Again, because we like to do it our way, we purposely picked Bahia because of its remoteness and its individual cabana setting. I dislike large hotels, especially many of ’em all lined up in a row on an otherwise lovely beach. They tend to destroy the ecosystem in many ways (beach erosion, broken reefs from too many people dumbly kicking them, sewage) and plus I am just not a giant people-lover, particularly if I’m trying to relax.
However, remote equals challenging to get to. The last three miles of the drive to Bahia are on a steep, rutted, sandy road. It made the previous stomach-churning 6 hours seem like fluffy cupcakes by comparison. Twice we got stuck in the sand, and Brendan had to perform 4×4 style driving in our compact rental car. Not fun. (Actually, he had a big grin, and I had my hand over my heart and my eyes closed.)
Once we arrived, it was all waves gently crashing, palm trees swaying and geckos squeaking. Yes! We were far from civilization (or, far enough). First day, after the long drive, in spite of the beauty around me, I kept wondering when I would shake off the accumulated stress from the past day and many months (it’s been a long time since we had a long vacation). Second day I could feel it slowly melting away, especially after I put on my snorkel and mask and discovered the beach was utterly spectacular for snorkeling (Puffer fish! Blennies! And this was the first time in my snorkeling adventures that I was surrounded by schools of fish. Large schools — we’re talking hundreds of plate-sized yellow-and-black angelfish who didn’t care about me and just swam all around me, slowly. I spent a fun-but-futile 15 minutes diving down to point out a zebra eel to Brendan, who still maintains he never saw it in its lair.)
By the third day, I had no stress, except for all the de-tangling required after I went snorkeling and had to pull my long hair out of the mask’s plastic straps. Ouch. While not swimming or kayaking, we read under a little palm palapa, shaded from the sun, never too hot or too cold. (Sometimes my life feels like an eternal search for temperature happiness).
This was all aided by amazing food. Breakfast and lunch were pretty typical, but dinner was as healthy and tasty as healthy and tasty can be. They serve the catch of the day, freshly prepared, and so we ate octopus, red snapper, shark, and mahi-mahi. With salads like “strawberry and cucumber” or “spinach and orange slices.”
Fourth day? I didn’t expect this, but I was too relaxed?! I found myself doing something highly unusual: Pining for TV. Please, let me explain before you stop being my friend: Our cabana had two beds with mosquito netting, two lamps, a ceiling fan and a basic bathroom — no phone, no TV, no computer, no air conditioning, no cell phone service and no hot water. With no bar down at the beach (there’s alcoholic beverages for sale, but no people to sell them to you after a certain hour) and total darkness by 7 p.m, we spent enormous amounts of time reading under our insect-proof nets.
Even I, avid reader, needed something else to do after ingesting The Poisonwood Bible, People and US Weekly (last two are required beach reading, didn’t you know?)
In spite of my random attack of boredom, we do plan to go back, of course (even beach-hater Brendan had to admit “that was a fun beach vacation!”)
So, paradise: I’ll be back one day, hopefully soon, maybe with friends or relatives (Suzanne? Dana? Dora? Adam? Connie? Victory clan? Near-Frozen Minnesotans? Facebook friends?) We can bring our dominoes set, a deck of cards, maybe even Pictionary, and everyone: Bring your laptop loaded with movies ready for watching, under the netting, in total solitude.