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Last Friday, just as the traffic was beginning to snarl as a result of more planned protests in Sao Paulo a couple of blocks from our house, we hit the road with friends, getting the hell out of Dodge for the weekend.

Enough of rioting and 400-km-long traffic jams. Once we broke out of the suction of the city, it was glorious. We headed 2,500 feet down the mountains to the Litoral, the southern coastline of Brazil, to a friend’s vacation rental in Barra do Sahy, in San Sebastiao, about two hours northeast of Sao Paulo.

The beach of Barra do Sahy is formed like a horseshoe, with light sand and a wonderful view of the island As Ilhas (“The Islands”). The village is not directly on the road from Santos to Rio, so there isn’t a lot of traffic en route. Especially not on an autumn evening.

We stopped just past the Riviera and Bertioga at a wonderful little roadside restaurant where our friends Roy and Liz had eaten several times before.

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Being almost beachside, it features silky sand floors and seashell decor.

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Here, you can get two dozen fresh oysters for $15! With a cold beer, estupidimente gelado, it’s a taste of heaven.

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After enjoying the oysters and a fish stew (and a brief blackout as the owners rushed to buy more gas for the generator), we headed north for forty minutes until we reached Barra do Sahy.

It was pitch-black when we arrived, so we had to hunt for the circuit box and light switches in the cozy little condo, which featured a main bedroom en suite and a dorm room.

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Tom and I chose the dorm room. Both rooms featured shuttered doors that opened onto the patio deck.

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We couldn’t see much of the beach at night, but went to sleep to the sound of waves crashing on the shoreline. This view greeted us in the morning:

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Jungle foliage, birds galore, and crisp, fresh air. Who could ask for more?

After a leisurely breakfast, we hiked down some very steep steps to the beach below, stopping to take photos at our charming future home-away-from-home (after a few walls are repaired and roof is replaced, perhaps). You can see some of the steps at the left of the photo.

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The beach was pretty barren, due to the lack of sun, but it was warm, so we walked to the far end and accepted the hospitality of one of the beach vendors, where we sat in beach chairs under an umbrella and indulged in a caiparinha, or two.

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Not that we just sat. Smash ball and swimming were also on the to-do list. Smashed the ball so hard that it split.

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The water was inviting whenever the sun came out and it turned a lovely blue, but seemed a bit more ominous when it was gray-green. Fortunately, sitting on the beach and simply relaxing was a viable alternative.

After the beach, we got cleaned up and shut down for a while before hunting dinner.

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Dinner was procured at a pizza-less pizza joint, where we were the only diners. Seems they didn’t want to fire up the pizza oven just for us, and they shut the restaurant for the night as soon as we’d paid for our formerly-frozen dinners. (Note to self, don’t expect much fine dining in a beach town during the autumn and winter.)

We spent two blessed days in the embrace of the jungle and the beach, and returned ready to face another week in riotous Sao Paulo. But I already hear Barra do Sahy calling: Return to me….