Nothing has been drying over the last few days. Despite the temperatures being on the cool side (highs of 22 degrees - nowhere near sizzling enough), humidity seems to be at a maximum. We packed up soggy towels, t-shirts and swimming attire as we needed to check out to head back to Rio.
Over breakfast we chewed the fat with Josy, the housekeeper at the pousada who came en masse with her extended family to work on Ilha Grande four years ago. She comes from Salvador in north-eastern Brazil, the country’s poorest region but one brimming with interesting things to see and learn as Salvador was declared by the Portuguese as the original capital. Josy decried the violence in her home city, saying that Ilha Grande is a welcome tranquil world for her. I thought she was no more than 30 until she said her 19-year old daughter is expecting. Erlyn then had a good laugh with her about their skin, as they’re both black. ‘Para retardar la vejez’ (to slow down old age), he chuckled.
Josy was delightful so we left a generous tip and a parasol that some random French tourists had passed to us. She seemed overjoyed about the parasol and I hope she will get to use it on the beach with her new grandchild three months from now.
Despite all that we hear about crime and inequality here, Brazil’s cities are still poorer, grittier and grimier than I imagined, and this is one of the wealthiest regions. After coming off the island we had to wait a few hours in the municipal capital of Angra dos Reis as buses for Rio left more spasmodically than anticipated. We wandered around the centre of town, which isn’t going to win any beauty prizes but shops were bustling. It did seem different to British high streets where a long-standing brand seems to be going into liquidation every week.
The journey back to Rio hugged the so-called Costa Verde. It was a lumbering journey but very picturesque in parts. At dusk we arrived back at the imposing Rio bus terminal (Rodoviária) and navigated our way to Copacabana in rush hour traffic. I enjoyed the bus ride through the city and reflected that it’s both strange and surprising what relatively mundane activities provide satisfaction when travelling.