If not for the assistance of Mauro and Silvana, both of whom went out of their way to find the information and tell us, we would have paid double the cab fare. While it's not a big amount, the principle of honesty can be preserved. The most important lesson for us was to really leverage the local people to find out things like the correct fare, then to politely insist upon something in that range until they realize that you know right from wrong on the price quote. K also looked up how to ask to set the meter to zero, but the next guy will probably try a different trick on us.
It was about 8AM, and Silvana, who speaks English, signed us in and told us she had one room available immediately, and a somewhat larger one available in the afternoon, should we want to wait. We took a look at the available room, and it was just fine. Then Silvana showed us to the breakfast room and proceeded to feed us ham, cheese, fruit, bread, cakes, coffee, and juice - all fresh and delicious. Then we retired to the room (#5), turned out the lights, and slept until almost 1PM. It was a blessed rest after the uncomfortable night on the bus.
|Pousada Bella Casa|
The place is called Pousada Bella Casa (the beautiful house), and Silvana, who works the business along with her sister, gave us some nice literature about the town and the nearby sights, restaurants, shopping, and the like. The rain had gone and the sun had come out, so we launched out to explore the town. First stop was the Bradesco bank, where we got some more Brazilian cash. Then we walked the streets, looking in the shops, watching the traffic, and soaking in the atmosphere. We followed some signs to the Katharina Hostel Bar, maybe for a mile, just for something to do. The city is laid out in a grid, so no problem with getting lost or returning. The Katharina was a pretty nice hostel, and we stopped there to enjoy some beer in their patio, checking the email and making some calls using their very good internet connection. We returned to our pousada to refresh, and Silvana was there with a big smile, as always.
Because we had taken the room to sleep in the morning, we were not in the main house, but in a separate structure (with two separate guest quarters under one roof) in the front courtyard. There was a small amount of traffic noise, mostly screened by the excellent air conditioning. We had slept very well using ear plugs. In contrast there was a very large amount of noise from our neighbors next door, an Italian family of husband, wife, and daughter of 5 years old. It must be true that Italians are a nation of passion, because all three expressed their passion constantly and vocally with high volume. I mentioned it to Silvana, and she told me the family had been there for 11 days, and they were getting tired of each others' company. She offered to move us, but since we had already slept in the bed, we declined, and returned to the room to refresh. There are two doors to the separate house, and this time the outer one was closed, and the Italians' room was open. We came in and went into our room, under the glare of the wife. Apparently we invaded her territory. About 10 minutes later Silvana came by with a key, and almost begged us to look at another room. We did so, and Room #1, inside the main home, on the courtyard, with the door next to the pool, was gorgeous, spacious, and wonderful. No traffic noise. No family noise. There was construction noise from a building next door, but only during they day from 7:30 AM to maybe 6PM. No problem for us, as we would always be awake by then. Silvana insisted that we should move, and so we did. The new place is much better suited for us, and we could leave the Italians to work out their differences and we could live in peace.
|Room #5 (and #6 behind, with Italians)|
|Bella Casa Outer Courtyard|