Happy Hippos on Holiday
Hi everyone! We ended our last postcard referring to our "hard day on the road and sea - tropical island here we come!" - that'll teach us to be sarcastic! The journey to and arrival on said tropical island proved to be more stressful than we had imagined. Traffic jams outside Rio meant a 2 hour bus trip actually took 4 hours, leaving us very little time to get the once-a-day ferry. Despite our valiant attempt to rush across town with our knapsacks on our back, we missed it by a matter of minutes. The one occasion Brazilian time (ie. late) would have worked to our advantage, it didn't hold true. The ferry departed on the dot, leaving us and our backpacks standing on the pier. Luckily we managed to find a small boat heading to the island a couple of hours later and hitched a ride (at a cost!) On arrival at the hostel, not only had they apparently lost our reservation for 5 nights in a private chalet, but the 8-bed dorm we found ourselves in instead had no spare lockers for our valuables due to certain room mates believing they were entitled to more than one! As the hostel staff found our predicament hilarious, we decided to head into town (valuables in tow) for a bite to eat and plan how quickly we could escape this wretched island! We decided to make the best of the time we had so the next day, following a suggestion in the guide book, we tackled an 8km hike through forest and over 3 large ridges, taking us to a beach that certainly lived up to its reputation as one of the most beautiful in Brazil. An afternoon of swimming in the clear turquoise waters, walking along the white sandy beaches and sunbathing beneath the deep blue skies did wonders at lifting our spirits! They were further lifted that evening thanks to several friendly and helpful locals, who gave us lots of advice on things to do, such as boat trips around the island stopping off in various spots for snorkelling and swimming. We signed up for one of these the following day and joined a small group of people with whom we had a great laugh. The following morning, further traumas regarding our length of stay (the hostel expected us to leave that day) ended in us (K&Z, not the hostel owner) finding our original booking for a private chalet with ensuite bathroom and veranda written down in the reservations book (how they missed it we don't know!!!) We relocated, extended our stay and got a reduction in cost - result!!! Feeling rather buoyant, we spent the rest of the day doing another 8km hike which took us to yet another gorgeous beach bordered by 2 fresh water rivers. These were the ideal place to swim and chill before tackling the long and winding road (cue another song!) back to our chalet door. In the knowledge that we could lie in the following morning, feeling proud of all the hiking we had done and to celebrate our accommodation success, we were tempted to abandon our detox plan and have a night on the town. However, sparkling mineral water appealed more than wine at dinner and afterwards, our beds appealed more than the local bars! (Hi, our names are Kirstie and Zena and we've been sober now for 6 days!) We leave the island to head to Parati on the mainland on Monday and our plans for our last few days here are for more of the same...slightly foiled this morning by persistent rainfall - hence this postcard is arriving slightly earlier than planned...had it been sunny we would be on a beach and not in an internet cafe! Hope all is well with you. Take care and keep in touch! Zena & Kirstie P.S. For those of you who read this postcard when it was first put on the website, you may notice a change in image. This image is actually one of our photos of the island...the previous one was a random island in Venezuela - none of you were observant enough to notice this deliberate mistake...shame on you!