The little island of Ilhabela is off the coast of Brazil between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. We have spent the last couple of days lounging on the beaches and sipping fresh coconut milk from the fruit through little straws. There are tiki huts on the beach and vendors walk up and down selling jewelry, sarongs, fake tattooes, barbecued cheese, and popsicles. It´s exactly what I´d imagined it to be and it feels really surreal to be here, burned pink (I used SPF 15 religiously but burned up anyway, have bought SPF 35 for the outrageous sum of about $15 US dollars for a tiny tube--sunscreen and aloe vera and other skin products are really expensive here, I think because the only people who seem to need them are white tourists!! I am by far the whitest person I have seen here so far).
We are staying in a little pousada (like a low-rent B&B) up on a hill with a view of the ocean and coconut trees all around, banana plants, etc. There are giant ants and salamanders in the room (big bugs, little lizards), which is a whitewashed little bungalow with a low door that I hit my head on three times in the first day. After being reduced to tears twice, I received a sign from Felix, taped on the door, that reads (Careful! don´t hit your head again, in Portuguese). Fx speaks a bit of Portuguese, and understands much more than I do (which is about 20% for him of what people say), but luckily everyone is really friendly. They speak in Portuguese to us, and we speak in Spanish to them, and there are a lot of smiles and thumbs up and thumbs down, and things seem to work out.
It´s really relaxing to be doing nothing. It´s also flipping hot here, about 90 degrees 24 hours a day, but sometimes nice winds blow, and the humidity is very high. It rained most of our first day here but nobody seems to mind and goes about their business as usual, since it´s warm anyway so the rain (which is warm) can be kind of refreshing.