Lagoa Encantada trip
17 February: After realizing that I'd beaten the cold last night, I could hardly get to sleep again. I had a thinking mind awake, buzzing away.
In the morning we'd planned to go to Lagoa Encantada / Rio Almada trip with V&E and the kids. It took a while to start after breakfast and we set off in two cars, because we had all the kids and also some of their friends and John, a Florida American living in Brazil, accompanied us too.
We reached a small house somewhere in the wilderness outside Ilheus where some locals seemed to be waiting for Eusinio. He greeted them enthusiastically. We're led by them to a motorized boat by the river. It's a very nice ride in the river, as there is hardly anyone around and you can see river birds and the lush green of the river banks around us. After about 1-1/2 hours we reach a small restaurant by the riverside where Eusinio pre-orders lunch. I'm regretting that I ever said I didn't like fish, because that's all they serve and upon Eusinio's insistence they're deciding which chicken they should kill. One of the guys appears sometime later carrying a helpless thin specimen and I tried to make it clear that they should in no case kill the poor bird because of me.
We set off in the boat again in the direction of the waterfalls, which have a private owner demanding 3 R$ for the privilege. This fee is waived because Eusinio 'knows someone' there. There are two Falls opposite, but some distance from each other, the first set are broad and shallow, the other high and thin. We visit the broad one first, it's beautiful. It's drizzling slightly by now and I'd really have liked to enter the water but couldn't because of my latent cold. The kids have been told not to enter the falls but they do so anyway. Some kids walk across the top of the waterfall which looks quite spectacular from below. I found out that it isn't really difficult when I waded a few steps myself before being called back by the boat's captain to continue our trip.
Returning back, Eusinio has organized a guide to take us to the second waterfall, from the top of which there's a really nice view over the whole landscape below.
We take the boat back to the restaurant, have lots of beer there. John spots a local digging out a tree trunk for a canoe, it's really heavy wood, the guy says that a canoe's about 4 weeks work, the boat lasts about 8 years and he can sell it for about 325 R$. Food is fish, rice, salad, meat and a bland-looking but surprisingly good coconut-banana-guava dessert. After that we set off back down the river and back to the cars. I fall asleep in the car for the ride back.
We're supposed to check the bus schedule to our next destination, Lençois, for tomorrow. It's about 8 in the night we find out that there's no direct bus to Lençois, we'll need to go via Salvador. We're determined to set off the next day and it's a bit of bother now to discuss all sorts of travel scenarios at this late hour: bus, plane or rental car. The rental car turns out to be very expensive, they always charge a heavy additional charge for vehicles not returned at the place they're fetched from. We didn't follow the air option at all in the end. It turned out that it would be best to take the Ejecutivo bus at 13:00 all the way back to Salvador and then take the night bus to Lençois. One LP reader had specifically warned about the bus being frequently robbed, but decided to go anyway, reckoning that the operator would be out of business if that were still happening regularly. We have some fruit, cheese and bread in the kitchen.
It's a very hot, humid night and I experiment with the a/c and window settings to make the situation more comfortable. I coughed a lot. This cough would turn out to be very persistent and would bother me for about 7-8 weeks.