2 Quiet islands and onto Sao Paulo

Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Hey there!

Since leaving Rio, we´ve been to the islands of Ilha Grande and Ihla do Mel and the sprawling metropolis that is Sao Paulo.

The islands were pretty idyllic to be quite honest! Very beautiful and some of the beaches were absolutely amazing with some of them being near deserted. The boat ride out to Ihla Grande was something like out of the tv programme ´Lost´ for a while, all cliffs and trees and nothing else in site. Both islands were reasonably quiet we thought and there wasn´t much in the way of decent nightlife. Not complaining though because we were fairly tired every evening - lying on that sand can be tough!

I. Grande had loads of amazing hummingbirds, loads of them constantly whirring about outside our pousada (B&B). But it also had, much to Gretta´s pleasure!, a weirdly large amount of seemingly half-bred cat/dog creatures which roamed throughout, restauarants being their favourite haunts! We did a very nice 2 hour walk (the guidebook says it takes nearly 3 hours- G particularly proud of that one!)to the spectacular beach of Lopes Mendes - unfortunately a tropical storm arrived just after we did and we were straight onto a boat for a ride back to base!

We met up with two of our Tralee friends, Fink and Gleese, in Ihla do Mel. There wasn´t much going on here though so moved onto Sao Paulo after a couple of days.

SP hadn´t really been in our plans beforehand but I quite liked the city and was glad to have visited. It´s a really vibrant place with plenty of stalls and markets. And a good cinema also! We saw ´Good Night & Good Luck´ which I would highly recommend! The coolness of the cinema was a relief from the heat on the streets!

The highlight of our stay in SP was undoubtedly our trip to the massive Morumbi Stadium for the big ´classico´ (derby) between SP and Palmeiras. The bus journey out there was interesting enough in itself, the sight of about 50 SP fans with their hands spreadeagled on a wall and being searched by the cops was quite a sight. We were able to buy our tickets at the ground beforehand and while queuing we could hear the unbelievable noise coming from inside - in addition to the sporadic gunfire that the cops were leaving off in order to keep the crowds orderly on the streets!

We got tickets for the SP section anyway, behind the goal on the 2nd tier. It´s a 100,000 all-seater stadium but there was absolutely no sitting-down. The football was mediocre with SP running out 4-2 winners but the real action was in the stands! It was nearly 2 hours of all-singing, all-dancing entertainment! Not a prawn sandwich to be seen! U2 are playing here in a few weeks and I wish we were around for that but can´t be everywhere - we´re due in Salvador for the Carnval so must get moving!

Tschau for now!
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