Saturday, February 12, 2011

Days 12 & 13 in Paradise (?)

Summary: I had my ass handed to me by the waves (and just when I thought I was getting to be a deecent surfer), was stung on my ankle and butt by jellyfish, burned my leg on a motorcycle when my friend off-roaded and we fell, took the wrong bus turning my 1.5-hour commute to the beach into a 3-hour commute, lost my cellphone, waited an hour for another bus, and returned to the bus station and found my cellphone loooooong gone.

Details: The American guy I had met at the Creamfields concert over the weekend invited me to go on a hike with him on Monday. He picked me up early in the morning on his friend’s motorbike. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how inexperienced he was at driving a motorcycle until I was already sitting on back of the bike. Despite his limited knowledge of Florianopolis and my inexistent direction sense, we managed to find our way to the trailhead. The problem was that to reach it we had to drive through a neighborhood marked by hill after hill after hill. Hills are scary, to say the least, when the driver doesn’t know what he is doing. We reached the end of the neighborhood and turned onto a dirt road. As we continued on, the road consisted of less dirt and more rocks. Just when I was at the point of telling my friend that I would get off and walk, we hit a rock and the bike, he, and I all went tumbling down. As my bare leg hit the exhaust pipe, I felt a sensation that is regrettably all too familiar, the feeling of burning flesh.

With my leg burning and my hand bleeding, I limped behind my friend most of the trail. The trail wasn’t so much a trail as a path of slippery rocks which we had to scramble over to reach our destination, Costa da Lagoa. Costa is located on the far side of the Lagoa da Conceiçao and is known for its overpriced seafood restaurants and nice views. It is only accessible by two modes of transportation, a two-hour trail and a boat. My friend had not properly calculated the time it would take us to reach Costa, thinking it would take 45 minutes maximum. I have never seen anyone rip off their clothes that fast before. My friend sprinted to the end of the dock and jumped into the water. I followed suit. As he had to catch a flight later that day, we barely had time to go for a dip, eat, and catch the boat back to the trailhead. I joked with my friend that only an East Coaster could manage to transform a relaxed day outing into a rushed adventure. I opted to take the boat all the way back to town. There was no way I was getting back on that bike!

After my morning mishap, I decided to hit the waves at Praia Mole. I didn’t realize that Praia Mole is where the professional surfers go. I was knocked down by wave after wave. I could hardly keep my board above the jagged water. I struggled to hang on but the waves threw my board in one direction while pushing me under the water. The only thing I managed to accomplish in an hour was swallow a gallon of sea water.

The next day I decided to return to the beginners’ beach, Barra da Lagoa. Little did I know that because of the rain, Barra was not going to be a picnic that day. The waves were similar to those at Praia Mole the day before. I managed to stand up on the board a couple of times but rapidly lost my balance on the bumpy water. Meanwhile, the freezing cold water had attracted jellyfish. I thrashed wildly as I felt my ankle burning. To add to that, the rain had filled the water with debris that pricked my skin like thousands of splinters. After an hour in the water, I felt awful.

I accidentally boarded the wrong bus on the way home. I had already taken the wrong bus that morning, doubling the time of my commute to the beach. I was exhausted and the only thing I wanted to do was go home. I got off the bus and realized that I didn’t have my cellphone. I had to wait for an hour for another bus. By the time I reached the bus station, my cellphone was long gone. It was a definitely a día de azar (day of bad luck). I’m still glad to be in Floripa though, because in spite of everything, I still got to spend two days at the beach sitting on the sand and staring at the waves.

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