Brazil, Day 2: Fernando de Noronha / by vanessa

beach at fdn

Fernando de Noronha is the real reason I came to Brazil. It's an archipelago of islands about 200 miles off the northeast-ish coast of Brazil, with a population just north of 3000 residents. It's reputed to be an ecological preserve. I will vouch that it exceeds NY and Los Angeles in number of public recycling bins. If you visit FdN, you may be shocked by the prices. I know I was. (R$6.99 for an 8oz Perrier? Oh I guess I should just eat cake now, too?) But what it lacks in cost-to-value differential, it makes up for in serenity. It is literally boring here. Like, really, really boring. So if you're smart, you will rationalize that you've earned this, and you WILL NOT put a price on your mental health, and then you'll immediately pop the last 1/2 of a Xanax a dear friend gave you months ago for just this kind of occasion. Thank you, Joslyn.

Make no mistake, FdN is stunning. It's the kind of place where you might expect to see The Others creep out from behind the ocean shrubbery as you drift between sleep and reading The History of Punk on a beach where there are only ant-sized people in the distance. You can see fish without using a mask because the ocean is that shade of blue depicted on a postcard sent to you by your friend visiting Domenica (the fancy part) or something. By the way, don't read a book about the history of punk rock on vacation. The only thing more boring than having absolutely zero to do and poor Internet access, is reading Lou Reed boast about his own megalomaniacal douchery.

This island (the big one), is six miles long and two miles wide. From what I hear, it only has two cash machines, and the one within reasonable walking distance (don't judge, it's very hilly here), doesn't accept my bank card or Hav's. You wouldn't think that would be an issue, but a lot of places are cash only. So we chose our dining establishment last night by the presence of a Visa logo.  Given normal circumstances, I wouldn't recommend this as a means for picking anything, ever.

It's been two days and I can count the number of vegetables I've eaten in Brazil on two fingers, which makes me feel kinda gross.  I decide that because acai is full of good things like vitamins and anti-oxidants, it counts as a vegetable. I eat it for dinner along with cheese fries.  

As I mentioned yesterday, English-speakers are not prevalent here, and I continue to be crippled by my poor knowledge of Italian and Spanish, neither of which are Portuguese. For instance, I am not entirely certain why the proprietor of this pousada had to leave in a dash for Recife immediately after dropping us off. Best I can tell, a loved one was murdered. I artfully deduced this from his change to dapper clothing, coupled with his rushed explanation of his rushed departure, during which he brought his finger to his neck and motioned horizontally. I immediately responded with, "Desculpa," (I'm sorry!) in my best sad/horrified face. But then he responded with, "No, no, no!" and a smile, so I took that to mean, "Don't worry about it, she was an asshole." Seems kinda callous if you ask me, but I don't know his life.

Anyway, it's fine. I asked for this. I remember saying for weeks? months? that I wanted nothing to do but lie on a beach, sleep, write, think and maybe meditate. FdN is good for all of that in spades.