Tonight I leave for a 3-day weekend to Ilha do Cardoso. It is located in the south of the state of Sao Paulo and I am not going with anyone I know. What possessed me to take on this vacation alone was the fact that I wanted to go to the beach for this weekend and none of my other friends did. They’re all heading up into the interior and I, having missed out on much beach activity while I was home in the States, chose the opposite direction. The reality is, I can picture no better vacation than one to the beach.
This place, so I’ve heard, is not the typical beach place. Like the other beach towns I’ve visited here like Trindade, Paraty, Rio, and Bombinhas, Ilha do Cardoso has a coastline. But that’s about the only thing it has in common with the others. Ilha do Cardoso is a nature preserve. They do not use electricity at night, according to what I’ve read and what people have told me, and there are only something like 10 pousadas in the area, which translates to “not a lot of people.” I’m staying in a pousada with people I don’t know, and sharing a bathroom with all of them because the rooms in this particular pousada don’t have bathrooms. I think it has something to do with the environment, but the details I’ve gotten about Ilha do Cardoso are so vague I couldn’t tell you more than these key words: “environment!” “beach!” “river!” “trails!” “traveling with people I don’t know!”
Today at lunch, my friend commented that I was looking upset or, actually I forget the word he used. “Preoccupied” may have been it. Rather than make up a lie or beat around the bush, I admitted I was feeling nervous about the trip tonight. Suddenly I felt like a twelve year old: will I make friends? Will anyone talk to me? Or will I be that weird American girl who just smiles all the time to show that she’s friendly and doesn’t bite? The purpose of the trip for me is to relax by the water and get a tan. But it would be really nice to be able to talk to people. Knowing Brazilians, that’s not going to be a problem, but on the whole I feel a little uneasy. My friend at lunch told me I had “bigger ones” than he did, referring to balls of course, because he’s (in his own words) “socially retarded” (which I just now typed “retarted,” so what’s that saying?) and I laughed because, really, maybe this trip of mine is my attempt to combat my own social retardation (which, again, I just typed, “redartation.” Jesus.)
I likened the prospects of this trip to what it’s like to get waxed, which I did today at 4. I go to the same woman, Ligia, each time because she’s in, she’s out, and I’m “beach ready” in under twenty mintues. During the appointments, she either babbles to me or to the other women in the room while she works steadily on my lower half and it’s nice to hear the rising and falling of their conversations. It’s nice to be able to listen to their conversation while this painful thing–involving honey and tweezers and a lot of ripping–goes on down below. The awkwardness of someone bending over me while I grip my own underwear and pull it to the left or to the right will, in the end, make me feel more comfortable and happy. I understand, therefore, I will find myself in an awkward and/or slightly uncomfortable situation with this trip to Ilha do Cardoso. But if I just sit back and listen, enjoying the sounds of the people around me and knowing that it’s not forever–I’m in, I’m out, and hopefully relaxed after three days–I’ll be happy and comfortable when it’s all over. Whether I want to go back again in three weeks like I do to Ligia’s is a different story. Because I can assure you, there’s no “wanting” to go back to Ligia’s unless it is absolutely necessary.
So I’ll see you on Sunday, late night. We return at 11:30, which probably means 1:30 in the morning. I’ll have pictures and stories and I may just turn into a better human being because I’ve been at the beach.