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Published: April 20th 2016
Was surprised how calm I felt this.morning: no losing things and getting flustered then realised it was because I wasn't hot! Got to the boat much too early and retreated to the shade on the quay, keeping a careful watch for when the first passengers went on board. Was going to the so-called 'second most beautiful beach in Brazil', Lopes Mendes. The boat was a nice looking schooner without sails, obviously, and there were less than 20 of us onboard. As usual thus included several young women who were wearing the scantiest of bikinis, particularly the bottom half. There was a woman lying down on her tummy in front of me and if I hadn't seen her standing up would have sworn she wasn't wearing anything from the waist down at all. Now I understand the origins of the 'Full Brazilian wax', it's an inevitable consequence of minimal Brazilian bikinis. The comments of my Rio host, Sheila, re the sexualised image of Brazilian women come to mind. She mentioned this in the context of her own problems with an Italian guest and a much publicised case of another Italian pinching the bottom of a heavily pregnant sales assistant. Over the last
few days, when I manage to avoid staring in disbelief at Brazilians' bikinis, I have taken to scanning their legs for mosquito bites but all I can see is tanned, unblemished perfection so I don't know why I have been so unlucky. I blame Alfredo's mosquito ridden house and/or the stagnant water channel close by.
The trip was quite eventful. We turned back twice to offer assistance to two smaller boats. The first time our offer, whether of help or water I'm not sure, was declined. The second time I had already noticed this apparently stationary boat rocking and rolling very heavily in the waves. I took the opportunity to identify where our life jackets were kept but it was they who were in difficulty, not us. Our deck was quite wet as a result of water coming over the side so goodness knows how much water they had shipped. We had to give them a tow for at least 20 minutes to bring them into the shore. Our captain obviously thought the captain of the other boat was incompetent and looked disgusted every time they made a mess of doing things like attaching the tow-rope. I asked the
young boy, who I surmised was our captain's son, whether this sort of thing happened a lot. He said not but am not sure that he was telling the truth. Perhaps best not to risk another boat trip tomorrow! Before this the 15 year old , well that was my best estimate of his age, had been allowed to take the helm on easy stretches but he too kept getting ticked off by his dad and sent packing. As we arrived at our destination the captain apologised for the delay - wouldn't have missed it for the world!
Once on the beach nobody seemed the know quite where they were going. The captain had told me, in English, that it was a walk of one kilometre to Lopes Mendes, which had disappointed me as the pousada owner had said 50 mins. One of the passengers thought there was a short route and a longer one as well. Some of us opted for the longer one through the jungle. Should explain here that everybody was in their twenties except a guy with greying hair, who I deduced was older, and his partner. However apart from the latter pair, who like
me wore trainers, the others wore flip flops so we definitely had the edge there. The path, which was steep and slippery in parts unless you were wearing trainers, was pretty clearly marked once we reached a second beach and the walk took not much more than half an hour.
Even if this is only the second most beautiful beach in Brazil I will settle for it. It's idyllic and far too big for my photos to do it justice. There is no litter!! I had my own private bench shaded by trees to sit on. Went in the water for a few minutes. It was absolutely lovely but there was quite a strong surf and was frightened of getting burnt. I had expected the usual string of scruffy beach bars but there were only a couple of guys selling sandwiches and drinks from cool boxes. Had I known would have picked something up at the bakery. Remembered too late , as I wondered what all that salt was concealing, that cheese would have been a better bet than chicken, which I couldn't taste anyway. Will bear that in mind next time if I survive this one!
Decided to go in the sea again before I left but wearing my thin but long-sleeved shirt to prevent burning. Unnecessary because I had only been in the sea two minutes before I was knocked over by a big breaker and decided to retreat. Now look as if I have entered a wet T-shirt competition and my paper thin shirt turns out to be surprisingly difficult to dry in the shade.
A very nice Argentinian couple struck up a conversation with me. They lived in Brazil, were here for four days and had walked all the way from Abraão. When I revealed that I had a husband at home the wife suggested she might leave her's ( that is, him) at home too, which caused much laughter. The conversation was conducted in a thoroughly confusing mixture of Spanish and Portuguese which didn't worry them but I found thoroughly disturbing. Will stick to Portuguese whilst I am in Brazil and rescue my Spanish when I get home.
The trip back was much less interesting than the outward journey. - same boat, same crew. Whilst waiting to board I watched the apprentice standing on the dock and washing his feet and flip-flops with a hose-pipe before grasping that mine were next in line. Not sure what he would have done if I had still had my trainers on! He did better this time at the wheel and was allowed to steer the boat almost into port whilst receiving a constant stream of instructions and hand gestures from his boss, indicating which way he should turn the wheel.
Got back to the pousada and wondered what to do tomorrow. Today was going to be a hard act to follow. Did not want to roll up on a beach already occupied by dozens of people. Read a few reviews on TripAdvisor whilst I enjoyed complimentary tea and cake at the pousada. t decided to investigate a trip called lhas Paradisiácas, beauty spots on this and other islands, which the Argentine couple were doing tomorrow. Well, have signed up and paid and am already beginning to worry about whether a speedboat will be bad for my back. Assured I would be fine if sat at the back of the boat The salesperson then asked me if I was alone and spent the next ten minutes apologising. His embarassment should have been worth a reduction in the price at least. What with worrying about my back and whether there would be sufficient shade and whether I would get burnt and whether my hat would stay on, I forgot the salient point, which is that I get sea-sick. I was actually once sea-sick going from Torquay to Brixham in Torbay! Oh well, not going to be a dull day.
Ended up eating at a kebab place full of back packers, including Americans. Still at least it was lively and the caipirinha helped - yes, another, I'm afraid! The kebab wasn't bad either. Think I have seen my first mature European woman with Brazilian toy-boy. It couldn't have been her son as she was too deferential. My God, he can talk! Must be some other reason she is with him or perhaps I am jumping to conclusions. Back at the pousada complimentary peppermint or other herbal tea at bedtime. Almost like being at home!
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