Rio de Janeiro - Ilha Grande
Trip Start Jan 2003
200Trip End Dec 2003
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Feeling the effects of what at imes has felt like a week long drunken binge in Rio, we opted to retreat a few hours south of the city to the tropical island of Ilha Grande. The clincher for me was when one of the guys who worked in the hostel asked if I was Irish. Puzzled I asked why he thought I was Irish. The reply "Because only the Irish drink as much beer as you!". Swapping the hostel for a gorgeous, clean and air-conditioned room in a Pousada (small hotel) the pressure to go out drinking every night has been lifted. However, because of the woeful weather (I guess coming to an island that's 90% rainforest, you should expect rain) we've lost all self control and have spent a large portion of our time either gorging on ice cream or sipping Caipirinhas. The national drink, comprising sugar cane rum (lots of it), sugar syrup, limes and ice is a lethal concoction and we've now come to appreciate that anyone attempting a fifth is likely to collapse at any moment. How some of the locals have one before lunch is beyond me.
So with the weather so disappointing our options for entertainment in such a desolate place were severely hampered. We walked for three hours to the other side of the island with the idea of getting a boat back. What we hadn't taken into consideration was the fact that we would be the only people foolish enough to do this and so there were no boas. A further three dispondent hours on foot soon followed.
While Brazil is by no means a culinary capital of the world, the standard of seafood on Ilha Grande has been superb. And while vegetables are decidely low key offerings, nutrition is fulfilled through the 'sucos' (fruit juices). With every fruit I've encountered available in juice form for around 50 pence for a big cup's worth, it's unfathomable why anyone would even touch the likes of Coca Cola.