My Travels – Chapter 1 Brazil, part 2.1: Ilha Grande, The Big Island

Anyone who has been traveling before knows that the first time is the last time you will ever plan an itinerary before you go.  You probably also know that after about the first week, this itinerary goes to shit.  Most probably after meeting a group of people to which you proclaim, after the first night of serious drinking, that you “were destined to meet, and spend the rest of your lives partying together”.  

Our first and last scheduled stop was, Ilha Grande – The Big Island. 

3 hours or so down the coast from Rio is a little town called Angra, from here you can cross the water to the illusive Ilha Grande.   Not one of the more difficult spots on the trail to reach, but when it’s your first encounter with foreign public bus etiquette, it seems like it.

We arrived at the the “ferry port”.  Now obviously as a young, and what I see now as,  “pretentious twat”, I heard the word ferry and thought of Dover.  How wrong I was. 

A 3 hour wait and many beers later, a small wooden boat arrives.  Let’s get on it shall we? 

On the boat we had befriended a couple of Aussie lads who had also hit the beer whilst waiting for said boat. Two brothers, on a mission to source the now very famous açai (ass-si-ee) berry.  They had heard it was the next big thing and wanted to be the first in the land of stubby holders and roos to get the stuff.

We crossed over the great sea and arrive at a bustling beach village, still very much unspoiled.  Picture tall palms towering the pastel coloured, old wooden beach shanties.  A busy but tiny fish market next to the waves of sand, basking in the glorious sun.  This was like no place I have ever seen before.

Through a combination of other peoples guide books and a bit of hear say, the four of us made our way over to our hostel of choice.  Im not sure how this decision took so long. There’s only two hostels on the island and they were next to each other!  They are also both owned by the same person, Fred.  Fred’s a bit of a ledge and you will meet him properly in the Part 2.2. But I digress.  We turn left off the jetty and make your way down the beach to gecko’s hostel.  Go there! I promise you won’t be disappointed. 

We arrived at the first hostel and low and behold there was no room at the Inn.  There was however, space for 4 people at the aforementioned ‘Gecko’s’.  3 spaces in 1 room, and a single space in the other.  I volunteered to take the single in the hope that there may be some more magical people to add to our already lively party.  I entered the room to find 4 bunks.  One of which was free.  There were 3 guys, 2 of which were asleep, I lay claim to the fourth bed and was promptly greeted by Jarrad. 

Jarrad (another aussie) gave me the low down to why his 2 sleeping beau-di’s were seeing Z’s so early in the evening. “Power naps.  Big night last night. Another on the way”… Jackpot, time too party!

The boys awoke and I introduced Lew to the gang. Our friends from the boat had “fallen off”, or fallen asleep to be more precise.  Thus, they didn’t make the cut. 

As we (Jarrad, James, Adam, Lew and I) approached the terrace, our eyes were drawn to a table of 10 or so Argentinian girls. An exotic breed of which we had never encountered. Was this heaven?  Our divine thoughts were quickly and almost rudely interrupted by the indigenous call of the Aussie male; “BEER?”. A cold one in hand, I was able to pause and take moment. To absorb my surroundings.

The hostel’s terrace looked over the ocean and as the sun loosened its grasp on the day, the darkness crept in and so did “the feeling”.  I think “the feeling” is one of my favorite parts of the party.  Nerves and excitement interwind. The uplifting sensation of anticipation.  The thoughts of what might be become an endless winding road that twists and turns with what is potentially upon us.  And who could have guessed where this first night would take us? I certain didn’t expecting what was next!


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