Remember those Club Med commercials?
This is from ClubMed. It was kind of like that.
Not much to tell about the islands except for the obvious: We spent the day on a boat visiting tropical islands. We swam in the sea and laid on lawn chairs and ate freshly fried cheese and drank cocktails and read books and rode on a boat. Of course it was fabulous. You are so jealous. The end.
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:
The Marina (and Salvador behind it)
our entertainment on the boat
first sight of the first island
the first island, where men walk around selling freshly fried cheese and drinks. Mmm!
if you look very closely, you can see a guy who was so happy to be there that he did a cartwheel.
us on the boat, happy as clams
the view of the second island (do you see the horse?)
The second island had a little restaurant where we had lunch and then were allowed to use their beach chairs and leave our stuff while we swam. These are the beach chairs, and our view from them.
us on the boat, Titanic style (kind of)
So yeah. A-mazing!!!!!!
When we got back to the mainland, we met up with the family again for our last dinner together. MORE cousins showed up, and another aunt. And they were all just as great as the others. They took us to the Mexican restaurant in Salvador, because they knew that I like to cook Mexican food. (Good intentions, right?) Of course it was not authentic, but it was good in its own right, and the cousins love it, so it was all good. We stayed at the restaurant for like, 4 hours, just talking and laughing, and then went to the new aunt's house to continue the festivities.
Remember that we had woken up at like 6:30 to get the boat? Yeah, exhausted. But very much worth it.
I had to hold back tears when we finally said goodbye to everyone. I explained to Alexandre that, in terms of fun extended family connected-ness, our life back in São Paulo is like a fancy vegan restaurant with tiny portions and very breakable plates. I've only had that restaurant for almost 2 years now. And this trip to Bahia was like taking me to a huge delicious all-you-can-eat churrascaria and letting me pig out for one big meal, only to shut the doors on it and take it away! (I know that's kind of mean for the family here in Sao Paulo, but, well, aside from the very nice in-laws, they kind of suck... the siblings/cousins our age really have no interest in getting to know me or even being polite to me. But anyway.) His Bahia family was so loving and open and interesting and nice to be around and, to continue the metaphor, I've really been starved for family-type relationships since I moved here. Too bad that Bahia's so far away! But everyone agreed that since we all know how cool we are now, we really have to make an effort to see each other more. They've already planned out our next trip with all the things we just didn't have time to do (like eat at Yemanja, which Greg recommended and which was, incidentally, next door to our hotel), and we're trying to convince them to come out to São Paulo.
So yes, Bahia was great, Family is great, Tropical Islands are great, and a summer Christmas wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.