I read that it takes one day for each hour of time zone change to get our bodies back to their pre-flight condition. Today I proved this statement by waking at 2.30am and not being able to get back to sleep until 5.30am. I busied myself by writing and reading and avoiding becoming anxious. I then slept until 8.00am and was late for breakfast. Curse! In my waking hours the nearby and far off roosters began crowing around 4.00am and were still at it when I fell asleep. Their keen.

Each day the Casa operates, which are Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, after the first session which starts at 8.00am and usually concludes sometime between 11.00am and midday, everyone is offered a plate of ‘blessed soup’. The preparation of this soup begins each Tuesday when volunteers attend the Casa to peel and chop the vegetables. I went up there this morning and helped on the pumpkin press which is hand operated and cuts the vegetable into small squares. I’ve blistered my hand when doing this job on prior visits and today was no exception.

Returning to my pousada a horse and cart (without the horse) was parked nearby. The horse was about 30m down Rua 1, de Maio ( No. 1 May Road) grazing on footpath grass. We just don’t see these things in Sydney, or even Eden or Towamba.

Having paid for my months accommodation I had run out of Reals I’d purchased in Wollongong before leaving Australia, so it was off to the only ATM on the westside, at Pousada San Raphael. Surprisingly, very few of the pousadas, of which there are about twenty seven, have saints names. There’s Santa Maria, Santa Rita and San Jose, but that’s it. Not many for such a saintly town.

One aspect of pousada living that I really enjoyed on past visits is the social interaction with other guests at meal times. Not so this time, or at least not just yet, because the current guest list mainly comprises two groups, which have leaders, and who always eat and do everything together. There are separate dining tables for the rest of us who come alone and without a guide. These two groups leave on the weekend and so I wait expectantly to see who turns up to expand my social network. This pousada is popular with Americans who usually come in groups with a leader whose role it is to explain every procedures they may encounter at the Casa. All but two of one of the USA groups is from the same town. They don’t seem such a trouble lot. Maybe its something in the water. When I booked at Pousada Luz Divina I did it through the USA.

My afternoon highlight was a massage with Tanya (80 Reals for 70 minutes). I asked her to wake me should I fall asleep. Having requested a firm massage I should have known from her facial expression there’d be no going to sleep. I’m reminded of a massage therapist I used to go to at Darlinghurst who was so forceful on one of my calves I ended up having an ultrascan which demonstrated an injury akin to me having suffered a trauma to the muscle. I never went back to him again except to show him the results of the US. Mmmmmmm!

It surprises me how often people come the Abadiania. Some are here every few months. I heard of one man with a brain tumour who stayed twelve months. We all have to be guided by what we think we need.

I finished my draft of this blog after waking at 12.30am on Wednesday morning. The local dogs were in full voice for what seemed an eternity and some yard cats were in battle mode. A nearby rooster was getting in ahead of the pack with a 1.00am clarion call. But in between was a beautiful silence.