Hi all =)
It has been ages and ages since my last blog, and I’m sure you’re all wondering if we still intend to give you some updates via this blog . . . well, it seems I’m going to have another ”go” at it 😉
Two weeks ago we went to Ilha Grande. It’s really unfair to you all that I’m only going to have two hours in which to blog, but hopefully I’ll get in another blog before we leave. (But you’re not supposed to know that yet.)
Okay, first, Ilha Grande.
Wonderful weather, wonderful people (had a couple from the church come spend the long-weekend with us on the boat) and yummy food. =)
We motored all the way to Ilha Grande (it might not look that far from Rio, but we took a whole day – it’s much longer by boat!) partly because we wanted to get there (sailing . . . for our boat you need strong Wind in the right direction.) Partly because we wanted to put hours on the engine. Yes, our engine is once more ‘up and running’, thanks to lots and lots of work by a great mechanic, and various other dedicated individuals.
On the way to Ilha Grande (we hadn’t even left the bay at that point) there was a guy in a row boat who ”asked” for help. (The quotation marks are for the lack of language that occurred.) Unfortunately, major disaster befell us – the man had tied his rope over the top of the boat to the inside, rather than outside, so when Shang Du started speeding up, we pulled the little boat’s nose into the water . . . in short, we have been taught a valuable lesson in terms of how fast little boats can sink. At first we tried to haul it up with the rope. (We used the winch.) And for the first part we definitely had it – but we must have lost it at some point. It was a really strange experiance. We then had a wet guy with his anchor on our boat. Luckily a rescue boat was able to take him back to shore. It was a realy strange happening.
When we finally reached Ilha Grande it was after midnight, and very dark. We motored into a ‘Palmas’ or something bay, and anchored as soon as we were able. It was absolutely wonderful to be able to hear crickets! We could smell the land (I think it must have also rained recently) and we could see the stars. The same feeling as when you’re in the middle of the Kruger Park. 🙂
Everywhere we went on the island., we anchored Shang Du. We now have a very smooth ‘take off’ procedure. Although we still need a min. of 4 people to pull it off – my dad is Always at the windlass (the mechanical winch for the anchor). I can do it, but it is much easier for my dad. Either Karin or Sophia will be on the prow with our saltwater hose, to wash of the depressing amount of silt from the chain. (Everywhere around Ilha Grande we anchored in silt.) Then there are the two tasks Franci and I take turns with: one entails sticking half your body into an awkward hole to swing madly at never-ending, deceptively heavy chain with one arm (so that it doesn’t form a heap and block the hole) while desperately holding the cubby-hole door open with the other hand (at a strange angle) to give yourself some light. The other, sitting in the wonderful breeze, glancing now and again at my dad (who theoretically gives you a signal to reverse or go over the anchor if it needs a little help with the concept that we want it to let go now, yes, you did very well last night, but we want to leave now!) this only happened twice. You also have an amazing sense of power . . . guess which one I like most?
We did some walking trails on the island, and saw some Howler monkeys while coming back from a waterfall. I did everything on land barefoot. The very first time my mom insisted we all bring our shoes (we were going to walk a path to go find another beach) but I never wore them. As we are now on the subject of beaches – at Ilha Grande I had my first ‘tropical island, white sand, blue water, palm trees’ experience. I could even imagine i had a wonderful tan, comparing the white sand clinging to my legs to my skin colour 😉
I loved that sand! I was White, White, white, and it squeakes when you walk on it ^_^ Karin didn’t much care for the texture (she liked the rougher, brown beach on the land-side of the island better.) Wonderful swimming, snorkeling and the like. =) (The water was a little bit milky, on account of all the rain.)
During the week we didn’t just party 😉 . My dad still had work to do, and us kids did our school. We could still swim directly from the boat (wich was pretty awesome) and evern though we didn’t do it every single day (because it rained) we could have, because the water temperature didn’t change.
We are now back in Rio (and have been for the past two weeks.) The plan is to get everything done that needs doing asap, and then head back to Ilha Grande. After spending some more time there, we want to head up north . . . don’t know specifics yet.
We came back on a Sunday, but the Monday when we went to have our visas renewed for another three months . . . oh, the drama! We headed off right after breakfast, but the complications were such that we spent the whole day on busses, our feet, and on benches.
It was the first time we dicovered the delight of caramel-popcorn.
On the subject of food: hereby follows a list of my pesonal favourites and opinions of Brazilian food on the whole:
1st I love Guaraná. It is the only soft drink I will drink. The best way (I think) of describing it, is it tastes like Sprite and fruit juice mixed. I am very sorry to think I will not be able to bring this back to South África 😉
2nd Açaí. Açaí is techically the berry’s name, but what we buy in the little shops next to the street is in the form of a smoothy, or soft-serve ice cream. Only Karin and Sophia don’t like it, but I really like it. Sometimes it’s served with muesli, and often it’s mixed with all sorts of fruit.
3rd Over all statement: Brazil does not do preserved items so well. Chocolate and sweets are generally not very tasty or good quality. They do freshly-made with extreme expertise and love all things condensed-milk. The list of things made from condensed milk is long, and most of the listed items are in my good books. However, one I must mention, is brigadeiros. A must for all Brazilian parties (whatever the occasion) this fudgy, cocoa treat is very Brazilian. This I can at least ‘take home’. The recipy is fairly simple, and yummy. (I must comment on the lack of caramel in Brazil – in SA we buy condensed milk and caramel in pretty much the same type of tin, but here there are no ‘ready available’ caramel products. Well, not in tins, anyway.) My dad really likes this.
4th (An extension on the condensed milk theme). There is this tart – Torta de Limão. It is also a super easy, delicious condensed milk based treat. It basically consists of a base, filling (condensed milk and lime/lemon) and a meringue topping. The first time we ate this (okay, so far the only time – but I’m planning on making one soon) was when the mechanic working on our boat brought one and told us to share it out. Apparently he had wanted to buy a slice, and then they wrapped the whole thing for him . . . oh well 😉 My dad really really likes this one too.
5th . . . but I’ve run out of time.
I will write again before we leave, as I still have lots things to tell, but I want to post this now anyway, so that you can at least read something after our long silence =)