|Ilha do Marajo, Brazil slideshow|
We went to Salvaterra because it was in the middle of the two other cities, We also heard that it has more of a city feel than Joannes but it is not as big as Soure. I think we made a good choice. After spending a night at a hotel close to town, Peter and I rented bikes and scouted places closer to the beach, or to be exact, right on the beach. We found one: Pousada Encanto da Praia (Beauty of the Beach Guest House) had a room literally on the beach. On the plus side, they played cool music we could hear from the room and on the weekends, the restaurant served delicious food. On the minus side, although there were no mosquitoes and very few insects that we could actually see, aside from the tiny ants, there were some invisible bugs, the famous no-see-ums in North America that got us every night, usually on the feet. That was the only downside to our new found paradise a few steps from the Amazon river and Atlantic Ocean surf, combined probably into a 70/30 mix favoring sweet water. This is probably the only place in the world that we find a body of water that looks and acts like the ocean, but the water tastes more like river water.
We really enjoyed walking on the beach, usually completely empty. We found a secret beach, during one of our hours of explorations under the heat. I usually do fine with hot weather, but one day I started feeling dizzy and nauseous. It is hard to stop Peter when he is out exploring. It reminded me when we did the same thing in Hampi, India last year. We walked six hours in the heat over boulders and makeshift trails,and we both ended up sick with dehydration and diarrhea the next day. Peter gets so excited that he pays no attention to the weather or time when he is out exploring. Although tagging along is not always easy for me, I am always happy of what we find. There was never anyone at our secret beach, except for fisherman that showed up once in a while with nets, or sand crab pickers with buckets and a long iron bar with a big knife at the end. But for the most part, the beach was ours to skinny dip all we wanted.
Although we felt in paradise while in Salvaterra, we were very surprised and mildly annoyed by all the pentecostal churches (Igreja Universal de Deus) and the bible belt quality of the whole city. Most boats and stores had a Jesus or God name. And although people were not unfriendly, I found them to carry a little religious distrust towards anyone who is not part of their flock.
I was in awe though, to see this island, as big as Switzerland, with a population of under 300,000 people. So much green, so much water, so much sky, and so many mangroves. It was tempting to buy a beach front restaurant for US$40,000 but I guess this is still not the place I want to hang my hammock at.