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Mez’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 02 Dec 2007

Location: Rainforest & Honey Island, Brazil

Brazil so far has proved itself quite expensive. I have not seen any beggars or homeless people since I have crossed the border, have not seen the poverty of the other countries in particular Bolivia and we by no means stay in any of the ritzy areas. Brazil, much like the rest of South America is obssessed with soccer - or as they call it Futbal. And Brazil is a meat lover´s paradise. Steak with freakin everything. It´s also a vegetarian´s nightmare. Many a meal has consisted of pretty much lettuce and a tomato. Am soooo hungry!
Another overnight bus (aarrrgghhh!!!!!! only 1 more to go!) brought us to Curitiba where we boarded a train which took us through the Atlantic Rainforest to Marumbi State Park railway station. Loaded with our packs we had a 3 hour trek through the forest along the Rainforest Trail to Rochedinho Peak. The rainforest is gorgeous although trudging through with our packs in 35 degree heat is somewhat less than an amazing experience. The trail leads us to our Rainforest lodge or ´pasoda´ in the village Morretes, which literally translates to ´Little Hills´. Our lodge is, yep you guessed it - gorgeous! There are small rooftop cabins, a pool and the lodge is based right next to the river. Although, because of the pool, I didn´t venture out to the river. All of my time was spent by the pool. It was lovely being able to hear the river flowing though. Would have loved to have had another tubing experience, but because it´s now summer the river was too shallow.
We all piled into a Volkswagon van and drove out to the town of Porto de Cima for dinner. Had a walk through the town and it was sooo beautiful. Guess I´d have to say one of my favourite places in Brazil so far. Tiny little cobblestone streets, beautiful, warm weather and they even had a little Christmas village set up complete with their own Santa! Got really clucky watching all the very cute little kiddies line up to sit on his knee. Perhaps my eyes even glistened a tiny little bit :-) The orphanages have changed me I think.
The next day we caught a local bus to the town of Paranagua where we hopped on a boat and sailed across to Pescas Island, or as the locals call it ´Ilha de Pecas´. We hopped off the boat and into canoes and rowed around the island watching all the dolphins swim around us. Was pretty cool, there were loads of them. Lots of food for them around the island, and was extremely happy to note that nobody on the tour took up the option of swimming with (or as I like to call it ´chasing´) the dolphins. Am also getting pretty good at the whole rowing thing, or just exercise in general I think. Who would have thought!
We stopped off at a part of the island which was full of mangroves and then trudged around in the mud for a while, they called it a ´forest walk´. Got bitten by about a million sand flies as they were attracted to the mud and then back into the canoes for lots of scratching and rowing, some time for a quick dip in the ocean and back to the boat.
A couple of hours later we embarked at Honey Island - Ilha do Mel. OH MY GOD - Giligan´s Island eat your heart out! Sooo awesome here. I know I say that about every single place I go to, but FINALLY a beach, loads of tiny little huts, HAMMOCKS! and just loads and loads of spare time :-) Was in HEAVEN :-) This quickly became my favourite place in Brazil!
The only activity I did was a walk to the lighthouse from which you can see most of the Island. Was pretty cool, you could see most of the beaches from there. Was hoping for a sunset too, but there was way too much cloud cover.
Spent the 2 days here just sitting on the beach working on my tan with my Gin & Tonic, swimming, and reading my book in my HAMMOCK!! Gotta get one for back home, sooooo comfortable, so relaxing :-) Its was sooo good. Now THIS is a holiday :-)
Honey Island was really hot during the day 35-40 degrees (the seasons here are the same as Melbourne) and then the temperature drops in the evening with cool, comfortable sea breezes, perfect for a great night´s sleep. There is a party atmosphere here, loads of Brazilian´s come to Honey Island for their holidays. There are heaps of bars and restaurants dotted all around the Island which kick off at about 10pm and stay open until the wee hours of the morning. But I wasn´t letting anything get in the way of my beach time, so I was promptly in bed by 1am! Just getting my base tan ready in preparation for my 8 days on the beach in Rio!
Loads of shopping here, and cool stuff - not all the handicraft shite they have all over South America. If this is any indication of what they have in Brazil, am looking forward to a spot of shopping in Rio too. Everything is so over-priced on the Island, and considering Brazil isn´t all that cheap I think I´ll hold out until I get back to the mainland.
All of the beaches are surf beaches so lots and lots of surfer dudes here. The water is warm and crystal clear and there is a huge surf culture. Almost every store offers surfing lessons and hires out boards. There are no banks here, really, really low key. But they do have a painfully slow internet café / book exchange where you can either test your patience on the net, or relax in one of their hammocks, leafing through their selection of pre-loved novels while sipping a latté. Ok, ok, not so Giligan´s Island anymore, but it still has that feel about it.
The only bad thing about Honey Island is that you have to wear shoes or thongs while you´re walking around. There are these nasty little microscopic parasites which live in the sand. They burrow into your flesh and lay eggs which produces a disgusting infection. Apparently you don´t find out about this until a few days later when the itching starts and lumps appear in your feet. These then have to be cut out of your skin. Yuck! So thongs all the way. The beaches are safe though, only need to worry when wondering around inland where the cafés and restaurants are.
Needless to say, my stay here was simply devine. Truly relaxing. Loved it!