Friday, October 16, 2015

It's Bad Manners to Keep A Vacation Waiting

I'm going to go ahead and blame my love of the beach on living so close to Mentor Headlands and going there every summer (and fall and winter and spring) for as long as I can remember. In happy times and in sad times, I have always escaped to Mentor Headlands. I've slowly moved farther and farther away from my beloved beach, but have definitely projected my love for Headlands onto other beaches. 
1992, 1993, 1994, and 2014. Some things never change.

Being at a beach, any beach, instantly lifts my mood. So when talk of heading back to Ilha Grande was going around, I wasn't about to say no. I would have gone hungry for a week if that's what it took to save money to go there for a weekend. It didn't, but I would have.

The many faces of me at the beach. #shamelessselfies
I love the feel of Ilha Grande. There are no cars, so time seems to move so much slower. There are restaurants lining the beach with their tables placed right in the sand. Boats are constantly pulling up to shore to drop people off or take them to another beach. Everyone is always slightly sunburnt, barefoot, and wearing a bathing suit. Everything and everyone seems so much more relaxed. And its awesome. 

We joined the sunburnt, barefoot, bathing suit clad community for entire weekend of boat riding and beach hopping. I honestly don't think there is a better way to spend a weekend. Heaven will be like Ilha Grande, I have no doubt.

As Matt, Maggie, and I on our Spring Break Adventure, we used Easy Transfer to get to the island. I could live without the 7am pick-up, but it does get us to the island around 1:30pm. Which is plenty of time for apple cinnamon crepes, sunbathing on the beach, and caipirinhas in the sand. It's also enough time to book a full island tour for the following day, but then be told that the tour is off (and then back on) at least three times.

Our entire night of praying/ begging for weather perfect for a full island tour must have paid off because on Sunday morning, we boarded a speed boat to take us around the island. Over the course of the day we stopped at Lopes Mendes and Dois Rios (just to look at from afar) and Caxadaço, Parnaioca, Aventureiro, Meros, and Manguariquessaba (for swimming and other shenanigans.) It was an awesome day. 

In Caxadaço, we jumped off baby cliffs. Which, in retrospect, weren't that high at all. In Parnaioca, we walked to a fake waterfall which was really just a river with some small rocks in it-- let down. In Aventureiro, we saw the horizontal growing palm tree and scaled a giant boulder for awesome 360 views of the beach. Terrifying, but awesome. In Meros, we stayed in the boat because the sun went behind the clouds and we were cold. Plus we had caipirinhas to drink. And, finally, in Manguariquessaba, we saw a real live sea turtle in the wild. My life is now complete.

L to R: Caxadaço, Parnaioca, Aventureiro, Mero, and Manguariquessaba
I know, right. I live in a real life screen saver. 

And since we can sleep when we are dead, we were up nice and early on Monday for another boat tour. This time to Lagoa Azul for a little snorkeling action. We made a couple of stops before arriving in Lagoa Azul, but again, the sun was nowhere to be seen and we were cold so we stayed on the boat. #gringalife 

Snorkeling was a huge hit-- fish by the hundreds. As well as countless jumps off the boat because we could and more selfies that I'm comfortable with admitting. We also got cake because someone else on our boat was celebrating their birthday (thanks, stranger) and then saw dolphins swimming through the waves created by our boat. Seriously, how is this my life? How is this a casual weekend of life in Rio? HOW?!

And to round out our weekend, our two and a half hour trip home became a seven hour trip home because everyone else in Rio was heading back after a long week and the traffic was atrocious. It was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect weekend.

See the little red dots before the green pin? It took us almost three hours to drive that far. 
Ilha Grande (or "Grand Island" as my phone so appropriately calls it) may not be Mentor Headlands, but it rejuvenates my soul in the same way. And I didn't even have to go hungry the week prior to get there.

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