Ilha dos Frades

2 Mar

I find myself in a place where roosters, dogs, and cats happily co-exist. And humans too. And one foreign gringo as well.


I took a walk yesterday, heading up along the coast to explore the island and find a few beaches I had read about online.

Google sure does make travelling easier. Cant imagine what the next generation of travellers will have at their disposle.

I walked for about two hours along some amazing costline and I barely saw a soul. I already felt a bit like someone from The Cay, or the Nichloas Cage movie, and when it started raining, I built myself a little shack using old palm tree leaves and hung out until the rain subdued.

It was really relaxing and I saw some cool foliage, rock formations, and animals. I’m no bird expert but what I thought I saw were vultures.  I didn’t know there were that many dead things to eat on the island… I decided to walk around them cautiously.


At some point, every step I took on the reef (it was low tide), sent hundreds of shiny black bugs scurrying away from me.  They were something between beetles and cockroaches.  In retrospect, I was like a giant disturbing their peace.

But at the time, it was me who was being disturbed and since I have a habit of referencing movies, I felt like I was in The Mummy, being chased by a swarm of black leeches.


The beach I found was well worth the hike.  I was in fall view of Salvador’s skyline as well as two old colorful ships docked right in front of me.



I tied my bag to two chairs. I figured it would be tough to escape an island with a stranger’s bag and two beach chairs in toe and I felt comfortable taking a dip.

I didn’t want to make the walk back to the south side of the island and somehow I was able to explain to my waitress that I wanted a boat to my Pousada.

It turned out she lived in the area, one of 200 inhabitants who all live in Paranama, where I was staying.  So when the beach cleared of tourists heading home to Salvador, I climbed into a souped up canoe and made the trip home.

The boat was whipped around violently, especially at first when we were heading out to the bay.  It subdued a little when we turned back towards the island but I spent the better half of the trip clutching the side of the boat.  The canoe had a motor and had one bench with enough room for three people.  The two women to my right never seem phased by the swaying, or the bullying of the waves, and sat besides each other chatting for most of the trip.  I quietly wondered if any of these boats had ever capsized, or whether they had a unique shape passed down through history that had a secret for staying afloat.



I asked the woman if she had ever been to Salvador. I wasn’t sure if I offended her.  She asked me if I was here with someone I could kiss.  Not entirely sure if that’s what she meant, but she kissed the inside of her elbow, and it reminded me of the time I practiced kissing on myself.

I told her no, I was alone, and I got the impression she thought that was weird.

We got out of the boat and I helped them with all of their stuff. I felt like I had earned my trip.

I wandered around my side of the island some more and two women showed me where the LAN house was.  They have internet!


I grabbed a meal after.  It was four dollars and some of the best food I’ve had yet.  A really nice woman with a house overlooking the water served up the dish out of her house, and I chatted with a Brazilian girl who knew English while I ate.

We hit off immediately.  I could tell the locals were jealous. I’m sure they had been chasing her for sometime.  Turns out she was on the island for just a weekend – she had just gotten fired from her law firm.

We drank a few beers on my balcony and afterwards I retreated to the hammock to finish my book.  Apparently we hadn’tt hit it off that well after all 😛


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