I spent my first two days in Cabo Frio chatting in Spanish in Arraial du Cabo… so technically not in Cabo Frio but in another town 10 kilometres away, and technically still in Portuguese land but with Spanish company.
I met Io in Foz do Iguaçu. She was wondering why the bus was stopping at the airport instead of taking us to the Iguazu Falls and I explained that there was only one road anyway, so the bus may as well take passengers to the airport and tourists to the world wonder.
Then you know how it is. We eventually arrived at Iguazu Falls together so we spent the day together because hey, why not. And then we met a few times in Foz do Iguaçu after her workday and before mine.
Io is Spanish and she’s been on the road for years. She’s 37 and she works as an online Spanish teacher so she is in front of her computer until 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. in various places around the world. My own workday kind of starts then—my evenings are packed between urgent assignments invariably sent at the end of the Canadian workday, homework or book reading with Mark, discussions with Feng, cooking, etc.
Still, we managed to meet a few times, chasing the sunset in the jungle. Somehow, we kept in touch. It’s 50-50 with people you meet on the road. It’s also rare to spot solo travellers and foreigners in Brazil outside Rio de Janeiro—Brazil is overwhelmingly Brazilian, we’re lost in the crowd unlike in Guatemala, Mexico or South-East Asia. I can’t even assume travellers with Decathlon gear are French, there are plenty of Decathlon stores in Brazil!
I left Foz do Iguaçu before Io. She was still looking for accommodation in Rio de Janeiro, an impossible task during Carnival.
“Come to Cabo Frio!” I suggested. “Cheaper and just as fun.”
She texted me when I was in Rio—she had just landed but she was taking the bus straight to Arraial do Cabo, the town just before Cabo Frio.
And so we met again. It was easy for me to travel to Arraial do Cabo, bus 150 all the way to the end, enjoy the 30-minute ride sitting and reading the news or the 60-minute trip standing, sweating, depending on the time of the day.
“Que tú comas! Subjuntivo!”
“Did I mention that I never actually learned Spanish? Give me a break!”
At the end of the day, I was feeling like Mark must feel in France—too many languages in my head, too many words I understand but I don’t know why, too exhausted to keep up with grammar.
We went to Praia do Anjos, a shallow Caribbean-style beach. I hiked alone to Praia do Forno, one of Brazil’s top beaches with clear, calm waters. We watched the sunset on Praia Grande, a completely different kind of beach with strong waves and an endless stretch of sand.
She’s going to Rio de Janeiro next, then Dubai, then probably Argentina. Chances are we won’t meet again. We had a good time, though, and it was a fun exercise to chat in Spanish and translate for her from Portuguese to Spanish.
Now excuse me, my brain is a mess—I have water and Spanish in it…