The fantastic owners of Manga Rosa, Paulo and Mariley, got us some bikes from a rental place in Perequê called Juninho (outrageously expensive considering the sad quality of the bikes - R$30 per person per day for a one speed bike, mine with a broken handlebar). Consider that each night at the pousada costs R$110 and comes with a fantastic breakfast - coffee, tea, fresh juices, cold cuts, cheeses, many kinds of bread, fruit and even cake!!
The plan today was to bike north to the northern most beach of Jabaquara, which is supposed to be beautiful. The only bad thing was that my cough has now acquired a runny nose companion. So drippy, we set off.
The road was alternating cobble stones and pavement, up and down hill at very consistent intervals. Because of the broken handlebar I could not go uphill at all so we pushed our bikes up all the hills and then rode down, and on and on like this.
The first beach we came to was Barreiros. It was, like many of the beaches we saw today, deserted but for one man who was just chilling.
Soon the little biting flies that the travel books warn you about began to attack us, so we put on bugspray by this interesting abandoned-looking house. Note the fruit, which is edible and the size of my head.
Up until the beach of Sino there were quite a few pousadas and restaurants but eventually they began to disappear and the residences became less posh.
As we left Sino we saw a campground (apparently there are four on the island: two in Perequê, one in Sino and one in Grande). We stopped to check it out and it's quite a deal - R$20 per night per person if you bring your own tent and R$60 if you want to rent one of their little trailers. There are bath houses throughout, a restaurant or kitchen and mango trees loaded with mangos for the picking. We grabbed a few!
On we went passed where the bus has it's last stop and the road turns to sand and gravel (from here 3km to Pacuiba and 8km to Jabaquara). By this point you have also increased in elevation so the beaches are somewhere below you. It was hot and a bit muggy, so we decided to cool off at Pacuiba beach. It was completely empty and beautiful. Gorgeous black rocks and the occasional black sand, the cool ocean, definitely welcome in this heat, and then it rained for a while, which I love when I am out swimming. There was single house on the beach, with a garden and chickens, but no sign of people. For lunch we ate the mangos we had picked up along the way and a coconut that we found on the beach.
At this point we decided not to go on to Jabaquara, but head back. It was getting on in time and we still had to bike back and then go even further back all the way to Perequê to return the bikes by 5pm. On the way we stopped in Sino once more, but this time to check out the famous rocks. The place is not actually called Sino officially (surprise!) but is nicknamed thus because it means "bell" in Portuguese. The rocks on this beach, when hit with a hammer, produce a sound just like a bell. Wicked cool! So we went up to the little bar/restaurant and asked for a hammer, and banged away. Good times.
By the time we reached Vila I was so exhausted I did not know how I could go on. What with the cold (disease not temperature) and the heat (ambient temperature) I had a raging headache, and my arm fat was hurting wicked bad from being shaken to and fro on the downhill cobblestones. Not to mention that they don't make those bike seats cushy! So we stopped at Manga Rosa to take an advil and leave the remaining mangos and headed for Perequê still 6km away (total trip today ~24km). Fortunately the road from Vila to Perequê is almost completely flat and even has a handy bike path, so we got there just in time for 5pm and handed in the bikes. It was a struggle once again to get them to accept a credit card but in the end we persevered. Then we tried to find a place to eat and settled on one of the few open places (and rather expensive I have to say), Pier 18 right there in Perequê. There we had fish for two, once again smothered in butter. Just as we were leaving a bus passed by so we had to wait for 30 minutes to catch the next one, which we passed people watching. There are a lot of scooters on the streets, an efficient but scary mode of transportation. On the beach a bunch of teens were playing volleyball. Must be a nice life...
After dark, around 9pm we ventured out again to say "bye" to Vila and maybe see more squid fishing. Unfortunately, the pier was much less lively today, but as we walked along the promenade we came upon an exhibit of a local artist who makes sculptures from old car and motorcycle parts, as well as tools and other scrap metal. We even got to meet the artist!
Tomorrow we move on but we'll be sad to leave Manga Rosa.