There are a few sentences you really don’t want to hear when you’re in a car. “Hey, what’s that red light blinking?” for instance. Or “shit, totally forgot to fill up,” “Why is there a police car with flashing lights behind us?” or “I think we’re being followed.”
But trust me “my stomach hurts” is a close contender.
“My stomach hurts,” Mark said shortly after exiting Floripa Centro.
In a perfect life, stomach hurts but two seconds later, your kid informs you that it’s all good now.
In our life, a stomach hurts and two second later you hear the noise you don’t want to hear, then you’re standing on the side of the road with a kid covered in puke, no change of clothes and no water to clean up. You get back in the car and find a plastic bag—just as well because apparently the stomach that hurts wasn’t fully empty. You make it to the nearest supermarket to wash up and assess both the kid and the car.
I should have seen it coming. The night before, I woke up to find Mark in the bathroom, throwing up in the toilet. For a split second, I pictured him ten years from now, sick after a first ill-advised night of underage drinking.
“Mark…? Are you okay? And thank you for making it to the toilet, by the way.”
No, really, thank you, Mark. Changing bed sheets at 5 a.m. would have been a chore.
“I ate too much, I think.”
Then he went back to sleep and everything was fine until the car moment the following day. We were on our way to the southern tip of the island. Feng is a great driver and Mark is never sick in the car but roads aren’t great, full of speed bumps and twists—even on a good day we all feel slightly dizzy by the time we get to the beach.
“Okay, what do we do?”
Mark seemed okay but the perspective of another incident made us go back to Florianópolis Centro. “No beach today… just rest.”
Just as well, we wanted to check out the bridge.
Oh, you didn’t hear about the bridge? Cause half of Brazil has.
Ponte Hercílio Luz—the longest suspension bridge in Brazil—links the Island of Santa Catarina to the mainland. This iconic bridge was closed in 1982, but it has just partially reopened to pedestrians on December 30, 2019.
Our hotel is right in front of Parque da Luz and the bridge, and the area is packed with locals and out-of-state tourists who come to check out the bridge and walk halfway across it—you still can’t reach the mainland, construction work is ongoing.
Unlike the name suggests, Parque da Luz used to be pretty dark and creepy—the kind of park where you can buy dope and, ahem, throw firecrackers to celebrate Chinese New Year. It’s now brightly lit with playgrounds, street food carts and grown-ups trying the tree swings. I’m pretty sure you can still buy dope but in the middle of the night only, when all the tourists are gone, judging by what I see from the hotel balcony…
So Mark rested, I walked around Florianópolis and we took a break from the beach.
We still have two more days on Island of Santa Catarina, no worries.