Brazil > Rio > Ilha Grande
Ok, so since leaving Rio, it has been a lot easier for us to sum up our experience there; fantastic beaches, amazing weather, a buzzing atmosphere, a huge divide between rich and poor, vendors who sell the best corn on the cob and certainly a place to keep your valuables out of sight (we heard of one poor guy staying at the hostel the same time as us, who was mugged 4 times in one day. Now that's bad luck). The views available from this city, and the ways to see them, are spectacular yet their way of life doesn't match up. Although we were happy to leave the big city life after 7-days, we are so so glad to have experienced it. Now in Ilha Grande - a 2hr bus ride and 1hr boat journey later - and we have gone from an amazingly busy city, to the complete opposite. Peace. From the moment we stepped foot onto the island, we could tell that this was one very tranquil place... the sea at our front door (yes, we have photographic evidence), which also acted as our road/path, no cars, no street lights and tons of lovely locals.
On the second day at Ilha Grande we decided to venture to a place called Lopez Mendez - a beach name that we kept hearing in Rio that is one of the top 10 beaches in the world. We got up early, packed the backpack and felt ready to start the 3hr trek to find this paradise. Everything was going really well, the sights, the fresh smell of nature and it lasted an entire 15minutes. Without walking shoes Nick and I struggled on in our slippery flip-flops (Nick fell over once and got completely covered in mud), with water stops every 10minutes. As we got closer and closer to the beach we could hear more of the sea, and what a welcomed sound... The beach was beautiful. Great waves for surfers that combined with sand so pure that it squeaked under our feet with each step. It was such a shame that it had to start raining!! We had a little picnic (only tightly packaged foods on the menu - it appeared that the locals are so laid back that they didn't seem to mind about the fly or two thousand that were also enjoying the food). After taking in everything around us we jumped on a boat back to the `town´. We ended the day with a meal on the beach and a drink at the hostel whilst listening to live Reggae. The mini-disaster that occurred during the last two events, were for me, the highlight of my travels so far...
As I said before, the path into`town´is the beach and by this point, and it was extremely dark as there are no street lights and along our path is what can only be described as the dam-of-doom... as it managed to swallow up my right flip-flop as I attempted to jump across. As myself, Nick, Karen and Gal (a very kind girl we met on the trip to the island) ran about fighting with the waves to retrieve my beloved Havaina. I then lost my left flip-flop. That sea was hungry and my shoes were in its sights. With the sea up to our knees we were ready to cave and allow the water this victory, until however, Nick, my hero, begins stripping down to his boxers preparing to swim in to save them! We threw a big up yours to the sea as Nick walked back grinning from ear to ear. He then ran back to the hostel to shower and change as me and the girls went on. Around 30mins later Nick arrived. Bare foot. His grin disappeared - we knew exactly what had happened - the dam-of-doom had taken his flip-flops!! This time he refused to go back in to get them, one midnight dip was enough for one night...
The following morning bought a lot of rain along with it and so we begrudgingly fashioned our rain-coats ready to say good-bye to Karen as her Easter half-term was ending and a school filled with Geography classes was calling her name. We split the rest of the afternoon into: reading in the hammocks by the water, sun-bathing on the beach and stuffing ourselves with juicy fresh fruit bought from `town´ (the hostels breakfast also came with a side of flies so we gave that a miss). Nick was also able to catch Man U vs. Porto on TV followed by a game on the beach with the boys from the hostel. The sun made an appearance for a few hours, which we were lucky to catch, but the damp air remained making it chilly in the evenings and even adding an odd odor to our room - I dreamt of freshly washed laundry that night!
By the next day I was personally ready to leave Ilha because with a lack of good weather we were restricted with how to spend our days. We have already vaguely mentioned going back because an island with a passion for ice-cream, reggae and drinking on the beach can't be all bad when the sun has got his hat on. Who knows where our trip will lead us, we've only got the next two days planned and booked: Next stop, Paraty.
We hope you're all well and safe - Keep us posted with info from home! We miss you already Karen, our little Favela companion.
Lots of Love