Just going home now from my 5th trip to Brazil in the last 10 months…. Although I think this will be the last for 2018 (I have no idea how I can even claim that!). The event that stands out this trip is the weekend visit to Ilhabela.

This trip was unusual because we have 4 teammates there over the weekend. That usually doesn’t happen.

The Gang's all here
The Gang

We have such limited time to get to know each other, I decided rather than plan something on my own, I’d rather hang out with the group. I asked Amy to research it since she was there the week before the rest of us.

Logan and Logan
Logan was quite taken that they had a whiskey with his name. I think that is all he drank in Brazil.

She got a recommendation for Ilhabela, a beautiful tropical island about 2 hours from Sao Paulo and a nice resort to stay at there.

Turns out Rusty had other (individual) plans for the weekend. And Logan couldn’t decide until LATE Friday night that he would rather just rest over the weekend, so Amy and I took off Saturday morning with Braga,our driver, while still trying to arrange the room.  The hotel had some story about being sold out.. At least of any “nice” rooms with ocean views, so we ended up with a “luxury suite” to share.

Weekend on the Island – Ilhabela (Beautiful Island)

The drive turned out to be more like 4 hours with the ferry etc. We didn’t get there until about 3.  But it was truly a beautiful place (Ihlabela means beautiful island). The suite was very nice. We went down to the pool side bar for Sushi, then walked down the beach and watched the sunset. We swam, and hot tubbed, and saunaed. And had dinner at the very nice restaurant at the resort. We definitely could have made a whole vacation without leaving.

Waterfalls and Geocaches

But Amy had read about waterfalls and hiking on the island, and 90% of the island was a wilderness area…. And I had never geocached here….. AND Amy had never geocached at all!

So Sunday morning after breakfast we decided to venture (or adventure) out into the wilds of Ilhabela.

There was a geocache half a mile from us at a popular waterfall. Of course that half a mile was straight up a mountain through the jungle, on a poorly marked trail. But what fun would it be without a little adventure.The hike to the falls

We passed by quite a few people on the trail (at least on the parts when we see actually on the right trail) and we asked many of them for directions. Every one of them are surprised to see Americans out in the jungle. I’m not sure Ilhabela is a big American destination in any case, but they kept mentioning how steep and torturous the trail was.. Which actually misdirected us because the actual trail was not all that bad. My guess is that they think Americans want to be pampered. Humm.. Challenge accepted.

We found the falls. Beautiful!



We found the geocache, although not without spoiler photos… But not bad considering the description etc was in Portuguese.  I held back and was analyzing a but and let Amy do the digging around. I really wanted her to make the find.

Some Brazilian guys came by and asked what we were doing, so explained geocaching and they helped for a few minutes… Then they said to me, “This is not our problem “.. Lol.

About 2 minutes later we found the cache, so we hooped and hollered so the guys could here. Then Amy opened it up and there was a plastic cockroach inside. She dropped the cache, but not before letting out a blood curdling scream!. Wonder what the guys thought of that.The GeoCache

We hiked back down hot and sweaty!. Ready for the pool. But extremely satisfied.

Black Biting Borrachudos

Everyone that we talked to about Ilhabela warned us to use bug spray. The bugs are bad on Ilhabela. The hotel even had complementary “off” in the room. This was the first week of winter in Brazil and some conceded that it is not as bad in the winter. Neither Amy nor I like to put non-natural things on or in our bodies. We decided to “keep an eye on it”.Black Biting Flies

Well after bushwhacking through the jungle and brushing through the undergrowth to find the cache, I looked at Amy’s legs (she was wearing shorts… I had worn long pants) and they were covered with bites!

This bug is a tiny black fly. You can’t see them. But they are vicious. It’s called a borrachudo. You feel nothing at first, but about 24 hours later you itch like crazy, and reportedly it goes on for weeks. I’ll let you know in a few weeks!

That afternoon Braga took us back to Sao Paulo. We were happy and exhausted and went out with Rusty and Logan that evening to Brazilian BBQ, still blissfully unaware of the agony to come.

Monday found Amy visiting the infirmary and the pharmacy for some steroid cream. She only needed to point at the welts and say, “Ilhabela”. I did get a dozen bite or so scattered around my body. Just enough to comprehend how bad it must be for Amy.

When the itching subsides we will have to remember what a great weekend we had. The rest of three trip was great too. We made good progress on the project. And we stayed up late every night getting to know our colleagues. Now I just want to go home and sleep.

Sao Paulo
The view from my room (left) and Dinner with a colleague (right)

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