Saturday, October 31, 2009


Currently, we are on a family vacation in Buzios, Brazil. We were going to leave the computer behind but Marko is trying to get to Nigeria, Africa next week. He has had to be on the computer a fair amount in an attempt to get his visa processed last minute. This has been a bit challenging. Please pray for the Lord to open the door if he is supposed to go, and if not that the door would be firmly shut.

Our family loaded up our backpacks and hopped on the local "onibus" in Santa Luzia on Tuesday night. We took the one hour bus ride into Belo Horizonte, hoping as always that we would survive without throwing up! We made it once again and were dropped off at the main bus station for a "Luxury Bus" that would take us to Buzios. The bus arrived around 7:30 P.M. and the kids were eager to explore. This was our first experience traveling the highways in luxury. The bus was complete with televisions, a bathroom, and a cooler full of water bottles. The seats reclined almost to a laying down position, so we were pretty excited about the prospect of actually getting some sleep on our ten hour bus ride into Buzios! Fortunately, the kids did get some sleep. As for Marko and I, well that's another story!

Have you ever tried to use a bathroom on a moving bus? What a nightmare! The bathrooms in an airplane are so much easier. The turbulence is nothing compared to attempting to use a toilet on a bus that rocks back and forth as it goes over bumps and around curves. Gabriella and I were in the bathroom trying to "shee shee" and brush our teeth. We had to hold onto the wall with one hand and attempt to brush our teeth with the other. The water in the sink would not drain, so it was spilling out of the sink basin all over our feet and the floor of the bathroom. Forget actually trying to go shee shee. I decided that I would hold it for the ten hour bus ride rather than EVER attempt that again!!! Fortunately, we made three stops during the long night so we were able to get off the bus and use a real restroom!

We were totally unprepared for the trip to Buzios. In an attempt to pack light, we neglected to pack sweatshirts or long pants. The air conditioning on the bus was a full tilt and it was freezing. Fortunately, the kids each had a small blanket that they had brought from the United States. They fell asleep quickly to the rocking of the bus. Marko and were miserably cold and tried our best to get some rest. We kept hoping someone would come walking down the isles of the bus offering us a blanket and pillow like they do in the Airline Industry. The problem was that there was only one employee on that bus and he happened to be the driver who was locked behind a secure door in the front of the bus! We resigned to the fact that we were going to have to suffer through the night, which all things considered, is not really suffering!

We arrived in Buzios at about 6:00 A.M. and took a short taxi ride to our hotel. We were about six hours early for check in but we decided to see if they would have mercy on us. After all, we were traveling with three children! The hotel was even more beautiful than in looked online, so we were thrilled. As Marko and I worked out an early check in with the employee, the kids ran around exploring! They were so excited about the pool which overlooked the Atlantic Ocean. It was all we could do to keep them from jumping in and waking all the guests at that wee hour of the morning! The employee happily informed us that we could check in early and proceeded to take us up to our room. We got upstairs and he let us in to our beautiful suite only to tell us that we also had the room next door. Wonderful! we thought until he told us that we would have to pay the same price for both rooms. We booked one room on line making it clear that we would have three children traveling with us. No one got back to us to let us know that we could only have a maximum of three people in one room so now they were telling us we had to pay for two rooms! We were pretty disappointed but the employee told us he thought we could work it out when the manager came in later in the morning.

We settled into our room and then decided to go for a walk along the boardwalk so as not to wake the other guests (attempting to keep our three children quiet is a joke and is a task that we have long given up on)!!! Before heading to the beach, we took turns using the bathroom which had a French "Budeaux"(spelling). Marko Gabriel, who is by nature very curious, had never seen a Budeax. He was quiet fascinated. Without asking for help he bent down and started to turn the knobs-water came spraying out of the toilet straight into his face and all over the walls! It was gross-but hilarious!! I wish I would have thought to take a picture at the time but I was too busy laughing hysterically. The photo here is a re-inactment.

The hotel would not bend on their rules, and we were not about to pay for two hotel rooms so we ended up canceling our reservation. They also told us that we would not find a hotel in town that would accommodate five people. We were all disappointed, but not discouraged. We took a deep breath and chose to be flexible. We prayed that we would find something that would suit our needs. It was a holiday weekend so we knew that it might be challenging, but we also knew that God was on our side and we believed that we would find somewhere to stay. Alas, the first hotel we stopped at had a room for five! It was not as nice as the first hotel, but the rates were much cheaper, and we had a swimming pool and a view of the ocean! What more could we ask for?!! We were thankful! We checked into the hotel and settled in for our first tropical vacation in Brazil. The need to be flexible continued, as the first three days rained like crazy! But, more on that later...

Posted are some pictures of the first hotel. I will post photos of our current hotel in my next blog.

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