That night we end up at Bar do Meio - and I spend the entire night wondering how we missed this place. I found it by googling "where to watch sunset Noronha", and the reviews have us hopping in a cab as soon as we had showered. When we pull up, I am surprised. It is a big hut that we have passed many times - but when we walk down the hill we are greeted with probably the coolest bar/restaurant that I have ever encountered in my travels.
Bar do Meio is set on an outcropping of rock on the east of the island. It’s in the perfect position to watch the sun set. When we arrive about an hour before sunset, the sky is already turning orange and the place is hopping. There are cabanas on the rocks near the shore and people are dancing to live music. We join the line to have our photo taken at the huge swing that overlooks the perfect view of the beach, the sunset and the huge rock that dominates the island. Written on a sign above the swing are the words THIS IS LIVING. I don’t think I have ever seen a more perfect sight.
The trees with red flowers that grow all over the island form the perfect foreground for photos, and wildflowers catch the sun’s red rays as it sets. With a caipirinha in my hand, the sun on my face and this beautiful view in front of me, it feels like time is standing still. It’s moments like these that I travel for. I know this trip won’t last forever, but I have everything I need right here, right now. I often can’t believe my good fortune at finding all the right places to travel to on this journey. You never know what you are going to get, but when you take chances and head to unknown places, you often find the most incredible experiences. I turn and see a guy who I think must be reading my mind. As he stares with wonder at the same view I just tore my eyes away from, he makes the sign of the cross and kisses his fingers, then lifts his hand to the sky. It’s exactly what I’m feeling. This is God’s land.
While we wait for a table, we watch the people dancing and drinking and having a great time. People are still in their suits and cover ups, and one woman is dancing away in her thong. Ok, maybe more than one! I watch a father dance with his one year old (ish) son. It’s 8 o’clock, and people at home would be panicking about getting their kids to bed. But Brazilians live. They don’t seem to worry. The child is giggling and dancing and staring at his dad with the purest look of happiness on his face. All around us people dance, shout and shake to the music. When a new song comes on everyone screams in recognition and starts singing. Two girls next to us grab a beer bottle and pretend it’s a microphone. One films the other and when they catch us watching and laughing they cover their faces and laugh. They yell sorry and I wish I could tell them to never apologize for living and laughing and being happy.
The sun has completely set and now a full moon casts muted light on the ocean. I can see and hear the gentle waves as they crash on the beach next to us. Our dinner of shrimp arrives and it’s some of the best shrimp I’ve ever tasted. Bar do Meio is not cheap, but it’s worth every centavo. The view, the atmosphere, the people and the food make this night into a memory I will never forget.