If you missed the news previously, I decided to take a short break from my relentless cycling schedule and get a bus between Brasilia and Cuiabá. I’m grateful to Luciano for kindly letting me leave my bike and bags at his apartment in Brasilia (I’ll fly back there on Friday) so I’m travelling light with just a few non-cycling clothes plus washbag.
On Weds morning I took the metro to the bus station and bought a single ticket to Anápolis, then had time to get onto the FIFA ticketing website via my smartphone and buy two tickets for the Argentina v Iran World Cup game in Belo Horizonte on 21st June – I’ll fly in that morning before England play there a few days later – and I’m going to take Jane who was my host in BH to say thanks for all her help, plus it was her birthday on Weds when I invited her so a nice coincidence!
On arrival in Anápolis I was met by Alexandre who’d invited me to visit his home town after discovering my #SambaCycle online. We drove through the city, passing a lovely park that was recently developed by the very popular local mayor, then the football theme of the day began. Alexandre supports Associação Atlética Anapolina (known as just Anapolina) and we stopped at his friend’s house who’s the club’s Marketing Director and he gave me a team shirt! We then went to the stadium for a quick look inside:
After collecting his housemate we had a good self-service lunch of typical local food and then drove to Pirenópolis for an ice-cream amongst its pretty cobbled streets before stopping to see an impressive waterfall on the way to Corumbá.
The Anapolina football team are currently training in Corumbá while their own facility is being developed back in Anapolis, so we stopped by to watch the players being put through their paces in preparation for an important game on Sunday.
All good so far, but then my luck changed a little bit. Alexandre’s car had been overheating all day and when we went to leave the footy pitch it finally gave up. We tried a push start but no joy, however, we did roll it to directly outside a garage with a mechanic there watching our struggles – he checked the engine and said it would take a couple of days to fix! So we went back to watch more footy and waited until the team’s goalkeeping coach was able to give us a ride back to Anapolis.
At 7.30pm he dropped us off at the bus station where I bought a ticket for the 8pm service to Cuiabá, a journey which the bus company guy said would take 12 hours, so I began to think about what to do in Cuiabá when I’d arrive at 8am the next morning. However, the bus was late, very late, apparently due to a protest on the highway between here and Brasilia (locals unhappy about poor quality school buses, I was told later) and I eventually departed about 10pm.
It was actually a really decent coach and so was comfortable enough for me to sleep through a fair chunk of the night. In the morning light I checked our location to find that we were nowhere near Cuiabá and so the 12 hour journey time was clearly way off. Soon we had a slight delay to pass a crashed lorry, but that was just an appetiser for a massive traffic jam later which left us static for about 4 hours in total! I’ve no idea what caused the delay this time.
Eventually, 24 hours after I’d arrived at Anapolis bus station, we pulled into the rodoviária in central Cuiabá, phew! After crossing into Mato Grosso state I’m now on Amazon Time so 4 hours behind the UK, which meant it was 6.30pm and my host Léo had come to pick me up on his way home from work. We drove to his house which, in pretty typical Brazilian style I’ve come to realise, he shares with his parents and grandmother. Once showered and changed we headed out for beers with some of his friends, a really fun bunch to hang out with. I only managed to take one photo before I left Léo’s place the next day, but it shows how my beard is growing outwards nicely: