April 10th – rose early (I was up before anyone else – everyone else had partied hardy into the wee hours and were still sleeping), tiptoed downstairs and ate buffet breakfast, only to realize how tired I still was, and returned to bed to adjust to the new time zone and opposite season a little longer.
By mid-morning, Sol and Meriem were headed off to Campeche Island, and though originally I had planned to join them, I decided to stay behind and do something different with my day. I was concerned about how much longer I could realistically stay in Brazil without my baggage, before letting American Airlines know I needed to return stateside. I had no change of undies or any other clothes, no swim suit, no sandals, no toiletries, no nada….I was washed up ashore on a strange land with nothing, and it was a situation where I couldn’t last much longer before something needed to change.
It was a gorgeous day, wispy clouds high in the sky but lots of blue, and sunshine. The kayaks were hanging on the wall – I decided to kayak the lagoon. The water was almost glass when I started, and I headed north along the shoreline. Although houses rimmed the shore most of the way, there was so much greenery and flowers it looked quite tropical and rural. To the west the hills rose, covered in large jungle-like trees with houses scattered behind their branches. The lagoon is so large that it’s more like a large lake. Several passenger ferries passed me taking people to the northern towns along the lagoon that have limited or no road access. Finally I reached the northern limits of the lagoon. I’d been paddling a couple hours, so it was time to turn the nose around and head back.
On the return, the wind had picked up and I was battling small waves that were washing across the top of the kayak. My aching arms were straining with the paddle, but I forced myself onward and finally turned a point of rock where, after that, the wind calmed down and I made it back to my launch site cove with no problem.
And miracle of miracles! MY DUFFEL BAG HAD ARRIVED AT SUBMARINO HOSTEL! INTACT! WITH NOTHING MISSING! WITH THE FLIMSY BAGGAGE CLAIM TICKET STILL ATTACHED! You’ve never seen a happier camper than I was then! Talk about worries melting away and suddenly the rest of the journey was STILL ON! I didn’t have to return to the States early and spend a small fortune replacing all my lightweight hiking gear, etc. I was ecstatic to take a shower, get clean, brush my teeth (what luxury!), put on fresh clothes, and go out on the town to celebrate and see the world with a much relieved, fresh, open view!
There are a number of wonderful restaurants in the town of Logoa de Conceicao. I chose one that had outdoor seating and ordered the most delicious sandwich and to-die-for coffee, and caught up my journal with all the happenings.
Afterwards, I meandered around back streets to see what off-main drag looked like. And in doing so – ANOTHER little miracle happened….I found a 10 Real note (Brazilian Reals are like U.S. dollars) on the sidewalk. With the exchange rate, it was worth about $8.00 U.S. dollars. I decided to spend it right away on a pair of earrings, since my ears felt naked. Many of the guide books I had read before leaving the States warned against wearing jewelry to Brazil, for fear of thieves ripping it from your neck as they passed by. Yet, everywhere I’d been in Brazil so far all the women were wearing lots of jewelry, and much of it was silver and gold. I missed my regular pair of earrings I had left behind in the U.S., so I shopped at a couple of small jewelry stores and found a sweet little pair of earrings for 10 Reals that I felt would suffice me for the rest of my Brazilian visit.
Back at the Submarino Hostel, Sol and Meriem had returned with disappoining news – the boat to Campeche Island left only on Sundays, and they were planning to leave before then. Since my duffel had arrived, I had decided to stay through Sunday – which was 4 days ahead – so I would still be able to go to Campeche Island, which is famous for it’s amazing archaeological rock carvings.
The Submarino Hostel guests and owners partied again late into the wee hours of the morning, while I retired early. I was beginning to realize that EVERY night in Brazil is a party night. It’s not reserved for Fridays and Saturdays, it’s literally a way of life! And rising at 10 a.m. is also a way of life – no shops are open before 10, and more open around noon. Many shops also do the afternoon Siesta closing, similar to Mexico. More adaptations to get accustomed to …but meanwhile I hit the hay, one relieved and happy traveler that my bag had arrived, and feeling fully dressed and complete now that I had my new pair of earrings. Slumber came easily with the blessing of my earplugs 🙂