I went to Búzios because of a cockroach.
I spent my first three days in Cabo Frio running away from Cabo Frio—or rather, running away from an uncomfortable Airbnb. The questionably-clean ground-floor apartment was stuffy and the only place with air-con, the bedroom, had no signal.
My check-out time on Thursday was 10 a.m. and I was looking forward to it. My new Airbnb host had told me I could come in early, the apartment was empty.
On my last night, just as I was warming up leftovers in the kitchen, I spotted a huge cockroach in the kitchen. This is the problem with ground-floor apartments—cleaning products keep bugs at bay for the first day, and then it goes downhill from there.
I already had huge ants and I had killed an acceptable-size cockroach the night before but this one was huge and no, I don’t have pictures and I’m not providing a link for reference because, for all I know, you’re eating lunch or dinner while reading this.
Trust me, it was big.
Like, palm-sized big and in this case, size does matter.
I winced. Just the thought of crushing it made me want to forget about my delicious dinner.
But it saw me and it quickly ran away.
I sighed and decided to act like an adult—I’d just pretend it had gone back from where it was from, like two streets away.
I closed the bedroom door shut, a pointless move considering the two-centimetre gap between my cockroach Great Wall and the floor, and I started eating.
Ten minutes later, I glanced at the floor. Instinct, probably.
The huge cockroach was sitting on one of my Havaianas.
“For fuck’s sake! THE BEDROOM IS OFF LIMITS!”
I didn’t even have anything to kill it except the other Havaianas but it was too close to the target.
The target read my mind and went to hide under the bed.
I moved the bed, thus starting a 2 a.m. hide-and-seek game with a giant cockroach.
I’ll spare you the details but I eventually trapped it under a box and I dragged the box all the way to the front door to release the creature in the wild.
And I barely slept because I wasn’t convinced the kitchen cockroach and the bedroom cockroach were the same—I mean, it’s not like we had been formally introduced.
I was out of the Airbnb at 9 a.m.
The new one is lovely, thank you for asking.
And right after the move, since I was tired and didn’t have any plans for the day, I decided to take the bus to Armação dos Búzios, the famous upscale resort 20 kilometres (a 90-minute ride) from Cabo Frio.
It’s a long ride and last time, I didn’t find Armação dos Búzios that great. But hey, I’m always happy to rediscover a place.
Armação dos Búzios was definitely more lively than during the pandemic. Argentinians and Chileans seem to love it—I could hear sentences full of “ch” (Argentinian pronunciation) and “sipo!” (Chilean slang for “yes”) at every corner. Cruise ships too—a sea monster was parked behind an island, an incongruous sight behind the colourful fishing boats.
I walked along the shore and bumped into the taxi-boat guys.
I stared at the map. I remembered the small beach I had walked to the last time, nothing spectacular. May as well aim for the furthest beach this time.
I gathered advice and picked the remote Praia João Fernandinho, not to be mistaken with Praia de João Fernandes.
The girl behind me seemed to be hesitating as well. We introduced each other—Belén was a young doctor from Córdoba, Argentina, and she was travelling alone. This is pretty much how and why we teamed up for the day.
Praia João Fernandinho turned out to be a good pick—we saw the other beach from the boat, on the way. Yes, it was small and packed like the other ones but we got to swim with sea turtles.
After that, we walked through the town together while chatting about Argentina and Canada. Búzios still obsessed with Brigitte Bardot who famously visited the town in 1964 and it mostly offers restaurants, clothing shops and bars. Not really my kind of town, although it’s very picturesque while walking a fine line between tacky and pretty.
Belén and I took the bus back and we parted ways in Cabo Frio.
So thank you, cockroaches, for the sleepless night that led me to Búzios and a fun day with an interesting person.Share this article!