The day I passed my Open Water we set off for two nights in Barra and three nights in Zavora. The intention was to do some team building, some brainstorming and other sorts of things that you never have time to do when you’re in the office.
We piled into the car and drove to Barra, a 20 minute drive north of Tofo. Our journeys by car are rarely comfortable, as there are usually twice as many people packed into the car as there should be, and the tracks are comically bumpy. But we made it in once piece, and it was completely worth a few cracked skulls – Barra is paradise on earth. Endless sandy beach, palm trees, and not a soul to be seen. We were staying in some beautiful chalets on stilts right on the beach, and about 100ft from Chill Bar, a restaurant and bar with lovely staff and a friendly dog.
The chalets were amazing – very clean and bright, really nicely furnished with nice touches like rustic signs on the walls which said things like “if you’re wearing flip flops you’re overdressed”. There was a great deal of excitement about the functioning toaster and kettle, and the fans at the end of each bed – fans! That worked! Plus a beautiful bathroom with a power shower, which meant I had a fighting chance of washing sand out of my hair.
Sunset was approaching, so we headed to the bar and ordered drinks – I got a caipirinha, with freshly pulped mango, served in a little mason jar, which made me feel like I was in a cocktail bar in London, except that I paid £2 for it, instead of £12. We headed off up the beach with our sundowners and wandered along the edge of the surf, as the sun set behind us. We could see the lights of Tofo twinkling at us as it got dark, and when we eventually turned around and strolled back, we had to be careful not to tread on the crabs that scuttle around after dark. The dog from Chill Bar accompanied us, and every so often we’d hear the crunching noise of him gobbling up an unfortunate crab.
We had dinner at Chill Bar, and spent a very pleasant evening there eating and drinking. We played a modified version of Would I Lie To You – we formed teams and two us would tel elaborate lies, while one person told the truth and everyone had to guess who was telling the truth. My lie was that I had once qualified for the final of Junior Mastermind with a specialist subject of Harry Potter, but I had been disqualified for cheating. I was grilled on the cheating part, but eventually that was the detail that gave it away as a lie – everyone knows I’m too good at Harry Potter trivia to need to cheat. The truth teller of my team spun a fantastic (and completely true) story about nearly flying a plane into Niagara Falls as a kid, crash landing in Canada and subsequently being banned from the country.
The next couple of days passed very pleasantly, though we were still working. Barra has this incredibly chilled out vibe, because there is so little to do: it forces you to relax and just enjoy the beauty and serenity of the place – so we did just that.