So as my previous posts alluded, I have just returned from a trip around South America; including stops in the state of Bahia, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Iguazu Falls, Argentina – a quick trip around Foz de Iguacu on the Brazilian Side, Ciudad del Este in Paraguay and lastly back home – safe and sound, though certainly not any lighter – to Asuncion, Paraguay.
On Monday, September 27 – the long awaited day in my book – I left my house at 3 am to head to the International Airport in Asuncion. It is a very strange phenomenon here that most flights take off at the oddest hours, like my flight to Sao Paulo taking off at 5 am (there is also the flights that land between midnight and 5 am, which is very common.) The flight to Sao Paulo was short and sweet, only about an hour and a half, if that. When I landed I thought it would be a great idea to pick up a nice bottle of wine in duty free to toast our arrival in Brazil and our being together after so much time apart, but I accidentally went through customs before thinking it through sufficiently and instead had to look at the pretty duty free from within the confines of glass walls. The only compensation was the delicious cheese bread (Pao de Queijo) that I ate continuously throughout Brazil and discovered in the airport!
From Sao Paulo I took a plane to Salvador, about 2 more hours in flight, (all in all not bad!) I had expected to beat Aleks to the airport by an hour, but since my second flight was delayed about an hour and a half I could see him waiting on the other end of baggage claim. I opted to completely ignore that I saw him rather than wave stupidly from the other end of the glass door in futile anticipation – and instead maintained a high level of anxiety until my bags finally appeared and I could break free.
At last!!! After about 3.5 months of separation there is nothing quite as rewarding as that first embrace, especially when you have 3 long weeks sprawled out in front of you. We had to rush around a bit as we were meant to take a 20 minute flight from Salvador to the small island of Morro de Sao Paulo where we would be spending the next 5 days. Apparently they did not like the weight of Aleks’ suitcases and were threatening to charge an obscene amount of money to put them on our tiny plane. Of course, when most of said weight was transferred magically to “carry ons” weight was no longer an issue…
When we arrived at the tiny plane and realized that it was about half our size (or Aleks’ at least!) we couldn’t help but laugh. It was a teeny tiny plane in which we had been told that 6 passengers could fit, but we were concerned about even making it with 3 of us (our dear travel companion for that memorable trip) and our luggage. The flight was fantastic, and thankfully short, as we saw the heaven that we would be lazing on for the following week. When we arrived at the landing strip, 6 passengers awaited the flight to return to the mainland and we watched with undisguised amusement as they puzzle-pieced their luggage and then themselves into the tiny jet.
We had landed on Beach 4, and were told we were staying somewhere beyond Beach 1 – and so began our meandering through the island at high tide, (much of the beach and walkways disappear when the water level rises,) up and down ramps and stairs and sandy paths, with two muscle men (ha – one was teeny tiny and the other tall and skinny – but both shockingly strong!) carrying all of our luggage in a wheelbarrow.
When we arrived at the last stretch and the two men started bulking up the luggage out of the cart – I swear I’ve never seen a tiny man, or any man for that matter, prop two unreasonably heavy suitcases on top of his head before. We realized that we had come to the dreaded stairs part of our accommodations, or so we thought. From that point upwards in the hill was a sand path separated by wood logs. Thinking that was the worst of it, I almost keeled over when we finished our uphill climb to the entrance of Pousada Colibri to discover the 150 steps straight uphill that we had read about in TripAdvisor reviews.
After tipping the “taxi” men for guiding us home, and having a cold glass of water with the lovely German couple who runs the Pousada, we took in the unbelievable sites spread out before us. Breathtaking views of the ocean and island from the top of the mountain. We knew we made the right choice and were in for an incredible and relaxing vacation.