Tonight I am writing from a hostel in Ilha Grande - the Big Island! I will have to add photos later however when I am home with my own laptop..
So far I've experienced a Brazilian wedding, watched a sunset over Rio from
Pão de Açúcar, hiked up the mountain to Corcovado (who needs cardio machines!?) and sailed to Ilha Grande, my current location.
Here it is a lot more peaceful/laid back than in Rio. There are no cars which is quite nice. I feel a bit like I am in Animal Crossing, which is intensified when I see beautiful butterflies fluttering around the hiking trails. Quick, where's my net?
There are numbered trails going all around the island, and I have hiked up the closest two. The others are too far by foot unless you set up camp for the night as you go.. which I will not be doing. My first trail was T1, which goes past a natural pool, an aqueduct, old farmhouse ruins which were used as a quarantine camp, and a waterfall. Had I walked farther for a couple hours, I'd have come across a cove, which sounded interesting but not practical given that I needed to account for the time it'd take to make my way back.
Today I hiked a longer trail which took me about 2 and a half hours.. I will most definitely be editing this post to add pictures soon, as they are much better than what I could write about the experience! I saw a magnificent large blue butterfly which I would have loved to get a picture of, but he landed high up and with his wings closed the beauty was hidden.. I have also seen many bright yellow butterflies who fly about madly and never seem to land anywhere! I lingered on the Lopes Mendes beach and took a taxi boat back, which was an amusing experience. I wasn't quite feeling up to th task of hiking all the way back..
Funnily enough, my Spanish has been getting a workout as well as my legs. I speak next to no Portuguese, and so rely on my knowledge of Spanish to get by. As such, I've been speaking far more Spanish here than back home or even Barcelona! One of those oddities of my travelling adventures.. Before my trip here I'd had the most interaction with Brazilian people in Morocco, on a trip to the Sahara. Perhaps next I shall learn new Arabic lingo in Peru?
The island is full of wandering cats and dogs (but mostly the dogs do the wandering and the cats stay in one place), and I'm quite liking it! Today I did experience the unsettling event of "How to Break up a Dog Fight." The men were yelling and kicking at the dogs, whacking them with brooms and crates.. The broom broke over the dog's back! It was certainly not lessening the dogs' aggression. Had these men not heard of water? A few bystanders looked as horrified as I felt, with one woman shouting a them in Portuguese. I only understood the word "water" so would think she had had the same thought I had had! The fight finally ended and one of the men called his dog back - he was cowering and certainly did not want to go.. Understandable after receiving such blows..
Thankfully, this seemed to be a one off event, and dogs are well loved here. I keep seeing a small black puppy around but I am not sure if it is the same dog or many lookalikes. There are also two cats living at the hostel. Both are friendly but one is really affectionate and started kneading me on the arm at our first encounter...
Well, I am quite sorry I am not yet able to provide photos, but I give my word that they shall be added when I am back in London! For my next few days, I am thinking of taking a boat trip around the island. It costs 160 reais and the boat stops at various beaches for an hour. There is also a half island trip for 110 reais, so I shall find out more about the various stops and see what I feel like doing.
For now I bid you boa noite!