Paraty was the perfect antidote to the madness of Rio and we calmed down considerably. The only person to put themselves in an embarrassing position turned out to be me, which was damaging to my personal sense of pride but hysterically funny to everyone else.
It is a prime example of the extent to which your privacy is invaded by other travellers. Anything that holds the potential for laughs ultimately becomes fair game. That day in Paraty, I was fair game.
We decided to take the hostel kayaks out to a small island across the bay; I am completely inept in water, as Ipanema beach will testify. On the way back from the island I capsized halfway between the island and the beach, by this time the others had already reached the shore. I was a pathetic sight as my flip-flops were floating away and I was slipping on seaweed trying to get back into the kayak without any success whatsoever.
When the boys clocked what I had done it was all eyes on Adrian to come to my rescue, which was humiliating and also faintly heroic, but the emphasis was on the humiliation as far as I was concerned.
Adrian and I went back to the hostel to get changed as the others retired to the beach bar as soon as they set foot on dry land. They began downing the imaginatively titled ‘Sandy Shandys’, the Paraty equivalent of coconut beers.
I felt that after the rescue effort and as the hostel room was empty, that now was the time for Adrian and I. I asked him to join me in the shower but, unfortunately, biology ruled that today was not the day.
I took this very personally and I arrived back at the bar beach wearing sunglasses to hide my rage. Adrian was dragging his feet behind me as he was probably much more aware of what was about to happen than I was, having known the boys for many years.
Nick broke the silence by grandly announcing that ‘Something has changed’. There was a dual shaking of heads and finally, Adrian gave into the questioning to reply that no, nothing had changed and admitted the reasons why they hadn’t. I distinctly remember the corners of Nick’s mouth turning upwards as he launched into his Cheshire cat grin and said ‘now I’m happy’.
Happy he was, as this gave him and Sandy enough material for a solid three hours of ripping me, with what I can only describe as joyful abandonment. Little did I know that he had been rehearsing the ‘something has changed’ line in various different forms for the whole time that we had been gone.
As I had sunglasses on, Nick said ‘Let me see your eyes’; there was no way that I was taking them off, lest I turned him into stone. All loyalties lay by the wayside as Steph was enjoying herself more than she ever had in her life (bar having sex with Nick and Tom the previous week).
Watching my dignity being shredded into little pieces and blown out to sea was almost becoming a sport to see who could come up with the best one-liner. I think it was undeniably Nick and he knew it.
A few choice jokes to describe the environmental disasters that sleeping with me would cause were spiders falling from the ceiling, whales beaching themselves and plagues of frogs. These were some of the most memorable events upon climax…
Adrian and I had our photograph taken on our last night together, he took one look at it and said ‘that picture describes our relationship – I look happy and you look pissed off’. It was most definitely the end. Nick told me during the goodbyes that he enjoyed spending time with me but that he didn’t like it when I argued with Adrian.
This didn’t stop him sending me Facebook chat messages reciting simple plan lyrics to me for the next three years. Adrian unfriended me a short time after we parted.
The next stop for Steph and I was Ihla Grande, an island a couple of hours away from Rio where tourists go to escape the madness. We were fairly depressed and the farce continued when we discovered that another of Nick’s conquests was staying there.
This caused a fair amount of awkwardness between her and Steph; the island was certainly not big enough for the two of them.