We recently got back from an amazing trip to Morro de São Paulo. The trip started at 7am at ACBEU (the school we are studying at). The Colorado College students, along with students from the University of Texas – Austin, and the University of Hawaii, loaded up on two vans and drove to a port. The port had electricity in the air. Dogs and cats chased each other and people called to each other in Portuguese. Meanwhile, I couldn’t stop myself from bouncing up and down. We were about to get on a ferry and it would be my first time on a boat. When we got on, I couldn’t help but to feel a little dizzy and the ocean gently rocked below my feet, but I didn’t let that stop my excitement. After the hour and a half boat ride, we had a three-hour drive through a beautiful, tropical forest, dotted with tiny towns. After this trip, we boarded a large speed boat, and 30 minutes later, we arrived on the beautiful island of Morro de São Paulo. Morro de São Paulo is a small village of around 1,500 people. There are no cars in Morra de São Paulo, and the only way to get to various beaches and food places is by boat or by hiking. The first day that we were there, we hiked to an old fortress where the Dutch tried to invade Brazil. From there, we hiked up to a cliff that we were able to go zip lining into the ocean. It was such a rush! For me personally, the first few seconds were the scariest. You run and jump off a cliff, and for a second you’re free-falling, with nothing but jagged rocks below you. Then the line catches you, and you realize you’re soaring past a beautiful city on a beautiful beach. For me, moments like these make me realize how beautiful the world is and how lucky I am to experience it. After I landed in the ocean, I swam to shore and watched the other students come down the mountain. After zip lining, I went to the pool our hotel had, then we had dinner, and afterwards went to explore the tiny tourist based town.
The next day officially started at 9am when we boarded what we dubbed, “The Party Boat,” to head to a clay beach. On the way, we saw dolphins catching fish and swimming around. Our boat stopped on a small beach, and we unloaded, slightly confused as to what we were actually doing on this strip of beach. Our guide, Samuel, lead us past the sandy shore and to base of a sharp cliff. Here the sand was coated with pink clay. We were shy to the clay at first, but soon, all of us students were bathing and rolling in clay. We were acting like three-year olds in mud. After we were thoroughly coated, we rinsed off in the ocean. We thought that was the end of the exfoliation, but Samuel called out to us. He was making a rougher batch. He promised “Quinze minutos, voces tem um novo corpo!” We scrubbed his gritty clay all over our bodies then waddled back to the boat while we waited for it to dry. We sure were a sight to see, people were actually taking pictures! We rinsed and everyone agreed our skin was baby smooth. After this we got back on the boat and took off to a sand bar where a river and the ocean met. This sand bar was littered with beautiful seashells and sand dollars. I spent nearly the entire time searching for them while other students played soccer, frisbee, or swam. After this, we boated over to another beach, where we had lunch. Our meat was served on sizzling platters and the rice and beans served in huge clay bowls. The evening was free for us, so I mostly shopped and slept. Some students went to a foam party! They said it was a blast, but it started at 3am, and I needed to sleep.
Our last day on Morro de São Paulo started with large amounts of rain. I went into the town to buy a disposable camera and most of the other students just stayed in the hotel and read. After I bought my camera, I went down to the beach and other places to take photos with my little camera. The rest of the time it rained, so not much else happened, until we loaded all our stuff back up, and started our trip home. I’m so grateful that I got to go on such an experience!