Saturday, November 8, 2008

Brazil '08, Day 4 - Ilhabela, SP

Today was our last day on Ilhabela. I had a hard time sleeping, woke up in the middle of the night with a headache and kept hearing a mosquito buzzing around my ear. It was around 9am when we went down to breakfast, which was far less impressive than the fare at Manga Rosa, just bread, cold cuts and melon. Last night we made arrangements with Carlos, the manager of the pousada, to get a ride to Curral, a “hip” beach further south. To our great surprise he offered to not only let us store our bags at the pousada until we got back, but also to let us take a shower in our room when we were done. How nice is that?
There were two other guests from the pousada that got a ride from Carlos at the same time, Alexandra and Jamir. Carlos dropped us off by Curral’s small chapel (apparently there is one for every beach), and we went up and took in the view.

While Alexandra and Jamir headed for the more populated and “hip” Curral to our right, we chose the smaller and deserted looking Praia do Veloso on the left.

There were some really beautiful (and hot) black rocks, or streaks of black rock anyway, and the most bewitching sand effect – a thin layer of black covering the more standard brown sand. All this spoke of some fascinating geological history, of which we know nothing. But we did collect some of the sand to take with us. Incidentally, getting the black sand on you is not recommended as it immediately heats up to an uncomfortable temperature.

I fell asleep right there and then and woke up several hours later nicely toasted, or rather a bit overcooked. Husband had been amusing himself with coconuts and taking beautiful pictures of the beach. He also got bit by an ant, which has made his foot swell quite a bit.

Around 2pm we walked along the shore to Curral, where our suspicions were confirmed. This ‘hip’ beach was filled to the brim with people (pale and chubby, an unusual site in Brazil), cafes, restaurants, beach chairs and an overabundance of boats, which made swimming problematic if not dangerous. If this is hip, I want none of it. We got some snacks out of necessity, but they were so overpriced it was almost worth staying hungry.

And in a strange turn of events we met Alexandra and Jamir waiting for the bus. There was a man selling piggy banks (why???) by the side of the road, and Husband’s foot was really rather dodgy looking by this point.

We got back to the pousada and tried to get ready as quickly as possible. We were aiming for the 5:30pm ferry because we were not sure if the bus would be leaving at 6:30pm or perhaps earlier (Ilhabela is not, after all, really a station as much as a stop in the middle of nowhere). While we were paying for our stay (also R$110 per night), another guest was getting a ride to the ferry and we were asked if we would like to join. The guest in question was actually getting a ride all the way back to Sao Paulo and with the owner of the pousada, simply because she was heading that way, but we already had tickets for the bus and declined the invitation to be taken along all the way. In the end we ended up catching the 5pm ferry and were at what we thought was the bus stop by 5:30pm, leaving us some time to kill. At around 6pm a bus saying “Sao Paulo” went by without stopping and gave us a bit of a fright, but after talking with some people and other bus drivers we found out that our bus was not leaving the station in Sao Sebastiao until 6:30pm, and coming here afterwards, so we were pacified.

The bus ride itself was uneventful. The first half hour or so it drives to the mountains, then it takes about half and hour to go up and down over the ridge, and then it’s two plus hours to Tiete (Sao Paulo bus terminal), this time in the dark. So now we are in Tiete, and our next destination is Curitiba, a big city in the state of Parana, just south of Sao Paulo state, on the midnight bus – R$75 per person, in case you are curious.

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