Trip to the Islands

Itaparica Travel Blog

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So on Friday, the girl I was supposed to meet up with never showed up. But I did meet her friend Natalie who is from England and we ended up sharing a cab with a guy named Francisco from Boston. Francisco is here from Notre Dame pre-med and is working with people with Leprosy in the favelas. Natalie has been traveling around South America for 6 months and will be going for another year, making her way to Australia and New Zealand before she goes back to England. They're both a great resource! We went to Pelourinho, the oldest and most famous part of the city. I must say, I was overwhelmed. It was exactly what I had imagined of Brazil. Bright colored buildings, huge plazas with tons of churches everywhere and loud music in the streets. People were doing Capoiera with loud drums and crowds watching. There was samba music echoing from the clubs. Natalie and I ran into Francisco again in a bar and met the Brazilian girl he is seeing, Thiana. She was gorgeous and very nice. We all ended up going to a place where they had live music and stayed there for a while watching older couples dance. Her friend Elisaro came to join us, prepared with an English/Portuguese book. After that, we went to a samba club where I met people from all over the world and got to speak Spanish, French, English and a bit of broken Portuguese with Thiana. The Brazilians are very nice and patient people (when you meet the right ones) and she invited us to to a beach further up the coast this week. She gave me her number and email. I got home around 3 am and had to be up early for my trip to the islands.
I went to the Islands with a group from my school. There were a few Americans, a couple Germans, a Mexican and a couple Spaniards in the group. I hung out mostly with the Spaniards from Barcelona and spoke Castillan Spanish. :) It was a comforting feeling to hear that accent again and speak a language I was much more comfortable in. We went to Ilha dos Santos and Itaparica, the big island. It was very touristy, but just right for my second day in Brasil. The Baia de Todos os Santos (the bay here) is absolutely huge and has over 500 islands in it. Its the biggest bay in Brazil, maybe even South America. It took an hour and half to get to the first island, Ilha dos Frados. By the time we got there I couldn't wait to get off the boat! We stayed the entire time on the white sand beach and in the clear water which is surprisingly warm for winter. I had an agua de coco (coconut water) straight from a fresh green coconut. It really made my stomach feel better after the boat ride. The trip to the next island was about 40 minutes and to the big island Itaparica, which you can see from Salvador. I can actually see it from where I am right now, it looks like the other side of the Bay, but its just a big island. We had a huge lunch there and took a tour around the island where we saw the guy who wrote Girl from Impanema´s house, Capoeira and drank from the fountain of youth. By the time we got back to the boat, it had began to rain. The ride back was really cold with the wind, rain and splashing water. Yet eventhough everyone looked miserable and cold, the Brazilians continued to sing, play the banjo, drums and tambourine. They even still danced on the rocky boat and this lifted everyones spirits and even made us warmer. The Brazilians have such a beautiful spirit. No matter how poor they are (most of them even go barefoot), they are always smiling, dancing, and singing.
I got a lot of sun yesterday without realizing it. You will probably not recognize me by the time I come home, I will be so dark. However, by Brazilian standards, I´m pretty white! :)
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photo by: boxinbcn