Our first port of call is Montevideo. The capital city of Uruguay is surprisingly small, little more than a large town really, with a pleasant centre, some interesting art deco and art nouveau buildings, good restaurants and is noticeably less expensive than Buenos Aires. But its main attraction is getting us a Uruguayan stamp in our passport.
Port number two on our trip is Parati, a delightful small Brazilian fishing village that used to be the export centre for the gold and diamond industry. Long since bypassed by Rio De Janiero it has made the most of its history by cherishing its old colonial image
keeping its narrow streets paved with impossibly large cobblestones and carefully painting its houses white with bright coloured trim.
Cars are banned and the only way to see the town is on foot or in a horse and carriage
The day of our visit the weather is unbelievably hot and humid.
The only thing more unbearable than walking around the town in the middle of the day, is the tender ride from ship to shore that takes almost an hour. The tenders are fibreglass torture chambers masquerading as the ship’s lifeboats, preheated to a temperature that the Devil would find toasty. The engine is covered by benches which leave burn marks on your shorts. The only ventilation is provided by the two doors but only a lucky few can take advantage of them. Standing is not allowed as you might fall down and hurt yourself. But dying from lack of air or burning to death on scalding seats is deemed quite acceptable. I would rather go down with the ship than spend days sitting in one of these things.