Lie back, relax, think nice thoughts

Trip Start May 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 30, 2006

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Flag of Brazil  ,
Saturday, December 3, 2005

Itīs a short hop down to Rio, but because it was a Saturday I missed the ferry to take me over to Ihla Grande. Instead I was gathered up like a sheep along with other late tourists by the local shepard and loaded onto a small fishing boat, a premium over the ferry fare was exchanged and after an hour of sitting on this little boat we were off.

It was worth it to get to Ihla Grande that night though. Itīs a beautiful island where cars have been banned (except for the emergency services and military!). This makes it very very chilled especially when you compare it to Rio. I instantly felt safe here a reflex which was totally justified.

I stayed at the Hollandes Guest House, which was relatively cheap, you just had to put up with the fact that you slept in the same small room as seven other people. It did come with the added bonus of a cusioned toilet seat, what a strange idea! The wiring of the electric shower head also looked pretty haphazard but I judged by the fact that I didnīt have to step over any dead bodies to get to the shower then it was probably ok!

I headed out in the evening with some people that Iīd met including a couple of Brazilians. This was ok until one of them offered me some of their dinner. Sheīd bought a skewer of Chicken Hearts and in the name of new experiences I took one. It was kind of soft and chewy with a flavour thatīs not too bad. But I couldnīt get it out of my head that I was eating the whole heart of one chicken. It turns out that this is a very popular dish here in Brazil, particularly with children at Barbecues, Iīll avoid it the next time Iīm offered.

We ended up in a Foho club and despite having some expert teachers I didnīt make much progress. Itīs a bit like Salsa but with a slower step. I should really just admit that I canīt dance and stop trying before I cause serious harm to some poor girls toes. It was really cool though watching others take the floor and zoom about the dance floor, if only.

After being a little dispondant with my level of Spanish in Chile, Iīve discovered that Iīm actually able to communicate with the Brazilian population easier, and they donīt even speak spanish! I really donīt know why this is the case, they can generally understand my spanish and with a little hard work, a lot of imagination and a few caipirinhas the conversation can actually flow a little. This certainally gives me hope for when I head to Argentina.

I had two whole days here, It took a boat trip and then a short walk to get to the beach Lopes Mendes, one of the better of the 365 beaches on the island. It really was picture perfect again. Iīve not had much sun in the last couple of months so I had to play it carefully. Unlike one of the guys I was with, heīs heading back to the UK soon and so lay on the sand shouting ĻBurn me, burn me!Ļ at the sun. It obliged. One of the Ozzy girls had hired a surf board from town as sheīs learning how to surf. I had a little go of it as well, the first time since Indonesia, Iīd love to tell you about stories of burning the waves and performing stunts. Instead Iīll just keep quiet.

On the second day we went for a hike to the south side of the island. It was supposed to be a 1.5 hour walk, which took us over 3 hours. Not because we were that slow, although some of them could have walked a bit faster. But rather because weīd just been given the wrong information, again! This appears to be a common problem here. Noone really seems to know whatīs going on. It was a beautiful walk though with brilliant views down over the bay. When we arrived the first thing we required was some food. We asked if there were any restaurants, and we were lead to someoneīs house. We basically sat in front of their house on their garden furniture, while we tucked into the slightly expensive chicken or fish.

The beach was another stunner. Thereīs no point trying to describe it, just close your eyes and imagine a tropical beach. Now add on a green lagoon at one end where you can splash around and climb on the rocks. Add a few mountains for a backdrop, the sun is nice and warm and the water is cool. Thatīs it, now hold the image.

It was with a heavy heart that I left Ihla Grande.
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