Speeding around Paraty Islands - Day 407
What a fantastic day speeding around Paraty Islands, chilling in the water and then A delightful cooking lesson with rather a lot of Cachaça!
Boats get booked up quickly here in Paraty. We’d tried booking one via Google and WhatsApp but no success, so an early start to take our chance and see if we could get a boat today. We were in luck. There was a small speedboat available. After quickly checking out there were no other options (most boats are brightly coloured wooden ones that chug slowly and noisily along the sea), we agreed a deal.
What a great day. Gee was operating the boat, a young, quiet guy who spoke a bit of English and I established that he lives on a yacht and plans to sail around the world next year. He took us to various bays, either off the mainland or off one of the many tiny islands. It was interesting to see that the water varied in different places, I suppose this is due to the currents and the minerals in the rocks. Sometimes the sea was crystal clear, other times a bit murky; it was calm or with gentle waves; some places had amazing fish-life and others none. Whatever the condition, the sea was perfectly warm. Usually, it would take me a good 10 minutes to venture into the ocean to get used to the temperature, not here. Straight in, no messing. It was such fun us all together, swimming around, floating, snorkelling or relaxing on the boat.
Occasionally we would go and explore an island. On one, Gee showed us a pathway which took us to the other side of the island where it was usually deserted. Four people were there with their rowing boat and a sound system blaring at full blast. Oh Well. We relaxed sitting in the shallow, calm water, and tiny fish started swimming around our feet. Who needs to go and pay for a fish pedicure when you can come here! I am glad to say that no fish or feet were harmed during the relaxing in the sea.
Back on the boat to eat our delicious lunch of rolls filled with meats and fish we had cooked previously and helped down with cocktails that Laura had made and frozen. Gee was very grateful that we shared our lunch with him, he hadn’t bought anything to eat or drink. (He had virgin cocktails, as did Tim as he was driving, we plan well!).
Just before our five-hour boat trip was up, Gee took us to one last island and led the way up a steep path. At the top were three canyons. And it’s easy to see why these were needed. Remember that ships were being lined with gold here, a magnet for pirates and a perfect location to hide among the nooks and crannies of the many tropical islands, ready to pillage and plunder.
Back on the mainland, I needed to get some money out ready for tonight. I mention this as I, in the end, had to go to three banks, a right palaver! The first I queued for such a long time that Georgia came to check I was ok. After queuing for a good 15 minutes, I was ushered into the bank to be told that I couldn’t use our debit card there, but I could try two banks up the road. The next one, a very surly Bank clerk looked at my card and barked at me pointing to the door. I took it from his behaviour that I couldn’t use the card there either. I was not amused by his customer service. Third time lucky, a very nice security guard showed me how to get English translation on the ATM, which button to press all and with a friendly smile, resulting in money glided out, at last.
I have found that the customer service is either excellent or dire here in Brazil, no happy medium.
Six hours later we were back in Paraty to meet the delightful Yara and Richard for our Cooking Lesson. Yara, a sprightly mature lady in her 70s, is from Brazil and met Richard in Paris when she was a ballet dancer many moons ago. She still has much grace and elegance in her movements. Richard, according to our calculations is in his early 80s, yet we would never have guessed. A youthful twinkle in his eyes and so full of the enjoyment of life, he sat us down in their beautiful home, wheeled the drinks trolley over and taught us how to make Caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil. And of course, it included a massive shot of Cachaça with lime, sugar and ice. Oh my! Later, when we went to do some cooking, I could hardly stand up and had to lean on the wall! #lightweight!
On with the cooking, Georgia grilled the cheese, Laura made the pudding and the rest of us scooping and stuffing tomatoes and vegetables julienned. Dinner was served and what a delicious meal it was. Richard and Lara were so interesting, talking about their lives in America and here, about the history of this fascinating country, about the food and how it is a blend of African, European, Japanese as well as food from the indigenous people. A delightful evening, what I can remember of it, and I am writing this on the morning of New Year’s Day – so double aftermath of alcohol! Hic!