Anyway, the next way to figure it out, I thought, was based on the insane numbers of bites, bruises, burns and scratches I´ve accumulated…because they all seem to have a story. But that’s a b it odd, so maybe not, hey?!
Left the last blog arriving in Ilha Grande, where I also got my first mozzie bites, sunburn and serious bruises of the trip. That, thankfully, was not the highlight of our visit to the lush, green and fun-filled island. Our first night set the pace for the rest of our stay there – we were eating on the beach in this lovely fish restaurant (I think the local dish – a really good fish stew thing – was called MaquaÇa…but don’t quote me on that) when the clouds that had threatened all day rolled in and opened on us.
After 14 of us huddled under a single beach umbrella while the waiters reassembled our table under a canopy, we sat down again (four of us having been relegated to a separate table). These two weird guys (one of them clearly off his face on something, the other like a cross between Jack Black and an out-of-condition WWF wrestler) plonked themselves at the table next to us and start talking to us. Ignoring them did not work. They just moved closer and talked louder. ‘Eyyyy, where are you from? Inglesa? Are you from [in a very bad Essex accent] Saaaaath London?´ Someone said something (it was NOT me). Error. From that point on, we couldn’t get rid of them (and I mean for our entire stay on Ilha Grande – these guys were everywhere we went. It was a nightmare). Ended up being invited to a party in (we thought) the cemetary, and as they wouldn’t take no for an answer, our tour leader, Yannick (aka Yanni/ Yogi bear) stepped in, told them all 12 girls were his wives and that they should back off! He got a high five from them for that one. Really. Anyway, long story a bit shorter, after leaving the restaurant ( practically running after the old dude who owned it kept winking at me every time I looked up) ended up at this atrocious party in the POURING rain – it was like being an extra in one of those terrible American Frat movies. Eurgh. Eventually managed to escape…for the time being, anyway.
After that, Ilha Grande was about beautiful beaches (Lopes Mendes – you walk twenty minutes on these steep paths from the boat, and then, when you think the beach is surely a myth, you cross through a little clearing onto what can only be described as beach paradise), insanely steep trekking in HOT HOT heat to swim (or in my case, lose my balance, dance a bit on a very precarious rock, slip and fall painfully onto some boulders in) a waterfall – 10 days on, still have the bruises – swimming in the pool in one of the many sky-cracking thunderstorms, celebrating Katerina’s birthday with a barbecue, live music at a hostel down the beach and 2am swim in the sea, an incident which led to the whole group to get a total bo*****ing from Yogi the next day, drinking ridiculous amounts of LETHAL Caipirinhas (don’t do it, really, the pain the next day is NOT worth it), and eating the most amazing Acai each day for breakfast (Brazilian heaven in a bowl).
See, that was only two days, and this blog is already too long. Feel free to give up and come back later. You may want a tea break at this point. I do…the fan in this internet cafe is whirrring so fast above me I feel dizzy!
Anyway. After a boat journey back to the mainland we continued down the coast to Paraty. Arrived in the very pretty colonial town around lunchtime, went to get the local ‘delicacy’ Pastel (deep-fried pastry things… healthy, hmm?) and guess what happened next? Oh yes, the skies opened AGAIN. BIG time. Thunder, hail, lightning, the works. For over an hour. We couldn’t move. But luckily for us, a local trio of musicians had arrived just before the rain, so they had a captive audience and we had some entertainment (I’ve got a video somewhere – will try to FB it). Eventually the rain eased to British standards, so we went hopping around the now flooded cobbled streets to check out the area. It’s really lovely. It’s nicer when you don’t feel like a total drowned rat though…which was our experience for the majority of the time we were there. For me the most memorable moments were walking along a deserted street as one of the ‘Oi’ phone boxes started ringing (I had visions of Colin Farrel in Phone Booth, so refused to touch it); getting up after a doodling session on some beachside rocks and turning round with Ingvild and Marit, only to see some revolting old dude jerking off in the sea behind us (EWWWWWWWW!); putting on some freshly laundered clothes (SUCH a good feeling) only to leave the hotel to go to a local music venue and get totally and utterly drenched in rain. We all warmed up with a few Caipiroskas and a long night of dancing. ERROR. Ther next day we had the worst hangovers, made worse by the fact we had a 21 hour bus journey ahead of us. We were all meant to get up at 8 to go to this canopy adventure place. Not a single person made it out of bed. Not one. Probably just as well. I don’t think the insurance covers drunken injuries on high wires…
So, yeah, as I said. Loooooong night bus took us to our last stop in Brazil – Foz D ‘Iguacu. The town closest to the falls is not great. Add in Easter weekend. Nothing at all is open. Nothing. It was a ghost town. The falls themselves though, well, the world and his wife were visiting. There’s not really any way to describe Iguassu – it’s the sheer power of nature, chucking itself towards you over so many different ledges, and at such speed, you can’t really take it in – even with about a million photos, whcih I won’t make you look at. It seeems to attract a hell of a lot of nature, too – I have never seen so many butterflies in my life. With the scorching sun, speed boat rides and treks across the various trails, it was mad. You can only understand it when you see it. From both sides (although the Argentinian side beats the Brazilian side, hands down).
I really have so many more stories from Brazil, but I can’t write them all, and you’ re probably needing a serious screen break by now. So I’ll leave it here. Next time you get the tales of the next glorious night bus and the Uruguayan border crossing. I guarantee it will make you laugh. It’s one of my highlights so far. Sooooo, ’til then, Bom Dia/ Tarde/ Noche, y obrigado for your time… I’m off to grab a post-beach shower. Noches.