Published: March 11th 2012February 11th 2012
Our introduction to the hostel was pretty nonchalant. A girl named Deb from England greeted us, asked our names, and showed us our room. Never did she ask for or write down our passport and basic info like every other hostel had done. The room was pretty standard; a lofty 4 bed dorm with rickity bunk beds, loose lockers, and a powerful fan. The ensuite bathroom was hilarious, it was so small that you could do everything at once - sht, shower, shave...Again, should have taken a photo. The owners, Peter and Deb (the same as who welcomed us), were the most friendly and relaxed people ever. They were only 30 and had moved to Itacare from England to find a more easy going lifestyle. The hostel had only been open for a year yet they had been quite successful through word of mouth. After exploring the tiny town for an hour, we noted an incredible enad refreshing difference from Salvador. Everyone we passed or talked to were happy, inviting, and most importantly, non threatening. The chill hippy surfer vibe of the town allowed us to let our guard down and enjoy ourselves on a whole new level. Chloe was immediately
in love with Itacare; she was ready to move there with in the first half hour we had walked around. For dinner, we decided to try a restuarant the hostel owners told us about. For 14 reals each, we got a full table of traditional Brazilian food. Steak, feijoda (black beans with sausage), rice, forrofa (bread crumbs and beans), salad, and sauteed potatoes. After stuffing ourselves to near food coma, we headed back to the hostel bar for some drinks. Peter made some fine caipirinhas for an Englishman. Just like in Salvador, they were cheap and delicious, so we enibriated ourselves sufficiently to sleep in our hot, stuffy and buggy room. I slept great until I was woken up by torrential downpour on the clay roof which found a leak that landed straight on the bottom corner of my bed. I got up, ran outside to the kitchen, got a pot and a rag, placed it under the pouring leak and went back to sleep.
The next morning we awoke and found a great surprise at breakfast - french toast. I guess the dish is somewhat common in Bahia, but goes under a different name, rebanadas. As we headed
Almost getting up...
to the beaches, the first being 20 minutes walking, we stopped and rented a surfboard for the day. 20 reals for the full day, plus the worker said that if they were closed before we finished, we could bring it in by 9 am the next day. Once again, loved the laid back attitude here. We walked to the 3rd of 4 beaches, a small cove that had a bunch of small rolling waves, perfect for my beginner status. I was a bit frustrated at first but eventually caught a few waves and felt good. Chloe found her groove faster, even though it had been a few years since she last surfed. After a few hours of surfing, chilling, and bathing in the warm water, we needed a break from the sweltering heat and sun. We found refuge at a beach bar/restaurant on the 2nd beach. The food, beer, and shade were essential; it was so hot and humid we could barely hang. Yet, after lunch, we found ourselves back on the beach, this time on the local surfers spot. The wave quality was obviously better, but still a manageable size for my inexperience level. After a half hour of
So badass...well, almost
partial struggle, one of the locals in the water told me to go to the beach down the coast (the one we were at before). I understood, I was obviously not ripping up the waves like everyone else. Rather, I was getting thrown about as I tried the various techniques of getting through waves with my cumbersome foam board. So, with the hint duly noted, I got out of the water and we headed back to the hostel.
That night for dinner we found a pizza place with decent prices and huge portions. As we ate, we watched the night scene unfold. A few bars brought out massive amounts of tropical fruit to the street and made drinks with fresh juice and muddled fruit. Another guy in his speedo (classic attire for guys down here), pushed around a cart with food and canned drinks, blasting music from some integrated car stereo system and breaking into dance randomly. We decided to make it an early night since we wanted to get up early the next morning to surf before having to return the board.
When I woke up, I noticed that I´d developed a painful rash on my chest.
Even though I don´t have chest hair, the wax from the board combined with overexposure to the sun had left my skin red and slightly raw. The beach was empty at 8 am, partially because all the surfers were at the next beach down, where I had been exiled the day before. The surf was a bit rough and sporadic where we were, but we attempted regardless. The salt water and board wax was very painful on my chest; I only managed 15 minutes before I gave up to the pain and frustating waves. Chloe thought I was being a bit dramatic until she saw I had ripped the mole off my stomach. Fortuantely it wasn´t too painful, but it was pretty ugly to look at. So, fully deterred, we took the board back to the shop and went to the hostel to eat breakfast. A couple hours later, we decided to go on an exursion that Ben, one of the receptionists, had set up for his birthday. We took a shuttle 30 minutes south to Serra Grande, which upon arrival, proved to be the most beautiful beach I´ve ever seen. Wide and endless strech of white sand, transperant emerald
water with decent sized waves, opposed by a dense jungle hillside, combined to make a spectacular setting. So, as we laid in the sun, drank beers, boogie boarded, and even played a bit of brach soccer with some locals, I looked around and considered myself to be the luckiest mofo on Earth. Chloe and took a walk down the deserted beach and talked about how special we felt, and agreed on how fortunate we were to be able to share such an incredibly intimate and special place with someone that meant so much to the other.
After several hours on Serra Grande, we shuttled over to a waterfall, which was beautiful in its own right, but had nothing on what we came from. Still, swimming in the fresh water and getting massaged by the force of the water was pretty cool. Getting back to the hostel was nice, and the caipirinhas that come soon there after helped cool down our hot sticky body temperature. Peter had me make every other round in return for free drinks and the cheap bottle of cachaça I bought for him. Fair trade! Chloe and I made a veggies/bolanese pasta at some point between
Chloe on the verge
rounds, but quickly returned to what became Ben´s birthday party. He had great broad taste in music. Between the Strokes, Foster the People, Rolling Stones, Curtis Mayfield, and some samba/reggaeton (to please the locals), he covered all the bases. It was a fun night of drinking and dancing, something we somehow had not experineced much of yet. The next morning came a little too early, as we had a bus to catch to begin the journey back up the coast to Valença, where we would take a boat to Morro de Sao Paulo, on the island of Tinhare.
There are more photos below