Into Brazil and our next Big Three-Oh
Trip Start Apr 14, 2010
96Trip End Apr 16, 2011
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Having bid the parentals good bye the next morning Clairee, Ricardo and the two of us headed on to Brazil for the fourth and final country of their South American adventure
After a very exciting few hours in a very wet Rio bus station we made our way south along the coast trying to work out where to get off to catch a ferry to Ilha Grande island. Having spent a whole 12 hours in Brazil by now we were already missing Argentina and being able to communicate with people. We hadn’t realised how much Spanish we’d been speaking and whilst we’re both adept at ordering beers and squid/crab/sardines/basically any seafood in restaurants, that’s about the limit of our Portuguese without resorting to speaking Spanish with a Sean Connery accent (it actually does work surprisingly well). Eventually after a lot of speaking at people in badly accented Spanish a very helpful gentleman in a fetching orange boiler suit took pity on us and (we think) said he was going to Ilha Grande and would tell us when to get off the bus
Ilha Grande is home to Lopez Mendes beach, supposedly one of the best in the world so we obviously had to check it out. It is also though about a 3 hour very hot walk through the jungle to get there, at the end of which any beach would look pretty inviting. Joking apart, the beach (and the rest of the island) were absolutely stunning and we spent a very happy few days trying to get as much sun as possible so everyone going back to the UK would look like they’d been on holiday
The 2nd day on the island Gordon and Richard felt the need to climb something again and therefore set our sights on one of the highest rocks on the island (called Parrot Rock). The map said it was 8 hours return. Phaaa, we thought, we’ll do it in 5 total. It took 8 hours. What’s more it was pretty hard work up through the steaming jungle with slippery roots and rocks. Finally though we did make it to the top (scrambling up the last few sections) to stand on an incredible perch with clouds literally blowing up the mountain into us at quite a speed - a very funny sensation you could see them coming and then feel the cold when they hit - and the views alternating between absolutely amazing and pea soup. It required patience to get a good photo.
That night we also decided (perhaps a bit belatedly) to stop forking out for caipirinha’s made in bars (anywhere from 8-20 reai or £3-8) and go to a shop to buy the ingredients ourselves. We were shocked by how cheap it was; a whole litre of cachaca was 7R, a bin-liner full of limes 3R and a bag of sugar 1R. We decided to celebrate our money saving ways by drinking the entire bottle in the hostel.
Our final day on the island was 29th April, yup, the Royal Wedding day which started stupidly early local time, and to our (okay, Sarah’s) horror, the TV in our hostel was broken
Having prised the Beard sisters away from the wedding it was time to head to Rio for the final stop on Clairee & Ricardo’s holiday (sniff sniff), to see the city and celebrate a little birthday as 30th April was also Sarah’s 30th birthday! Our first night in Rio, after a trip up the Sugar Loaf for fantastic sunset and night views of the city, our hostel had a capoeira evening where audience participation was positively encouraged and Richard wowed the demonstrators with his double-turn-kick manoeuvre (perhaps there’s a slight note of sarcasm – happily there’s video evidence that will be supplied on request).
The next morning Sarah finally left her 20s behind her
The morning day after was spent recovering in the sunshine on Copacabana beach before Claire & Richard’s flight home. It felt a very long way from La Paz a month ago and what a month it had been! Claire & Richard/Beardlet & Dickie/Clairee & Ricardo - thanks again so much for coming out and making this one of the best parts of our trip, it meant the world to us and you were the best travelling companions. Nepal next for more mountains?