Not your typical day at the beach

Oi gente! I’m Dan “Salvador” and I’m the new Portuguese Editor from September. I’m a second year Spanish and Portuguese student, meaning I’ll be spending the next 12 months dreaming of my upcoming year abroad from my cramped little bedroom in an 8-bedroom student house in Selly. Beautiful in its own way.

For this article, we were asked to write about a memorable travel experience of ours, and for mine I thought I’d keep it subject orientated. I’m lucky enough to have been to both Portugal and Brazil, the two most “well-known” Portuguese speaking countries. Both have left me with countless memories, stories, photos of sunsets (over the beach, the rainforest, you name it!), and a very respectable suntan.

There is one experience that always comes to mind, although it probably isn’t one that’ll make you grit your teeth in envy. I’m not talking kayaking through rainforest, sunbathing on Copacabana, watching the sunrise from Bairro Alto in Lisbon. Take yourselves to a stunning little palm tree lined beach on a secluded Brazilian island, coconut in hand, the sun beating down, a crab scuttling by your feet. Etc etc. You’re lying there, feeling the warm white sand between your toes, hearing the waves gently rolling onto the beach. Except they seem to be more crashing than rolling. You take a peek over the top of your sunglasses and notice that whilst you’ve been “resting your eyes”, the sky has turned from the former turquoise hue to an ominous dark grey, lined with angry looking clouds. The wind isn’t caressing your hair anymore, rather blowing with the force of a hairdryer switched on max. As the waves begin smashing down, you don your sandy flip-flops so quickly you’re effectively stumbling as you and your family rapidly collect and shake off your beach towels and head up the painfully steep hillside back towards your accommodation.

If you’re ever tempted to run 20 minutes up a tropical hillside in the middle of nowhere in Brazil through a heavy rainstorm in flip-flops- I wouldn’t recommend it. A walk which had seemed so, so nice, tranquil, secluded (we’d even taken our time to savour every single moment on the way down) was instead, a muddy, slippy, soaking hell.  A combination of flip-flops falling off again and again, blinded by the rain and your own soggy hair in your face, and of course watching out for any snakes or other similar monstrosities on the path around you.

I remember getting into the hotel almost as much as I remember the storm. Clothes drenched to the skin and a selection of scratches and bruises, not to mention some very knackered flip-flops. I’ve never been so happy to have a roof over my head. Of course, followed by a heavenly cup of tea (British comforts, I know) and the warmest blanket I’ve ever snuggled under in my life. 

But that’s the thing with travel, I suppose. The most memorable experiences aren’t always the most enjoyable. Although I’ve always found it quite fun when things don’t go to plan.

I hope you enjoyed my article and I look forward to showing you more about Brazil and Portugal than me getting stuck in a tropical rainstorm! 

By Dan Fish – Portuguese Editor

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