We're thinking we should call this the vacation of Extreme Beach Walking. Either that or the vacation of Extreme Food Poisoning. We're not sure as we're still in the haze of day 3 recovering from a very bad entanglement with some whole crab we ate on our last afternoon that resulted in a final night, plane ride to Rio and three hour drive home punctuated with projectile vomiting every 30 minutes. But lingering on that might turn you off to the rest of the story, so I'll stick with the Extreme Beach Walking...
Getting into Bahia, we flew into the dumpy town of Porto Seguro (think Fort Lauderdale meets Ashbury Park in the 3rd World) and spent the night in a flea bag motel. Our flight got in at midnight and we didn't want to spend much money for the few short hours we would be in town, so we looked around on the internet for the cheapest hotel in the center of town. But note to us -- just spend the money. I was sure I saw a prostitute walking out as we were walking in and not long after we shut the lights off I heard a rustling, squeaking and clicking. Fearing a rat we flung the lights on to discover, no, not a rat, but a BAT in our room. C got a broom and I got a wastepaper basket and after a lot of screaming and hiding in the bathroom we somehow managed to fling it out of the room (my hero C at one point kept trying to position me between him and the bat thinking I would have a better angle to capture it... thanks.) Needless to say we didn't sleep at all that night.
But the next morning things got much better as we took a ferry ride south to the chic expensive resort town of Arraial D'Ajuda. Being that it's winter down here and the hotel rates were slashed in half we could almost afford to stay there -- the problem wasn't the hotel, as much as the restaurants we couldn't afford, which lead us to hedge our bets at some beach front dives.
And hence our inevitable run in with food poisoning.
At least our hotel offered a delicious free breakfast buffet, so every morning we got up, stuffed ourselves silly and hit the beach and walked.
And it was just beautiful. We totaled it up at I think all told, we walked around 65 kilometers (30ish miles!)
One day we got tired of walking and rented a buggy.
The "roads" were crazy sandy rollercoasters, the buggy roared like a lion and we couldn't push it past 50km/hr or it shook like it was coming apart at the bolts. But it was a lot of fun and we laughed and hollered and scared some cows and bumped our way down the coastline hitting the beaches along the way.
We made it to one beach that has frequently been named one of the most beautiful in the world by various beach experts called Praia do Espelho (Beach of Mirrors).
The buggy adventure was going great until around 4pm C got carried away and insisted that we should try to hit Caraiva, the last town south before the road ended, just to see it. I protested but lost out, and after another hour flying from one pothole the next we landed at the literal trail's end and then, OF COURSE, the buggy broke down.
The sun was quickly setting and we were a good 3 1/2 hours from our hotel. For a moment we became celebrities, our loud clattering entrance and farting, squealing breakdown being probably the most exciting thing that had happened in that little dustbite town all year. At least half the citizens turned out to gawk, offer advice, peer in at the engine, point, laugh, backslap and eventually help push the buggy to the side of the road. After the hubbub died down, we managed to find working telephone and call the rental office who, amazingly, in a most Un-Brazilian fashion, dispatched someone to come and fetch us. C and I did one last walk on the beach while we waited, ate some dinner (by candlelight, the town doesn't yet have electricity) and while I could have let it pass as romantic, I was tired, wind-whipped and bug bitten and shot C dirty looks the whole time. But in the end it was actually a good deal for us because we got a relatively comfy ride back to our hotel in a real car, complete with a top and shocks.
After that we decided to stick with walking and actually walked 21 kilometers in one day. I think if you just stayed on the beach you could have kept walking all the way south to Rio, or north to the Amazon.
There are several local Indigenous reservations around and the Indians make good use of the resort towns by selling their seed jewelry to the tourists.
Being tourists, we bought some.
So I guess, other than bats, buggy breakdowns and the final 24 hours getting intimate with toilet bowls and barf bags, it was, all and all, a pretty good trip.
Oh yeah, we had one other fun little incident just to bookend the whole adventure. So after throwing up all night in the hotel and the entire trip on the airplane, we got to Rio weak and delirious and still had to drive 3 hours home. After C my hero (this time I mean it!) navigated us out of the very confusing Rio metropolitan area, we started to climb the steep mountain pass that takes us towards home. It was super foggy and pouring rain and there was only about 20 feet of visibility. The road is windy and nauseating on a good day, and we were just sicker than dogs. And then, when we got to just about the highest point in the pass we suddenly hear "thumpthumpthumpthump". Yes, a flat tire... We pulled off the road and in the fog and freezing rain, our stomachs roiling and lurching we had to change a tire. I held a towel (no rain coats or umbrellas available) over C's head and somehow through the dry heaving he managed to work a jack and get the spare on. Seriously, he’s my hero.