There's a great quote in the book by Aaron something called "Between a
Rock and a Hard Place" about losing his arm. I forget who he's
quoting, but it reads "it doesn't have to be easy to be fun." That's
appropriate to describe my day: riding ~59 miles from Prainha to
Mangaratiba isn't enjoyable, but it is fun. I'm not a fan of the
hills, rain, trucks that get too close, or the ominous achings in my
legs, but I'm glad I did it. Yeah, I might leave all my extra shit
somewhere in between to make my packs' weights less obscene, but, even
in the rain with my poncho like a superhero's cape dragging me down,
it's a good trek. My back and shoulders may regret it later in life,
but that's to be dealt with when/if the time comes. I'm kind of
betting they'll have self-assembling nanobot replacement
musculoskeletons by then...
Other than exhaustion, pain, and every sweet tasty time I stopped for sustenance, highlights were seeing a little tiny monkey in a tree, getting directions from a motorcycle gang (Guardios de La Costa Verde or something similarly silly), and knowing there's a downhill to go with each damn, long uphill: after all, I'm ending up back at sea level. The conclusion's kind of anticlimactic: I reach Mangaratiba, check into a pousada, wander around, think about climbing a large boulder along the road, and fall asleep instead. After a good few hours' nap, I eat a very strange seafood calzone, finally get a good map (Guia Quatro Rodas, Sudeste = badass), and drink some hard-earned beer at a seaside café that, judging by the clientele's obesity and general look that they've been in saltwater a bit too long, is favored by local sailors.
I'd be lying if I didn't at least mention feeling more than a bit lonely. Don't get me wrong: I'm having a blast. I'd just like a couple people fluent in English to hang out with and, more importantly, to say hi to my family and a certain tiny ex-girlfriend. Yeah, I spend quite awhile trying to use my "international" phone card, buy a local one, or connect with the international operator, and yeah, all of these attempts fail. If nothing else, it at least makes me appreciate family and friends a bit more. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anyone, but studying my maps, drinking a large quantity of beer, and eating a rich slice of cake suffice to take my mind off of things:)