Basically if Kevin and I ever choose to invest somewhere in Brazil, it is probably going to be Bahia aka the Hawaii of Brazil. I've never been to Hawaii but Kevin has several times and this made him just as happy if not more, so that is a win for me :)
On January 3rd we flew from Rio to Ilheus, Bahia which is more in the northeastern region of Brazil. My mom has 3 siblings who live there (fun fact, they're all dentists!) - one who we did not see because he lives 9 hours inland - and we stayed at my Tio Adelmar's condo in Itabuna, which is about 30-40 minutes away from Ilheus. My Tia Jacinta also lives there. It was the best 4 days!
The air felt so good when we got off the plane. Rio was hot and sticky while Bahia feels like summer around here, especially at night. The day time heat is a whole other story.
We got to my uncle's house and unpacked and showered. I showed Kevin around his place and he loved it. I remember the first time I visited Bahia when I was 14 and I fell in love. There is something about apartments and homes in Brazil. They're so light and breezy, mostly white. Exactly my style. My uncle is also the most organized person I've ever met and there isn't a speck of dust anywhere. This makes my anxious, Type-A self very relaxed. Perfect for vacation mode.
That first day we slept in pretty late. My uncle had put a blanket up on the window to block the sun but this made us sleep until like 10:30. Oops! There was also an hour difference between there and Rio because in Bahia they don't have daylight savings. My uncle made us breakfast with coffee, fruit, and pao delicia (sweet bread with shredded cheese in it - so yummy!) and we lounged for a bit. My aunt picked us all up and we went to one of the quieter beaches in Ilheus for the day. It's about a 40 minute drive and also - fun fact: Bahia is one of the largest producers of cacao in the world! There's tons of beautiful cacao farms on the way. Yay chocolate :)
Bahia is amazing to me because of how the beaches are. I wish every beach experience could be like this! Along the coast there's TONS of restaurants/bars/shacks that line the beach, each privately owned and you basically just pick one with a table and you hang out there all day. No lugging massive coolers or dragging chairs and umbrellas to the beach. All of that is there for you and it takes the stress out of going to the beach (because yes it can be stressful). So on this first day we ordered coconut water all day, swam, talked, laid in the sun and then had almoço (Portuguese word for lunch aka the largest meal of the day) around 3. Kevin was like "wow you can really live like a king here", because the dollar is worth so much right now!
That day we left around 5 and went home to shower and then just relax and hang out. We didn't have dinner but that is pretty typical in Brazil. It's literally too hot to eat. But if you are hungry you usually have bread, fruit, or leftovers from lunch if you cooked at home.
On day 2 we went to a separate beach at a resort called Jardim Atlantico. This day we went earlier and did the same as the day before, only we stayed longer. This was actually a resort but we were able to just use the beach.
That night my aunt took us out for tamaki - apparently Japanese food is having a major moment in Brazil right now. I didn't get a picture, oops!
The plan for the Day 3 was to go on a mini cruise from Camamu, about 3 hours north of Ilheus. We got up at 5 am to be able to get on the boat by 8:30 but about an hour before we got there we ran into this protest in the street. Brazilian "highways" only exist in major cities. Everywhere else, it's just one main road pretty much to get anywhere. This small town had a bridge that fell down in it and the mayor was taking forever to get it fixed so people protested by blocking the only other way through - the main road. They set logs and tires on fire and we (plus other cabs, busses, etc) all had to turn around. If it was here in the U.S. I imagine people would be seriously pissed and the protest wouldn't last this long. But the reaction among everyone was "This is Brazil". And it is. I liked seeing everyone's neutral reaction to the situation because clearly these people have it worse.
We ended up doing what our plan for Sunday was which was go to Itacarezinho, the most gorgeous beach I've been to and also makes me want to say "This is Brazil"! It's called "Little Hawaii" and it is so calm, clean and peaceful there. Look at the meals we got!
At night we went out to eat. In Brazil it is pretty common to order "porções" or basically a platter of different things plus tooth picks and everyone shares.
On day 4, our last day, my aunt stayed home to run some errands while we went to the beach (again, duh) with my uncle. First we had breakfast at her apartment though. It was another day of sleeping in and then staying at the beach until the sun started setting. It was so beautiful! My uncle prefers the livelier beaches and this one was fun. More crowded, also because it was Sunday. The water was so warm and there was live music. We had all actually gotten burned by this day. Kevin kept his shirt on and we all just stayed in the shade haha.
Went out to eat again! But also got another açaí on the way home first of course!
Stayed up late talking/packing and then slept for 5 hours before we made our way to Minas Gerais! Recap coming soon :)