Thanksgiving on the Ilha Grande

Trip Start Aug 03, 2007
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Trip End Aug 01, 2008


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Thursday, November 22, 2007

We cannot get away from the beach in Brazil and we are glad for that! We passed back through Rio on our way further southwest to Angra dos Reis where we then caught a boat that took us to the Ilha Grande (Big Island). It was one of our favorite Brazilian visits. The island is described as all tropical beach and Atlantic rain forest and it truly is! There are a few settlements on the island where there are small communities but no cars, just pedestrians! It was such a sweet reprieve to not hear car engines or honking horns.
We arrived into the port settlement of Abraao and it reminded us a bit of the waterfront of Avalon in Catalina although much more lush and green. Waterfront restaurants and hostels were aplenty once you stepped off the pier along with many tasty dessert carts. We found ašai topped with granola, banana and honey so we were delighted! We also had our first sushi dinners of the trip and that was a little taste of heaven for us. We haven┤t seen many sushi restaurants on our travels in general, but we also hesitate to eat raw fish in many places for health reasons. This sushi bar was really cheap so we had to visit it twice.
Since there are no roads for driving on the island, the only way to get to the other beaches are to take a boat or to hike among the many trails through the rain forest. This would be a great place to take camping gear or just a small pack and hike from one beach area to another, staying in different places along the way. We did a great 2-hour hike to a beach called Lopes Mendes which some claim to be the most beautiful beach in Brazil and we have to say it is the most beautiful beach the two of us have ever seen. It felt like we were walking onto a screensaver (you know those tropical beach shots that come with your computer?). Many people take a boat trip that drops you on the other side of the beach and then you have to walk a short trail to get there but we chose to hike the whole thing and were rewarded for it by arriving onto the beach to be the very first people there. No boats, no vendors, no other people, nothing. Just us and a stretch of gorgeous beach. The bright white sand even squeaked when you walked across it! (James said he has been on a beach in Australia with squeaky sand but I didn't believe him until that day). The water was beautiful and refreshingly cool and although there is often surf at this beach, the conditions were not so good the day we were there. We got quite a bit of sun that day while reading our books and napping and hiked through beautiful rain forest. Do you see why we loved this place so much?
Thanksgiving day arrived and it was a very strange experience for us to be in a place where no one celebrated or even recognized this American holiday! We did not hear or see any other Americans during our time there, though there may have been some in the island, so we felt like we were truly on our own in our celebration of the day. We talked about the things and people in our lives that we are thankful for and talked about our families' Thanksgiving traditions and what we would typically be doing that day were we at home. We definitely missed our families and the delicious food but are so grateful to be with one another on this amazing adventure.
We spent Thanksgiving day on a boat trip that allowed us to see a few other beaches of the island including the Blue Lagoon where we snorkeled. We loved just being in the water as well as swimming over giant orange starfish that lay on the ocean floor about 10 feet below us.
It was an incredible few days of enjoying some of God's most gorgeous creations.
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Comments

amcjones
amcjones on

Giving thanks for you two!
Thank you for continuing to update us back home on your fun adventures. We miss you but love seeing your adventures through this tool. We're giving thanks for God's blessing and protection on you both during this trip. Much love to you both as you continue frolicking around =)
adam and mc

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