Big Foot and Snow Crash - Mangaratiba
When I was a kid I had a nickname 'Big Foot'. I like to think it was more because it was the only English word the market stall holder I worked for knew, than any physical attribute of mine. Needless to say, 'Big Foot' is not a title I aspire to.
My mother and I had caught the early morning fast launch from Abraão on Ilha Grande over to Concepção de Jacaré on the mainland, then a bus to Rio de Janeiro and a taxi to the airport. After waving goodbye, I caught a bus to Mangaratiba where I was hoping to meet up with Franco. The catch was that Franco's mobile phone had snow crashed the night before. This is when the screen goes all fuzzy. Mangaratiba bay looked very shallow on the chart which meant Caramor would have to anchor a long way out, well out of hailing distance.
My bus pulled into the square just before 10pm and Franco was waiting. "Hello Patagone" he greeted me. 'Patagones' are the mythical original population of Patagonia; 11-foot tall Indians with enormous feet who, according to Magellan's chronicler Pigafetta, "swallowed rats without skinning them and took pleasure in the yard-long breasts of their women."
Franco had a point. My feet had been swelling all day and by the evening my ankles were the same size as my calves. Courtesy of a girlie sandfly with bad mouth hygiene who had bitten us many weeks before in Camamu. Franco's bites had turned into nasty sores but had finally healed whereas mine had gone a bit funny in Rio. My visit to a chemist had been in vain "You need a prescription".
A small hospital was round the corner so we headed in search of a doctor. The service was excellent, and free. The receptionist showed empathy, a novel experience. She immediately went in search of the doctor. After the customary greetings and a discussion about his son who is living in Dublin, he prescribed me a full arsenal to defeat these vicious bacteria.
We paddled out to Caramor, anchored 500 metres out. The two moorings nearby, marked by lemonade bottles, which Franco had assumed were for fishing boats were now occupied ... by the large ferries that cross over to Ilha Grande! Not to worry, there was plenty of space. We said 'good night' to the night watchman who was surprised to see us paddling this far out.
The next day Franco found a small phone shop in a semi-derelict building run by a super efficient dwarf who fitted a new screen to the phone. At the minimarket, we were on high alert for cockroaches as cleanliness left something to be desired. A man with a mike read out the latest bargains. Staff stood around chatting while a man with a huge sack poured out the frozen meat contents onto a large table. A dog sauntered in casually, wandered over to the meat department at the back of the store, stood tall on his hind legs and reached up for a sausage, at the check-out, he passed below the radar. In the square, ladies were selling doilies. The internet shop served good coffee.
The ferry picked up its mooring around 6pm after a hard day's work.
Later, I was cooking tea, Franco heard a noise and went up to investigate. "Start the engine!" he yelled. "What?!" I stuck my head out. The big ugly ferry was no further than five metres away, slowly wallowing over to cuddle up to little Caramor. "But we were here first!" I protested. "He's on HIS mooring!" replied Franco.
The night watchman shone a light at us "Oh, its you" he said, and returned to his tea. We took in our anchor and moved 100 metres further out.
During the day, the wind had been blowing, Caramor had swung to the full extent of her chain and was sitting further north than she had the night before. When the wind died she stayed where she was. The ferry had returned and picked up its mooring. It was over 50 metres away but once the tide turned, it swung round to lie only a few metres off Caramor.
Sent from Caramor