Israelis, Argentinians, and Chileans. That’s what all these beach towns seem to be chock-full of. I don’t think I’ve ever met so many Isreali, Argentinian, and Chilean tourists in my entire life 😆
The second night in Araial d’Ajuda was significantly less busy than the previous. Rather than people dancing in the middle of the streets to samba music blasting from nearby bars, only about half the streetfront tables were occupied – by quiet groups pouring glasses of beer and enjoying an evening of calm and pleasant conversation. And by the time Sunday night had just started warming up, the Monday-night crowds were already heading home. What happened? Is Sunday really that much better of a night than Monday?
We took a seat next door to where we’d spent the previous night and pondered our next move, briefly socializing with a group of – you’ll never guess – Argentinian tourists on their way home. It was sometime around 2am when I finally suggested we just call it a night and turn in “early” so we could wake up and head to our next destination first thing in the morning. Araial d’Ajuda was suddenly feeling a lot more like Trancoso after all – a quiet, pleasant beach city to be enjoyed by day, not by night.
But Peder wouldn’t let me off that easily. He suggested we take a walk down the main-street drag, a winding road lined with restaurants, bars, dune-buggy rental kiosks, travel agents, and souvenir shops, to see what else we could find.
“Hey, are you from Norway, and is your name Peder?” a voice calls out.
::Look of surprise and confusion::
“You don’t remember me, do you? We met at Rio Scenarium, you were dressed in red togas!”
“Ohh yeah, of course I remember! It just took a minute…” 😳
Our reputation precedes us.
We join our Pakistani friend and her travel buddy for about an hour, until they have to leave to catch a redeye flight back home. We continue our walk. The streets are virtually deserted. Then we hear Rise Up by Yves Larock emanating from somewhere in the distance. We smile. We know the night has been saved.
Funny how everyone mysteriously knows where to go and when. It’s a phenomenon I’d never really experienced in the US, but grew completely accustomed to in Japan. You just have to know. Never would a Saturday-night venue be busy on a Friday. Because it’s a Friday. Not Saturday. Duh.
In the end, I’m really glad Peder made me stay out. I ended up hanging out with a stunningly beautiful college student from Belo Horizonte and her sister until morning, while Peder hooked up with a group of four or five British female travelers who took him back to their beachfront Italian villa for a bit of swimming-under-the-sunrise. In their underwear.
The only negative part of the evening resulted from a drunken dare: The outdoors bar we were at had a sort of monkeybar-like roof made from crossbeams, which Peder challenged me to swing across at maximum speed. I completed the stunt with great success. Until I decided it would be a good idea to flip around and swing my way back. The rotation move didn’t work as well as I’d imagined, and I ended up destroying my shoulder and bruising my bicep by smashing it on the bar in a bit of an “over-rotation.”
My shoulder is still sore today.
I was, however, extremely flattered by two things I heard that night. Lest I come off as too cocky or shallow, I will share them both here.
The first came from Gaby, the college student. Both Peder and I had specifically noticed and pointed her out the night before, with that nonverbal type of communication that only close friends can manage. Something like 1) Notice the girl, 2) Look over at each other, 3) Slightly raise one eyebrow or nod to confirm your mutual thoughts.
Well, shortly after beginning to chat with Gaby on this particular night she mentioned that she’d specifically noticed me the night before. And that she was specifically disappointed that I didn’t come over to talk to her. She teased me specifically for wearing the same outfit two days in a row. I explained that I was backpacking and only had two nightlife outfits available (and in this case the other was far too foul to even consider wearing). But it was still very nice to hear that the specific girl I’d been admiring was also specifically admiring me.
That’s a lot of specifics.
(Gaby – I know you’re reading this. Stop laughing! 😛 )
The second flattering comment came from Peder. One of the first things that struck me about his personality when we met back in Japan was his charisma; he’s clearly the type of person who makes friends instantly wherever he goes. So much so in fact that there were times when I’d actually start to border on jealous; it seemed at times like he was SO charismatic that I was somehow being subconsciously AMOG’ed.
Well, while we were hanging out earlier in the evening chatting amongst ourselves we found ourselves discussing various aspects of personality strength and weakness. Then we began talking about our specific strengths and weaknesses. I can’t really remember who said what first, but it somehow came out that he had/has the exact same opinion about me as I did/do about him. He’s felt like I’m too charismatic, like my game is better than his. Which felt cool to hear from someone whose game I consider far more developed than my own.
See? I told you it wouldn’t sound cocky.
The next morning I hurried home around 7am to make sure Peder could get back into the room; I hadn’t heard from him since he left with the British group, and I’d taken the only set of keys with me that night. But he wasn’t there. And he didn’t return until somewhere around 11am.
One more night in Araial it is!
The next day consisted of only two events:
1) A quest for a laundromat that could wash FOUR ITEMS in less than EIGHT HOURS. Fast-Lavanderia couldn’t do it, but we talked a small and overpriced hole-in-the-wall establishment with a single washer and dryer into rushing for us. Yay. For the first time in two weeks, I’d be rockin’ clean jeans tonight!
2) A quick walk along the beach, during which Peder spontaneously burst into a Tribal War Dance. It turned out that some freak Brazilian superbug had bitten halfway through his foot, pumping poison all the way up to his knee. We sat and waited for about two minutes then headed back to pick up our laundry before closing time.
Or rather, he walked back and I took a moto-taxi. That was fun. I just wish my camera had been working.
I also hope there weren’t any freak-Brazilian lice in the young gentleman’s spare helmet.
Peder did get his revenge on me, however, as a few freak-Brazilian ants crawled onto my legs and bit deep into my calfs while we were doing our push-ups by the pool before heading out that night. I swear they looked exactly like normal little worker ants. But their bites insisted otherwise.
I’m getting pretty sleepy and having trouble finishing this post, so I’m gonna fly through the rest of Araial d’Ajuda shorthand-style. When I take a trip and start falling behind on my blogs, the following are the precise types of notes I write, often on my cellphone, so I can catch up on the specifics later:
-Started night in town square again, bought fruit drinks from Lucia, ran into Argentinian couple and Jesus
-Got Henna tattoos. Artist really cool but his salesman always trying to increase price. He was stoned or high or something.
-Ran into Gaby again at same bar from previous night
-Went to big rave on the beach. Best party since Morro. Great music and packed.
-When party ended at dawn, laid on a catamaran and watched sunrise over palm trees with Gaby
-Sleep around 8
Sorry to everyone for my not responding to ANY comments lately; I usually try to respond to each and every one, but it’s been such a challenge just keeping up with these posts that I figured I’d wait until I finished writing about the entire trip, then go through and respond to all of them. I also hope to go back and add photos where appropriate, time permitting.
But by all means, please don’t stop…I just love hearing back from readers, especially those who stumble on this site after we encounter each other on my travels 🙂
Next up: a long bus ride inland, to the first non-coastal cities of the entire trip: Belo Horizonte and Ouro Preto.