13:01.29S 038:45.12W – Ilha do
I had returned to
The marina, locked and guarded day and night by armed security men, is by the docks– one of the less salubrious areas of town, and the area just a short distance outside of the marina is so dangerous that not even the police venture in. It is a very pleasant sort of prison – with the goodies on the inside. So, sadly, one feels constrained to wander around and get a feel for the place, the people and the culture.
Liliana and her boyfriend Rodrigo came to the rescue.
Liliana is an old friend of Selina and had stayed with us for a few weeks when
she came to
On Monday evening I was sitting on the bow of the boat when I saw an unusually fine example of South American chic sashaying down the pontoon.
“Hell-lo” I drawled as she approached. “Ding…dong. Fancy coming aboard for a drink?”
“You bet” she said in almost faultless English, “I could murder a gin and tonic”.
This one was going to be a cinch, but, there was something disturbingly familiar about the easy way she chucked her luggage up to me, climbed up and swung her shapely leg over the pulpit. Having poured us both a stiff one, my unease persisted until it all came flooding back; this was no common-or-garden conquest of which there have been so many in the past few months – this was none other than the Downstairs Skipper herself. I had seen so little of her over the last few months that I had completely forgotten what she looked like. It was the nagging that started the moment she had got the drink in her hand that was the giveaway. What bliss – we were together again at last.
Tuesday was spent at supermarkets re-provisioning the boat, not least in preparation for taking Liliana and Rodrigo out for a sail on Wednesday. It was good to be out of the heat of the marina for the day.
Meanwhile the marina was beginning to fill up, as was the
Thursday morning I awoke feeling a little below par. By lunchtime I was feeling dreadful. The DS took my temperature – it was sky high. I took to my bed and the DS showing an unusual degree of sympathy (must have had something to do with our months of separation) caressed my fevered body with a flannel dipped in ice water. The shock would have killed a lesser man. As I slipped in and out of consciousness (OK that may be slightly dramatic exaggeration, but I did spend most of the day sleeping) we speculated as to the cause of the fever. Denghue fever was the DS’s first typically pessimistic theory. No. Too inconvenient – it takes weeks to recover from. Food poisoning? Possibly, but some of the symptoms were inconsistent. Heat exhaustion? Almost certainly, given all the right components and symptoms. But my favoured theory is that it was a simple case of love fever. Our passionate reunion after so long apart had taken its toll. Whatever the cause, the second liveliest Carnaval in the world passed us by unnoticed that night as I lay, near death, within the very sound of the drum beats.
Friday morning, and I staged a near miraculous recovery. Temperature was normal and, apart from feeling a little weak, everything else was normal too. So by Friday evening, we were ready to join the party. We took the “Elevador” up to the historic old town and as we emerged into the main square all our senses were bombarded. The music blasting from the vast floats hit you in the solar plexus. The streets were crammed full of Brazilians wearing extraordinary costumes, and everyone was gyrating to the sound of the Brazilian beat.
Brazilian women are renowned for their voluptuous bottoms and they show these off to great effect, bumping and grinding them ceaselessly to the never-ending rhythm as the parade of floats wind through the streets at a snail pace. It’s crazy; it’s noisy, it’s happy, it’s fun – it’s CARNAVAL!
If we had any concerns about security in the crammed streets, our fears were allayed by an overpowering presence of the military and police. They were all over the place as they stood vigilantly in groups, or marched in great squads through the crowds fully decked out in riot gear, gripping their riot batons, guns at their hips. But there was no trouble. Everyone was happy.
On Saturday, re-provisioned and party’ed out we slipped
our lines and left the marina for the start of our journey south. But before we
were to head out into the Atlantic rollers we were to spend a couple of days
We sailed round the