Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Machete and Princesa

What a wacky day! Em and I checked out of the GHB (no relation to the date rape drug!) and took a cab with a lovely little driver to Praia do Forte, 85 km from Salvador. It was raining in the morning so all the mud roads were full of brown puddles. We checked into our beautiful pousada, O Refugio da Vila (http://www.refugiodavila.com.br/). After some M&M eating and unpacking, we made a date for horseback riding on the beach.

Our horse guide showed up with two semi-beat looking horses, who eyed Emily and I suspiciously, like, "oh no you are NOT getting up on my back." Much to her chagrin, I ended up on Princesa, who tried several times to bite me (lovingly, I think), and Emily got Machete, who seemed to have a gaping wound on the back of his/her hoof. But they were good horses, all things considered. We took off at a brisk trot down some residential streets till we got to the beach, where the horses gave up all pretense of trotting and started trudging, slooooooowly, through the sand. The weather was beautiful at this point in the day, and we got lovely views of the pleasantly bombed-out beaches. They were strewn with coconuts and palm fronds and the occasional empty bottle of cachaça, which gave the whole scene a "Pirates Were Here" kind of look.

We turned around when we got to a big hotel in the middle of nowhere, and the horses suddenly took off running, probably trying to find the quickest possible way to get home and get us off of their backs. Emily and I tried to hold on as we bounced crazily along, and we both started laughing hysterically, like ab-workout type of laughing. Our guide, bless him, probably thought we were nuts, which, let's face it, we sort of are.

Once back at the beautiful Refugio, we got into our bikinis and hit the pool, which has hydromassage jets and kiddie toys to play with! We splashed around till it got cold, then went inside, took turns sitting in our hammock, then went to dinner in the villa. The villa, by the way, is adorable -- cutesy little outdoor bars and restaurants and lots of little boutiques selling purses, semi-precious stone jewelry, Brazil paraphenalia, and so on. The highlights of the evening were as follows:
  • Visiting the Tutti Frutti self-serve ice cream buffet with 60 flavors and almost as many toppings -- ummmm, WHY does this type of thing not exist in the US? We have enough obese people to make it a reality! Oh man, SO good....
  • Emily's purchasing a purse made out of coconut shells
  • Not getting bitten by the many dogs wandering the streets
  • Eating fried manioc with cheese melted on top at dinner
  • Watching little kids play with rocks -- literally, the game was throwing rocks at each other -- in the plaza while their dads played dominoes nearby
  • Coming back and sitting outside on wooden lounge chairs and watching the heat lightning

I love this place and don't want to leave! Tomorrow's agenda: going to visit the baby tortoises at the hatchery!

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