There I stood at the ATM and my card was not working. I had already tried at 4 different ATMs. I was upset and running out of cash and really needed to get cash out. I planned to enjoy some relaxing time in a small town and instead spent it with a bank. I went back to the hostel and called the bank. That is when I found out my debit card was compromised and why it didn’t allow me to withdraw any money. I asked how and they said, someone had cloned the card and was also attempting to withdraw and let me know a new one had to be sent to me. I was beyond pissed and asked how long it would take and they said anywhere from 5 – 10 days. As soon as I heard that I knew that the 10 days I wanted to spend on Ilha Grande were not going to happen because I only had about $100 cash on me and no way that would last that long. Dealing with the bank turned out to be a nightmare mostly because of the shitty WiFi I had in the hostel.
—Paraty is a cute colonial town painted in white with colorful windows and doors.—
I let them know that I was not at home and that I would need the card to be shipped overseas to Brazil. They said that could be done, but would need to fill out extra paper work to verify it’s me and the address the card will be sent to. They emailed me the forms I needed to fill out and asked me to send them back via the online banking site. I asked the hostel if I could have my card sent to them and they said yes. I filled out the paper work and tried sending it to them and it wasn’t happening. As they were informing me of what other way I can do it the power went out. Yes the power went out and didn’t come back for 13 hours. That night I didn’t sleep worried about my bank card and sweating because without power the AC doesn’t work. The next morning I woke up and talked with the bank and they let me know to download a fax app and fax them the forms. I did just that and after a few tries it went through. I called to verify that they received it and it did. We verified all the information and they informed me that everything should be good to go. They also informed me that I could call later to get the tracking number of the debit card and keep track of it. I was happy and took off with friends to the beach that day and made the most of it. The next morning I called again and they let me know the tracking number was not ready but that they would email it to me. I wasn’t happy about that, but was glad to hear everything was fine and it was being processed to be shipped out soon. I caught my bus and ferry to Ilha Grande. There I spent 5 days instead of 10 and have shared how that all went down.
—A man riding a bike past a house in Paraty.—
After 5 days on Ilha Grande I returned to the hostel in Paraty and of course still no card. The card had actually been held at customs while I was on Isha Grande. I had to call them and give them my passport number and verify it was not merchandise. I had no choice, but to keep waiting and well the good thing was that my plans were open as long as I was able to make my flight to Iguazu Falls. So I arrived back and logged onto Grindr. Yes of course it’s one of the first things I do when I arrive in a new city to get a taste of whats around me…lol. I logged on and this very cute guy messaged me (very cute guys NEVER message me…lol). We talked a little and exchanged photos. He seemed sweet and moments later asked me to meet him at the main church in Plaza Martzel at midnight. I told him MIDNIGHT? He said, “yes midnight because I work late”. I thought about it because I don’t like meeting people at night, but know that it’s a busy Plaza so should be fine. Midnight arrived and we met up.
—It’s so beautiful, simple and a wonderland for minimalist.—
We looked at each other and with a look kind of agreed that it was just going to work. With a look I thought he was cute and he agreed I was cute. He tells me he is going to take me to his favorite spot in town. I was nervous because it was the very end of a peer that goes far into the water. We made it to the end and just sat there. We were alone not a single other person in sight. We talked for what seemed like forever and got to know each other. Then he kissed me and the kiss was great. We kept kissing and both got very excited. We felt each other while kissing and moments later each went down on each other. The chemistry was on point and we both wanted more. He asked me if I wanted to go to his place. He let me know it wasn’t close, but not so far either and walking distance. I thought why not and we went. It was a good 30 minute walk until we finally arrived. When he opened the door I was a bit shocked. It was just a square bedroom with a toilet and shower attached to it. Not even a closet and I noticed it was a bit dirty, but carried on anyway. I thought this was going to be a one night thing.
So we arrived and ended up having sex right away. It was nice and had sex twice that night an then again in the morning. That night he had warned me that if I kept the fan on he would get sick. I wanted the fan on though because I was hot. That morning we agreed to meet up again at midnight. Sadly that didn’t happen because he was sick. We did meet up, but I did not go to his place. We just met up and talked instead. That talk left me in tears.
—It’s a town full of arts and crafts.—
He let me know that he moved to Paraty from Sao Paulo with only $R20 (<$7) in his pockets. He arrived and had no choice, but to live in the slums. He did everything in his power to get out of there with random jobs. Now he’s finally out. He works as a waiter everyday of the week and only makes $R1000 (<$333) a month. Of that half of it goes to rent. So then he only has $R500 for the rest of the month to pay other bills and try to survive and save a little. I couldn’t believe it at all. Then he told me, “Jaime I live in paradise, but it’s not mine it’s for the tourist. I’m just a slave here.” – my heart was sinking… I wanted to cry and then he told me how he wishes he could have one day off to rest and do nothing for a change. I felt horrible because here I am on a two year trip around the world…. fuck I’m on my second two year trip around the world and this guy can’t even get a day off. For some reason I asked him if that’s why he really hadn’t cleaned his apartment (I don’t know why I asked that, but did) and he let me know he can’t really clean his apartment because he can not afford to buy the things he needs to clean it. I was fighting the tears back and asked him if I could please take him shopping before I leave Paraty. He said, “yes”. Ahh that night was intense and we only talked for less than an hour. We made plans to meet up again the next night.
That next day I spent it at the hostel waiting for my debit card and working on my blog. My debit card finally arrived. I was so excited I couldn’t believe it. That meant I could leave, but I didn’t want to just yet now that I met this guy. That night we met up at midnight and went straight to his place. We were both tired so just had sex and went to sleep together. The next morning we had sex again and then got dressed. I was taking him shopping.
—It’s just too cute and perfect.—
We got a cart and slowly started to put things in it. We started with bars of soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, a body scrub, a cute lime green trash can, rug, broom, dust pan, dog food and few other essentials. It was only things he needed. He didn’t once put anything he didn’t need. As we were filling up the cart I was just thinking fuck I have never gone without any of these things because I couldn’t afford them. Spending $50 of mine to help someone out is nothing in the grand scheme of things and was glad I was able to help him out. Also he is an amazing guy and to let someone help you is not easy. We walked back to his apartment and started cleaning. He cleaned the shower and toilet while I swept the bedroom. Dog hair every where and if you have met me you know I can not stand dog hair and I think that is why I asked about his apartment not being clean, because it wasn’t really dirty just had dog hair everywhere. I swept it all up and organized things up a bit. When we were done we were already naked cleaning from the heat so we had sex in the shower and then rested a bit. It was almost time for him to go to work so I asked him if I could take him to lunch before hand and he said, “yes”. We found a cheap place to eat and ate. While we were eating he said, “Thank you.” I said, “For what?” he said, “Because I can’t remember the last time I had lunch before.” I wanted to cry right then and there, but just said, “no problem”. It was gut wrenching. Being with him was so eye opening. I was seeing a side of Paraty tourist don’t see. Then we said our see you later because we made plans to meet up again that night.
—Two guys restoring/painting a house from 1856.—
The night arrived and it was going to be our last night together. We had sex twice again and then just spent the rest of the night talking. We didn’t want to fall asleep. We finally did though and night turned into morning. We woke up and held each other and avoided the fact that I needed to be at the hostel at 10am to checkout and change dorms. We had sex one last time and it was the perfect way to end it. We made plans to see each other the next night but we did not want to spend it together because it would be harder to say goodbye. Before I left that morning he asked me to please write him a letter. Turns out he likes to collect a letter from people he meets in his life that mean something to him. He said to write what I feel in the letter. I went back to the hostel and enjoyed a day of doing nothing and writing his letter.
—A lady cleaning the window of a house.—
The time came to see him one last time where we first met in front of the church in the plaza. It was pouring rain, but I wasn’t not going to see him. So went out in the rain and waited for him in front of the church like I had every night before. There I was waiting when he finally strolled up in his bike that is falling apart. He looked so heartbroken and a bit sad, I knew why. We talked he said thanks for everything and called me his “crazy gringo angel vacation passion” one last time and said a million other nice things. I thanked him too and then we said our goodbye. He looked at me and there in front of the church door kissed me one last time as the rain continued to fall. I walked back to my hostel with the letter he gave me in hand and felt sad and guilty. I know I didn’t allow myself to get attached at all to him. I just didn’t want to go through what happened with the guy in Montevideo. I feel so guilty about it because according to the letter he fell in love with me. I feel bad because I didn’t. Yes it was nice and amazing and I’m glad I was able to help him. I did that for him. It’s who I am… I will help anyone if I can. It was just all great, but that was it for me… nothing more. I have my heart set on him in Cairo and I know how to enjoy sex with out feelings in the mean time. Don’t judge I am human after all and single. I know I shouldn’t play with peoples emotions, but I can’t help it that he fell for me and maybe that is why I got sick. Karma is a bitch and even though it wasn’t part of my plans it happened.
Looking back at this I think it was a more profound experience for me. It honestly showed me a side of a place that looks perfect on the surface when in reality it is being run by people who are barely making it by. It also reminded me how lucky I am to be from where I am from. Yes I am lucky because at the end of the day where you are born will dictate a big portion of the life you end up living or can live. I think I have mentioned this before, but travel isn’t about the places you see it is about the people you meet along the way. We all cross paths at a certain point in time for a reason unknown to us at the moment. Sometimes we never know, but sometimes that reason is to remind us to be thankful for what we have and to always help others when we can. This guy was a genuine hardworking man who never asked for anything. I was the one that offered and helped because I can.
I honestly don’t know what else to say. I wanted to share this not because it’s a crazy fling in Brazil, but because beyond the fling I hope people see the reality of life for many locals we encounter day to day as we travel the world. Travel is a privilege & every person we meet has a story… don’t ever forget that.