Monday, May 1, 2017

Destination: BRAZIL

March 1, 2017…And we are off!

5:45 AM came early but we were out the door by 6:30.  We got to Ciudad del Este by noon and ate at McDonalds.  We checked into our hotel at CIDE.  My kids are amazing at helping out their mama.  While Ryan and Jeff played tennis, the rest went to the pool.  While I spend time outside the pool blowing up floaties and nursing a baby, the swimmers entertained the non-swimmers.  They enticed them to go down the slides, carried them up the steps, and caught them at the bottom.  The kids had so much fun.  The kids loved the soccer field, the weight room, the PS4 in the lobby, and the play ground.  Then we were back at the pool for round #2 till dinner and bedtime. 
 If this doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.  Claire loved the goggles.

March 2, 2017

After 6 hours in the car, we made it to Abelardo Luz, Brazil at 1:30.  More importantly, we made it to a fun water slide in the middle of the jungle.    
 Josiah had gotten away from Jeff on the slide and splashed into the water alone.  Tyler jumped in to rescue him.  No sooner than Tyler got Josiah's head above the water, Jeff came off the slide.  When all three came up sputtering, Tyler said to Jeff, “I had Josiah until you sat on him.”

 Makayla, content to watch her siblings splash in the water
 The view from the pool
 Hiking from the pool to our chalet.

Dinner time in the chalet - Ramen noodles! 
 The view from the chalet

March 3, 2017


Another early start at 6AM and out of the chalet by 7.  We were making such good time…and then it happened.  The moment we were all waiting for but were so hoping that it would never come.  
Our van broke down!  
The transmission failed.  
On vacation.  
On the road.  
In the middle of Brazil.  
7 hours from our destination.

This scene is all too familiar for us.  Find a mechanic.  Repack bags into just what you can carry.  Just the necessities.  Leave the food.  Dump half the clothes.  Only a couple of games.  No extra books or toys.  Unload.  Repack.  Reload.  Wait for a tow truck.  


Jeff went with the two truck and the rest of us took a rented mini-bus to the bus terminal.  Our cell phone don’t work in Brazil so before we parted ways, we were trying to coordinate getting to our destination.  It was a basic strategy – we both try to get to Florionopolis somehow and at some time.  We’d stay put at the terminal until the other arrived.

We waited three hours for our bus.  Ryan really steps up to the plate and takes care of us when Jeff isn’t around.    The kids are so patient. So helpful.  They just go with the flow.  And me?  Well, I was like a duck – calm on the outside, but on the inside I was frantically trying to have a good attitude.  Keep kids quiet.  Keep kids fed.  Keep kids entertained.  Nurse baby.  Take kids to bathroom.  Change diapers.  Kids are hungry again.  Buy lunch.  Eat ice cream.  Nurse baby again.  Three hours.  I almost went nuts.

We got in line to get on the bus and the driver asked to see all our passports.  He asked to see the passports that I didn’t have.  Jeff had them and who knew where he was now.  I explained my situation in Spanish to the very unsympathetic Portuguese speaking driver.  He kept lecturing me about not having my children’s passports.  He said we couldn’t get on.  I wanted to cry.  He left for what felt like an eternity.  He finally came back and said we could get on board.  Thank you, God.
I got all the kids settled in their seats and just as I sat down I felt warmth on my hand. Exploded diaper on my hands and lap.  Thanks, Makayla.

We have 9 hours to go on the bus.  ETA: midnight.

We stopped to let more passengers on.  Julia asks, “Mom, are we there yet?”  I reply all too casually, “No, but we only have 8 hours left.”

Jeff went to two mechanic shops in town but no one could work on the van.  He was towed to the next big town.  Still no one could help.  One shop, however, said they could drop the transfer case and send it to the nearest mechanic – 7 hours away in Florionopolis.  Well, I guess it was better than  being towed the entire way.  With that taken care of, Jeff found the local terminal and caught a bus – a bus that just happened to be the one we were on.  Thank you, God.

March 4, 2017
We have a lot to be thankful for.  As I mentioned before – my kids rock.  My big kids help.  They entertain.  They take little ones to the restroom.  They read them books.  And they let them hang all over them during the day and then flop on them during the night.  My little ones are awesome travelers.  The curtail their energy and lower their voices.  They did, however, play musical seats the entire trip.
At midnight the rental house owner, Admir,  met us at the bus terminal.  He received Jeff’s distress email and even rented us a van.  Admir’s wife even bought us groceries.  We got settled into to the house and fell asleep at 3AM. be continued....

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