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Baía de Todos os Santos

Sunday, June 15th 2014

I got a bus from Natal to Salvador, and then a boat to Morro de São Paulo. The bus journey was 21 hours long, and it was fun to see a bit of Brazil as we left Rio Grande do Norte, passed through Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas and Sergipe states and finally reached Bahía. In Salvador I got a taxi to the ferry terminal, and bought a ticket for a speedboat to Morro de São Paulo. I'd read that this was a notorious vomit run so I was a bit worried. I really thought I could do without being sick throughout the two hour crossing. But I'd hardly eaten anything since leaving Natal - the roadside cafes we'd stopped at hadn't had too many vegetarian options - so I thought I at least wouldn't have very much to throw up.

Before we left, the boat people gave us all plastic bags and tissues. This didn't look promising. But about five minutes after leaving Salvador, I was feeling fine. The boat was already bouncing crazily across the waves, and I couldn't see the horizon from where I was sat, but I felt fine. I thought it was a bit early to be counting my chickens, but then I looked around and saw another passenger already with his face deep in the bag, vomiting heartily. I felt bad for him, but a little bit relieved that I hadn't been the first to go down.

Also travelling was a group of gap-year French kids. They were pretending to be having no problems, laughing and joking, but before very long one of them was looking a bit queasy, and soon they too gave in to the chundering. One by one the others quietened down, the joking stopped, the colour drained from their faces, and eventually I gave away my sick bag to the group because they'd filled all theirs.

But miraculously I was still fine. Me and a family of locals were the only ones not using the bags, but they were all looking pretty unhappy. The longer the journey went on, the finer I felt, and schadenfreude improved my mood still further, so by the time we docked at Morro de São Paulo I was feeling smug and invincible. I leapt from the boat and swaggered into the village, leaving the weaker ones to stumble shakily up the hill in my wake.

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