Monday, December 14, 2009

Best Fourth Day in Rio: Life on an Island Paradise

Wednesday I woke up twice...once at an unknown hour, much past midnight, after having fallen asleep in a hammock. I stumbled from there to my cool, dry bed where I woke once more with the sun and the birds. I showered in our nicer than it needed to be bathroom and met Chateau upstairs on the veranda for our complimentary breakfast. We discussed our upcoming day like men and took bets on who would join us at our first meal first.


Brazilian breakfast, it involves ham sandwiches.

The main plan for Wednesday was to hike over to Ilha Grande's renowned Lopez Mendez Beach, ranked very high on Most Beautiful Beach in the World Lists by both the Travel Channel and Vogue magazine (just don't ask me to come up with those references). What could be nicer than a two hour walk through the woods and then a day spent on a beach where the sand is so fine it squeeks beneath the feet?

Off we went, first through town, then into the wild (and by "wild" these pictures mostly indicate across vulturous beaches).

We'd been walking for what seemed to be a good time (confession: I had no watch on this trip, I didn't want to tempt the urchins) over what I would call "unexpectedly difficult" terrain and came to this nice beach. Chateau made an inquiry of the locals in his native tongue...Yup, turns out we were headed the wrong way, missed a turn back there somewhere. So serious backtracking ensued, the correct path was located, and even more grueling terrain was encountered.

We made it to the top of something, a hill, I suppose.

Before we got to this beach I could hear its surf in the rain forest and it excited me, was the trek nearly over? But when we came to it, I knew it was not beautiful enough to be our destination. Turns out it was our halfway point. Sheesh. I was beginning to pant a little, I was beginning to have drank all my water, and I had brought a lot of water.

We did something very wise. We hired a speedboat to take us the rest of the way.

Along the way I made this film, it was to be my submission to the Lingos. Over the noise of the wind, waves, and motor can you discern what YouTube sensation is being immitated?

But Lopez Mendez is inaccessible by boat. It is too shallow and beautiful and wave-having for boats. So our man dropped us off at a nearby beach, just a nice 30 or so minute hike up and over and down a big foresty hill away from Lopez Mendez.

Finally, the most beautiful beach I'd ever been to, according to the Travel Channel and Vogue Magazine.

Now, I just about only have overcast pictures from just after we arrived at the beach because I did not spend my beautiful sunny afternoon taking pictures of how beautiful and sunny it was, no, I had fun instead. I had fun and I'm sorry you weren't there to see it.

But I did do some exploring with Bryndee and tried to make sense of this thing.

Around 4, maybe 5, so hard to remember we returned to the beach where we had been dropped off and our man with the speedboat shuttled us home. It was great fun, the zooming across the waves past slower moving craft, the laughter and bemoaning of our earlier hiking.

Upon returning to our base camp we took a walk to the natural pool in the jungle that we had discovered the night before. Wouldn't that be a nice thing to have a picture of? Nope, sorry. But please imagine: a large, beautiful pool fed by a few small waterfalls and a natural waterslide (which I waterslid down and it was great) all full of cool but not freezing water, just perfect for bodies that should have used a little more sunscreen that day.

After the pool we headed to the rock from the day before.

And after that: Dessert cart and hammocking.

Dinner: A platter of frango stroganoff* and a great pile of seafood eaten on the beach and I had my first cashew juice. So bizarre--fruity at first but nutty in its aftertaste, so refreshing. It was love at first sip and still loved at the last sip.

Beachdogs. They want your seafood, they can't have your seafood.

*Frango. For a while I could put my finger on why this Brazilian word for chicken seemed so unusual...but eventually it came to me.

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