Friday, December 28, 2012

Brazil Day 8: Americans are welcome!

The whole fuss about not getting a night dive was all very silly. In Brazil, you have to go with the flow and enjoy the journey. Part of the charm of Arraial do Cabo is that fact that so few English-speaking tourists visits. To most locals, spotting an American is a novelty that would surely wear off if we were to show up, loudly, en masse, demanding Venti Skinny Soy Macchiato. In the meantime, so many people we met seemed at the same time surprised and genuinely excited to have a true English-speaking American in their presence. When I boarded the dive boat, the first thing a staff member said was "where are you from?" and then immediately "why are you here?" This is the 3rd time we have visited a beach town that is completely off the American tourist map, starting with San Vincenzo in northwest Italy and more recently Cefal├╣ Italy in Sicily. Going to a town that's a little outside your comfort zone is what travel is all about.


Porcupinefish (type of Blowfish)

The dive with By Fish was wonderful, they are very attentive, made sure I understood everything, provided lots of snacks, and I made new friends on the dive boat. On Ilha dos Porcos (Island of Pigs), I held a Miriquites Eel (it slipped through my fingers actually), spotted a Porcupinefish that I showed to the dive group, a smooth puffer, and a Falso Voador (seems to translate as Fake Flier) which looked like it had hands that were scooping sand, then it would take a look and see if it found any buried treasure; disappointed it would move on and try again.

Great first dive,
ready for another!

With dive buddy Thiago
The water is sooo beautiful

 At the second site, Saco do Anequim in Ilha de Cabo Frio, I was paired up with a buddy Thiago who got his Advanced diving certification on a liveaboard in Cairns Australia where I did my first post-certification dive. Maybe we'll go back for the advanced certification :) We saw Flounder that lay horizontally on the bottom of the sea and completely blended into the seabed. In fact, two flounders seemed to be fighting with each other, which was the only way I could actually see them. Also a beautiful blue-green Angelfish swam right by my head, studying me as much as I was studying it. We also saw a spotted moray eel. It was a great set of dives, now it's time to think about the next adventure!

In Arraial, bicyclists carry
propane tanks, sinks. You name
it, they bike transport it. And
wearing just a helmet and a Speedo!

Olga, on the bus, very content
with Brazilian cheese on a stick

The bus ride (a traffic-free 3 hours) back to the Rio bus depot was easy - but the ride from there to our flat in Gloria was INSANE. I've never seen a driver accelerate so quickly and brake so abruptly. It was like a rollercoaster, I could almost feel my brain being squished into my skull. Dinner was at SobreNatural in Santa Teresa, a seafood-oriented all-natural restaurant with live acoustic Brazilian music. They recommended the Eel, but it was a bit too soon after having held one in admiration this morning. We got the Wreckfish, which was amazing, and I discovered at long last a Brazilian beer I like: Bohemia Escura (dark). I also tried another dark beer: Black Princess Escura, which wasn't nearly as good. Now every time we see a beer menu, I head straight for the Escura!

No idea what this was - we
passed a huge protest in
the crazy Rio bus.

SobreNatural Wreckfish
com Bohemia Escura!

A shout-out to the travel guide for Gringos visiting Rio who provided insight on getting to and around Arraial do Cabo that I couldn't find anywhere else!

1 comment:

Sara Gift said...

I always feel hungry after I read your blog! Awesome commentary, Happy New Year to you and Olga :)