Party or Paraty? Both! – Part 2

My encounters in Paraty with my Parisian “friend” Michael have been weighing on my mind since I left. Misunderstanding and miscommunications are so unfortunate in life and can change friendships, relationships and partnerships. In an instance where I could have cleared things up I chose to deflect and move on as it was someone who was only going to be in my life for a few days. I guess it has been bugging me because I so rarely make that choice and Michael and I had been talking the previous day about miscommunications that sometimes occur when meeting other travellers and when speaking different languages. If only Michael and I had stuck to French (we couldn’t because a German girl was present) and  it didn’t help that the two of them were stoned when I met up with them. The details of the encounter aren’t of importance nor are they entertaining. What is important is the lesson behind it.

In fact, miscommunications happen in any language and often within the same language. And with the increase in virtual communication, text, BBMs, and WhatsApp, more and more miscommunication is occurring. I personally hate the phone. I rarely answer and often my Blackberry is on silent the whole day plus, I check it only when I want to. But with that comes misunderstandings. I remember a friend telling me about a new guy she liked and because I care about her and her happiness I asked her a lot of questions. For me, it was only to show her I cared about her. But, she went on the defensive and felt I was interrogating her. We quickly cleared it up but it was really weird. So, I have been now working on a middle ground where important conversations are done over the phone or in person or where I pick up the phone if there’s a misunderstanding via text.

I’m kicking myself for not clarifying things with Michael but I did it to avoid hurt feelings, however, in the long run it left us both with a bad taste in our mouth.

Paraty was a destination where I met some incredible people who really made my time there special. Jace and Chloe are a great couple who had met in Barcelona four years ago and now live together in Malibu. They both quit their jobs to travel for six months and are soon returning home where Chloe will be opening, what will no doubt be, a very successful restaurant in Venice Beach.

I met Eva, a young at heart grandmother from Vienna, Austria. She and I spent a fantastic evening together talking about life and she has an incredible soul. We forged a special bond in a short amount of time.

Jacob is an enigma from Sao Paulo. His father was from England, of African descent and his mother black Brazilian. He was born in Brazil and his father lived with him passing along his fluency in English and also his accent. I always felt like I was talking to a Brit and not just someone who spoke English well with an accent but someone who actually lived there. In actuality he has never been there. He’s a special person who I hope one day will make it up to Toronto, my friends would adore him.

The staff at Sereia do Mar are special as they interact with their guests and are great facilitators in bringing people together. Manuka and Nicholas are a couple, he owns the place and she runs it along with him. Flor works the evenings, speaks English well and is very warm and Luiz is the kind bartender who is not rough on the eyes.

I met also met Max who lives nearby and who spends a lot of time with the gang. Funny enough he’s from Argentina but I didn’t know that. We struggled to communicate in Portuguese for two days but it took alcohol for us to realize we could communicate if we spoke Spanish. See, there are some benefits.

Earlier, Michael and I had discussed taking one of the many boat trips that are offered around the islands but after the prior evening I no longer wanted to spend the day with him. I had felt he was disrespectful to myself and a Brazilian who had graciously invited us to the town’s celebration concert. However, I was bigger than that, I didn’t have a way to cancel, I didn’t want to be a no-show and I still wanted to go on the boat trip. As luck with have it, Jace and Chloe were also going on a boat trip so I met Michael and we went and signed up for the same boat as Jace and Chloe.

We had an amazing day, the islands were gorgeous, the sun was blazing and we snorkeled, enjoyed some good food, drinks and music on the boat. We stopped at a few secluded beaches and I really enjoyed my time. However, I felt differently towards Michael and didn’t spend a lot of time talking to him that day. On the way home Michael confronted me, saying he noticed a change in my attitude towards him. Typically I would have probably say what had been bothering me but in this case I chose not to, deflecting the situation. We parted our ways and I knew that we wouldn’t see each other again and I was fine with that.

Later that evening I found myself with some of the staff and another guest heading to a beach party in celebration of Paraty’s anniversary and I met a ton of travellers from other countries, all socializing with the locals. It was a great evening, the type of experience I relish in when I travel. A huge plus for any lone traveller is staying in a hostel like the Sereia do Mar where the staff are warm and inviting and the common area/restaurant/bar is conducive to meeting other travellers.

My plans for the next day was to travel 40 minutes by a packed city bus to Trindade and the following day to visit some waterfalls and do some canyoning before my bus to Sao Paulo later that evening. However, when I went to the bus station in Paraty to catch my bus to Trindade (pronounced trin-daj-e), I decided to buy my Sao Paulo ticket as well. Good thing I did because the only availability remaining was a bus at 8:30am and one at 8pm the next day. Unfortunately that meant that waterfalls and canyoning were out. I then continued my way to Trindade – known for Cachadaço Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. I had a very relaxing day, made my way back to town, and enetered into a café to buy some coconut water while I waited for my bus back to Paraty. Well, you can imagine my surprise in seeing Michael sitting in the same café. I went over to say “hello” and he said a quick, very awkward hello and then went back to the girl he was talking to. He then ten minutes later left alone. I walked to the bus stop and when he came he didn’t come over to me, nor did he sit with me on the bus. In all honesty it didn’t bother me but I thought, “how unbelievably weird and awkward for him,” especially after we had shared some in depth conversations about our lives. I have a feeling this whole saga may stay with me for a while, if not forever. I’m not sure it has ever happened to me before. I should have cleared things up with Michael when I had the chance and I feel badly that Michael felt bad enough that he felt avoiding me was the best thing for him to do. Oh well, I think there’s a lesson learned here. 

Finally, my stay ended in Paraty with the the best night I’ve had on my trip, a goodbye party for one of the staff at a bar in the old town. Dancing, socializing and drinking the Argentine drink,  Fernet & Coke. It has to be one of the worse tasting things you’ll ever drink, however, one acquires a taste for it after 3 or 4 drinks. Now, I’m looking forward to drinking it again in Buenos Aires and will be introducing it to friends at home.

Paraty is a definite on your visit list in Brazil and I highly recommend Sereia do Mar to experience the real side of Paraty. Paraty was a party after all.

Xoxo. J

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