meta-adventure, played out on our laptops from the patio of the Guaruja Hostel. Outside, though unobserved by us, the streets of our fading 1970s resort became a late night battleground between criminal gangs.

The Guaruja Hostel has been our haven. Beyond its gates, pick-up trucks pass by laden with gas canisters advertising their presence with musical jingles, subjecting us to Fur Elise ad nauseam. Inside the hostel Lady Gaga blared deliriously from the radio. It made me wonder if we had become lost in the loop of this music entering the parallel universe of the Hostel Guaruja.

But Beatrice has broken the spell. With her return the clocks have started ticking and the adventure is underway again.

We have a busy schedule over the next month with visits to Fortaleza to collect our Message in a Bottle, a voyage into the Amazon and much time to make up. We hope you will stay with us for the ride.

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