Hi! I'm alive! It's been about seven months since I last posted, but life just got in the way. I intended this blog to be a place to document our life in Brazil and give advice to other expats. When we went to Alcobaça two weeks ago, I looked though the pictures from our last trip there and realized I really need to add some more posts. It was so fun to look through the old pictures and see how much has changed since then. I need to catch the blog up on our life, so that we can continue to look back on our time here. And so..
In September 2018 we went to Porto Seguro in the state of Bahia for the first time. It was by far my favorite trip! When we travel, we usually stay with family, which means we're all cramped together or sleeping on an air mattress in a kitchen, on a roof, wherever there is space. In Porto Seguro, we got all fancy and stayed at a resort. It was a very last minute trip because Farley's friend Luis and his family were going and told us about the resort deal about a week before we went. We ended up joining them and my brother-in-law Douglas, sister-in-law Maiara, and niece Julia joined us.
The resort was awesome. If you're earning dollars and spending reais, traveling in Brazil can be very cheap. We stayed at the resort for a week and it was less than $300. We stayed in basically a two bedroom apartment that had a full kitchen and two baths. In the courtyard of the resort was a large pool and a smaller pool for kids. We only had to cross the road to get to the beach. Since we were a little north of the "party resorts," the traffic was minimal, and the speed limit was about 15 mph (25 kph), so crossing wasn't an issue. The resort also had a beautiful covered patio with an open air kitchen, churrasquiera, television, and bathroom. While we always have access to a kitchen when staying with family, I really appreciated the full kitchen in our apartment because we were able to have breakfast at the resort, lunch on the beach, and dinner back at the resort every day. Most days we ate breakfast (coffee and bread) while everyone got ready, spent most of the day at the beach, then returned to the resort for dinner - thanks to the pool and kid pool, we could keep swimming or switch off watching the kids while someone cooked.
Like everywhere in Brazil, there were venders walking up and down the beach selling corn, ice cream, coconut water, fried green bananas (amazing), and various merchandise. There was a very cool sand bar that was exposed during low tide. We were able to walk out on it and get pretty far our into the ocean, while still being on sand. There was also a commons-of-sorts right off the beach. There were artisan venders of every variety. Maicon and I particularly enjoyed the store that taught us about the history of chocolate making in the area and provided samples from cocoa nib to finished product. We bought a bunch of sample bars to try out the different flavors. They all had cocoa nibs in them, which was pretty cool, since I love bitter chocolate.
Some history to note about Porto Seguro - it was the first landing place of Portuguese navigators (hence all the colonial/native statues). It seems like a weird thing to celebrate, since Portugal basically decimated Brazil's resources, oppressed the natives, and brought over slaves from Africa, but I guess history is history? Anyway, the history of Porto Seguro is rich and long - much too long for this post.
One VERY IMPORTANT NOTE about traveling with children in Brazil - they don't fuck around. When we got to the resort, we were surprised to find out that we needed to show IDs for all the kids to prove they were ours, etc. Thankfully I had my foreigner's ID and the kids' Brazilian IDs (everyone in Brazil has an ID, even infants). However, since we had our nephew with us, we didn't have his ID. The resort allowed us to get the documents from my sister-in-law (and her documents) via Whatsapp and then email the documents to the resort's reception. We also experienced this when traveling via train in Brazil - all IDs must be present. When we traveled to Vitoria with our nephew, his mother accompanied us to the train station to give permission to the officials. Obviously if you're traveling with your own kids, this is a lot easier, but we jokingly say our nephew is our second son because he's always with us. A little more difficult when traveling with kids that are not your own..
Hopefully our next vacation will be to return to Porto Seguro because there was so much to do, we could barely do any of it in a week. However, I did get a mystery rash on my chest our last day there. It was SO itchy and burned. I have no idea what the reaction was to, but it made for a painful ride home with the seatbelt directly on it. Overall, my favorite vacation so far. We have about 2.5 more years here in Brazil (that's the current plan), so time is quickly running out for vacations. I can't recommend Porto Seguro enough. It has an area for younger vacationers who want to party, family-friendly areas, a rich history, environmental interests - something for everyone.