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Ilhéus-Itacaré – An Easy Bus Trip… Until the Climb

“This one is an easy trip,” Feng noted.

“DON’T SAY THAT! There’s always a trick or a last-minute surprise whenever it looks easy. Remember Cabo Frio to Petrópolis? It was supposed to be a smooth four-hour ride…”

But Feng was right. I wasn’t too worried about the Ilhéus-Itacaré bus trip. I’d leave at 11 a.m. for a noon arriving at 1:50 p.m. I knew for a fact it was about a two-hour drive because my bus to Ilhéus had stopped in Itacaré.

In fact, everybody had gotten off in Itacaré.

Itacaré is a hell of a lot more popular with travellers than Ilhéus.

It’s my birthday week so I wanted to be in a cool town and stay in a comfortable Airbnb. It’s a bittersweet last half of March—not necessarily because I’m getting officially older but because Itacaré is my last stop before going back to Salvador and eventually flying out of Brazil on April 1.

Obviously, as usual, I don’t want to leave. I’m very comfortable in Brazil and on the road in general, thank you very much. Yeah, I miss Mark and Feng. But Ottawa isn’t the best version of us anyway.

I get it. The life I choose may not be conventional. Frankly, at times, it’s exhausting because I’m still a spouse, a mum, a daughter, a sister and more, because I’m working, because I’m making decisions constantly, because most of the time I have no idea where I’m going—literally and figuratively. But I have few regrets and I think choosing this life or at least embracing it is worth it.

And so I packed in Ilhéus, kind of sad, kind of moody, and kind of stuck with this uncomfortable feeling something is ending and I have no idea what’s coming next.

Except a bus, probably. I knew the bus was coming next. Anyway, that’s what everybody kept on telling me the following morning at the terminal in Ilhéus when I was desperately trying to find the bus going to Itacaré.

Usually, I can easily spot my bus company. Except this time, all the buses coming and going were ROTA buses to destinations I had never heard of. Was Itacaré just a stop on the way?

“Uh… no. This bus is going to Itabuna.”

“So it doesn’t stop in Itacaré,” I asked the driver to confirm.

He looked at me, bemused.

Apparently not.

Mind you, I checked afterwards and Itabuna is nowhere near the coast, so I don’t blame the poor bus driver—it was probably his first interaction with a gringa who had failed Bahia Geography 101.

The bus eventually showed up. It was a smooth ride and towards the end, I checked Google Maps.

“Eh, my Airbnb is right here!” I noted.

And the bus kept on going down a long, long road.

Okay, so my Airbnb was uphill, overlooking the town. Nice.

Or not.

Because the bus stopped at the terminal, I got off, and I realized there was no Uber in town.

On my right, mototaxis. Yeah, good luck with my backpack.

On my left, taxi—yes, singular, and another bus passenger had just climbed into it.

Shit.

Oh well, I’ll walk.

At least I knew where I was going—kind of, actually, because of taking the road I followed a narrow dirt street through the neighbourhood.

“Rest for a bit!” a guy smoking at his window told me at one point. “Where are you going? I’ll help you out!”

Kind offer but I really didn’t want to kill the poor guy. My backpack is heavy.

I finally made it uphill, drenched in sweat.

It’s a nice place, though.

I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy…

Packing in Av. Lomanto Júnior - Pontal, Ilhéus - BA, 45654-000
Packing in Av. Lomanto Júnior – Pontal, Ilhéus – BA, 45654-000
Terminal Rodoviário de Ilhéus, Av. Gov. Roberto Santos, 15 - Esperança, Ilhéus - BA, 45650-015
Terminal Rodoviário de Ilhéus, Av. Gov. Roberto Santos, 15 – Esperança, Ilhéus – BA, 45650-015
Terminal Rodoviário de Ilhéus, Av. Gov. Roberto Santos, 15 - Esperança, Ilhéus - BA, 45650-015
Terminal Rodoviário de Ilhéus, Av. Gov. Roberto Santos, 15 – Esperança, Ilhéus – BA, 45650-015
Terminal Rodoviário de Ilhéus, Av. Gov. Roberto Santos, 15 - Esperança, Ilhéus - BA, 45650-015
Terminal Rodoviário de Ilhéus, Av. Gov. Roberto Santos, 15 – Esperança, Ilhéus – BA, 45650-015
On the ROTA bus Ilhéus-Itacaré
On the ROTA bus Ilhéus-Itacaré
On the ROTA bus Ilhéus-Itacaré
On the ROTA bus Ilhéus-Itacaré
On the ROTA bus Ilhéus-Itacaré
On the ROTA bus Ilhéus-Itacaré
Terminal Rodoviário de Itacaré
Terminal Rodoviário de Itacaré
Itacaré from Av. Alto da Boa Vista - Itacaré, BA, 45530-000
Itacaré from Av. Alto da Boa Vista – Itacaré, BA, 45530-000
Itacaré from Av. Alto da Boa Vista - Itacaré, BA, 45530-000
Itacaré from Av. Alto da Boa Vista – Itacaré, BA, 45530-000
Av. Alto da Boa Vista - Itacaré, BA, 45530-000
Av. Alto da Boa Vista – Itacaré, BA, 45530-000
R. da Telebahia - Centro, Itacaré - BA, 45530-000
R. da Telebahia – Centro, Itacaré – BA, 45530-000
 Ilhéus to Itacaré
Ilhéus to Itacaré
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Zhu

French woman in English Canada.

Exploring the world with my camera since 1999, translating sentences for a living, writing stories that may or may not get attention.

Firm believer that nobody is normal... and it’s better this way.

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