Two hours after sunrise on the eighth day Rich spotted Fernando de Noronha off the starboard bow.
“Not many know about you, my lady.”
Rich sailed a half mile from shore and followed the northern shoreline eastward. A huge rock formation stuck out of the island like a thumbs-up. He sailed on east. Craggy cliffs stood above the shore. A few small fishing boats dotted the shoreline. He maneuvered around a couple small island’s; white inviting beaches appeared. In awe, he passed by the majestic thumb. His course continued. Little discernible activity from the island caught Rich’s attention. “Perhaps there are few residence,” he thought.
With binoculars he spied the coast line and when passing by a large cove spotted a beach with scattered rocks and drift wood. Beyond the beach upon a rise shelters peeked out from the green foliage. From the water marks on the rocks and the presence of another sailboat he felt comfortable with anchoring there. Rich moved closer and dropped the sails. He cast anchor, slid the dinghy into the water, and putted to shore. He tied a line to a large piece of drift.
He sprung up stone steps to a desolate rustic street laid in flat rock.
“Not exactly the island paradise I thought,” he said to himself.
A man wearing only ragged Bermudas and sandals walked toward him and veered to the left following the street. He was short tanned and hairy.
“Excuse me, sir,” Rich said.
The man continued to walk as if nothing said.
“Sir!” Rich said.
The man continued.
Rich ran ahead of the man and walked backward in front of him.
“Do you speak English?” Rich said.
The man stopped and muttered something.
Rich pantomimed eating. “Food, restaurant.”
The man’s face turned pensive. He again muttered something and pointed further up the road they stood. He returned the eating motion and smiled.
Rich smiled and said, “Thank you.”
The man shook his head polity and walked away.
It was not a long walk, perhaps only a couple hundred yards. It was enough to tell him this island was in the grips of survival only compared to what he was accustomed. There appeared only scant evidence of the modern world – power and telephone poles. He didn’t even see a car.
The walk brought Rich to a yellow single story plastered building with two openings and no windows or screens and a doorway with no door. Rich walked inside. It was obviously what the man referred to. There were four tables four chairs each, six stools at a bar and all illuminated by two florescent lights.
A middle age man who looked as if he could be the man’s on the street brother sat at the bar. At the end of the bar stood a woman perhaps thirty in a green dress. She had black frizzy hair.
Rich sat at the bar and the woman said something to him which he imagined was a greeting or what do you want.
“Do you speak English?” Rich said.
She smiled, “No Ingles.”
Rich pulled a dollar from his pocket and showed it to her, “Will you take dollars?”
“Sim,” she smiled and shook her head.
“Beef,” Rich muttered to himself. He made an eating pantomime again and said, “Mooooo.”
The man at the end of the bar laughed and so did the woman. They said something to each other. She patted her hand on the bar in front of Rich. “Esperar, esperar.”
Rich smiled, “Esperar.”
She bolted into a room behind the bar and was back in a couple of minutes with a bowl of a stew mixture of sorts.
“Moooo,” Rich said.
She smiled. “Moooo.”
She placed a spoon next to the bowl and said something Rich did not understand.
“Feijoada,” she said to Rich and encouraged him to eat.
Rich took a bite and smiled. “Very good.”
She grabbed a beer from a cooler behind the bar and opened it. She sat it on the bar.
Rich took a swig and smiled. “Very good.”
He laid three dollars on the table.
“Brigado,” she said.
Rich pointed to the bowl of stew and beer and said, “Brigado.”