Belizean sunrise

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Catching up - Ilha Grande

Haven't posted anything lately. Been kinda busy and Internet sucks most places, especially out on the island. I checked out of my timeshare at Copacabana Beach on Thur so we could go to Ilha Grande (Big Island) on Frid for 5 nights. It's an island about 2 hours south of Rio. Frid a.m took taxi to downtown Rio bus station to get the bus to IG. Great beaches and relaxing natural setting down there. Well, the trip down not so good. The 2-hour+ bus ride and then the 40min+ boat ride took a toll on my back. The beaches are not very close so you have to hike to them. Saturday wasn't too bad but my back really started acting up and I couldn't walk very far or very fast without stopping to rest.
Then Sunday morning we woke up to rain. Luci wanted me to go to the small town on the mainland to a free clinic to see about my back. I really didn't think they could do anything for me especially on a Sunday. I guess Luci didn't like that I didn't follow her suggestion about the clinic and with the rain she wanted to go back to Rio. I checked with the owner and he said we had paid for 5 nights and no refunds. She said too bad and left. Wow. I stayed since I had the room for 3 more nights. Crazy to just let it go.
I enjoyed just hanging out in the small island town of Abrao. It was a small bed and breakfast called a pousada. Cute place...simple accommodations and nice for the price of $60/night including decent breakfast. I met a couple from London and had some nice chats about their trips around South America on their way to Australia. And then another couple from Germany who spoke English. A pleasant change from most people only speaking Portuguese. Most of the people coming to the island are Brazil tourists. Again, they really don't seem to cater to English-speaking people but you get by. Weather wasn't all that great so I just used the time to walk around the town, relax my back and do nothing.
I checked out on Wed morning and took the boat to the mainland to a van. It was called the "Speed Connection" to Rio but it wasn't what they advertised. Not much is down here. The boat ride was fine but the van was a junky 15-passenger van which we crammed in 14 people plus luggage. And, no a/c as they said. I tolerated it and was first off for some reason at the airport since it was close to Luci's place. I took a taxi to her house to get the rest of my luggage and went to a small hotel in central Rio.
Rio's Nice Hotel. Kinda a nice place in an area that is being redeveloped. Lots of people, small streets and numerous cars and buses. I got used to it. A girl at the front desk spoke good English (rare) and helped me call Copa to change my flight home. I got the only seat left over the weekend - leaving late Frid night. Today, Thur, I wandered slowly around the area toward a small marina, seeing all the interesting buildings old and new. My back and feet hurt but I stopped and rested enough so I made it OK. Back to the hotel early and up to the roof to splash in the 8x10 pool – woohooo. Then I found the sauna room and used it with turns in the cool pool. A big storm front was coming across the city and it was pretty neat to see it come over us on the roof.
At one point I just sat up there and let the rain wash me off. Really was an amazing experience. Back to the room to dry off and decide what to eat. Still raining out so I just walked next door to Bob’s Burgers. Haaa. Had like a big mac for dinner in my room with beer. Woo hooo. Tomorrow I'll rest up for the trip home. Leave 230am Sat and get into LAX around 330pm. Gain the 6 hours back. Great, I need it.

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