1001 beaches

Trip Start Nov 02, 2007
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Trip End Mar 01, 2008


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Thursday, January 3, 2008

I am glad more and more friends (incl. JB, Sandra and Melissa among others) are getting hoocked on our adventures....Thanks for reading us! We have come to realise that the New Year meant that we had already achieved half of our trip, but the good news is we still have two months to explore South America! First, we would like to wish all friends and familly and excellent, healthy and successful year 2008. Happy travelling too! The best thing to wish for us is a safe journey throughout South America, and a successful fresh start in Australia.

Last time I made an entry it was Christmas day in Rio de Janeiro. Since then, we spent New Yearīs Eve weekend camping on Ilha Grande, a paradisiacal island 2 hours south of Rio. Long story short, we were not so keen to spend New Yearīs Eve among 3 million people on Ipanema beach, therefore we thougth Ilha Grande would offer the peace and quiet we were looking for for this very special time. True, except that a lot of Cariocas (Rio inhabitants) and Paulestes  (Sao Paolo inhabitants) had had exactly the same idea....Most bed and breakfasts being totally sold out or exhorbitantly expensive, we decided to buy a tent - in the rush we forgot to buy camping mats - and camp. We made it there. It was full of young fun loving Brazilians and we made lots of friends to spend time with.  The beaches were indead a dream, and the atlantic forest covering the island offered quite challenging hikes so it was all worth sleeping on the ground for three nights!

We have arrived yesterday in Paraty (in a proper hostel with a real bed!), a very nice old colonial town, with amazing architecture. The windows of houses are painted in lots of bright colours, and there music absolutely everywhere. Last night when we arrived, there was a huge noise of drums coming from downtown. We assumed it was a samba school rehearsing for carnival, but it was only a bunch of 12 or so kids rehearsing their carnival tunes in the streets. They probably had nowhere else to play but were increadibly synchronised and serious about their music. First and foremost they were making a huge amount of noise!  All restaurants are providing live music so we have diner to the rythm of bossa nova every night. The streets of Paraty are made of very big cobblestones which makes it difficult to walk through the streets, but it is very special place because a lot of artists are gathering here and there are many art galleries to visit. Of course, we are still following the coast so the beaches are still absolutely gorgeous and there are many day trips on boats that we can do to visit the surrounding islands.

I would like to say lots of creative things about Brazil, but it has all been said before, so no need to reinvent the wheel. I have just finished a book about South Africa in which one was describing Brazil, and I thougth it was so accurate it would be worth mentioning it here.

"They (Brazilians) have got a different attitude to life. They love to live. You watch them walking down the street and you know that the sun is falling down on them with grace. Very friendly people. I went there during carnival, when I watched them doing samba, I saw glimpses of Africa, it was fascinating. Brazil is totally into celebrating their different cultures. They have this festival called Karrup for the native Indians, African based religions (...) and then the Portuguese, Spanish and Asian have their influence as well. It is like a fruit salad of different cultures (...) and the people are so beautiful. You find the most amazing combinations, like a dark skin with blond hair, or blue eyes with dark skin, or light skin with a really kinky Afro. Everyone just accepts that somewhere down their family bloodline they are a bit African, Indian or white. (...) They are all so cool about it. They love football and partying. Oh, and they love the beach. Itīs like a way of life." [The quiet violence of dreams  - K.S.Duiker]

It resumes it pretty well. Another amazing thing: One evening Dave and I were on the beach in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro. The sun was getting down, drowning in the sea. People were standing up on the beach to admire the show, one would think just another sunset. When the sun touched the horizon, not a cloud in sight, people started clapping. Like saying "Thank you for a nice day at the beach" to the sun. They clapped until the sun dissapeared behind the horizon. A truly special moment indeed.

Love & Bises
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