I´m still in Abadiania, Brazil, the small town where John of God´s Healing Casa is located. It feels like off- season in this holiday period, but I´m now installed in a very lovely solo house, taking care of Gracie, the dog, while her owner is in the States. I´ve wondered how to word the story I´m about to report because I still feel a responsiblity not to use my own unhappy experience to characterize a town known throughout the world for the good that it does. Here´s my diary entry on the subject:
December 21, 2011 – I must compose a blog today to take care of this less-than-happy history of my experience in Brazil during my second around-the-world trip. Some of the petty feelings have evaporated and it will be good to get this behind me. But, my deal with you is that I will tell it like it is, out here on the world trail for a solo woman traveler, age 74. It´s very easy to write about positive stuff but the negative reports are a challenge….until you can see the humor in them. I actually tried to pull off this task by putting the story into verse to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas, but gave it up as a frustrating time-waster. So, here´s the story in shorthand:
- Ten days after I arrived in Abadiania, I moved into Pousada Martin (November 4) and turned over a stack of 750 Brazilian Reals (pronounced hey-eyes), about $500, for a thirty day stay. My room was in the garden annex and not the main place a block away. I thought nothing of forking over cash and never noticed the lack of a receipt in return. Now, I realize that I´ve grown way too casual about that when I´m out on the world trail. They do clutter a backpack so.
- Just before I extended my stay for the month of December, I was given the chance to rent a lovely house and dogsit for a woman I´d met here; so I paid her the new stack of cash that I had all set to pay the pousada and I moved into a much better, private spot with kitchen and bathroom for the same price. I was given a receipt for this transaction.
- Almost two weeks into December, the pousada owners tracked me down and publically screamed accusations that I had never paid for my November stay. Stunned, I denied this, hired a lawyer and stood my ground. Things then became very tense with friends still living within the pousada, as my name was apparently slandered at every opportunity once the story hit their fan. It was not a fun week, as the owners had threatened to call the Federales. I kept telling them to check their pockets for my forgotten wad of cash but language barriers, caused by hysterics, snapped into place.
- By now, eight days have passed and they have not contacted my lawyer as I had advised them to do, so he thinks that the situation will not escalate. Dr. Paulo Baes (Joan Baez´s cousin) and I have become good friends in the process and I´m keeping him informed of my plans to leave town after the holidays.