Sandboarding

December 3, 2009

I mentioned in my post about Florianopolis that Scott and I went sandboarding.  Here are some pictures that my mom took.

Lewy Brazil: Florianopolis

December 1, 2009

Driving from the airport in Floripa, our driver touted his city, talking about how safe it was, how beautiful, how their tech and fishing industries are booming.  It was lovely, and we were most struck by how undeveloped a lot of the island was, how much of it is still covered by mountains and trees, beaches, empty and protected.  We spent yesterday exploring with Gustavo, our trusty leader who was wonderful, younger than me and Scott, and fond of surfing before work.  He drove us all around the island, first to the Praça Quinze de Novembro, where we walked along the shopping streets and marveled at the giant sprawling tree in the middle, then to the lagoa area.  The shops were beachy and cute, and the whole island was just gorgeous.

We passed huge sand dunes, where Scott and I rented sandboards (like snowboards, without boots), and glided down.  Walking back up, it was clear that skiing never would have taken off without the invention of the tow rope or chairlift.  It was super fun though, to link turns in shorts and tees shirts while looking out at the ocean.  By the end, I was covered in sand everywhere.  My mom has pictures, I’ll post those later.

We had lunch and drove along the protected east side of the island, where there were villages nestled between the ocean and the lagoa.  My mom noted that a lot of the houses had horses tied up in front.  Gustavo explained that the roads stopped well short of the ocean, because of the dunes, and horses were still the best way to get across.  Trusty cars, or motorcycles were fairly useless.  Who wouldn’t want a horse just to get to the beach more easily?

The north part of the island looked like Florida, or California, with fancy houses and private beach clubs.  As our time on Floripa was winding down, we stopped in San Antonio, one of the first Portuguese colonial areas.  There, on a sunny little cove, there were cobbled streets and old houses, a few people sitting at plastic tables out on the sand eating oysters and sipping cold beers.  Gustavo said that’s where he comes for New Years every year, just a low key, easy time, with local people, looking out, watching the fireworks across the old bridge.

Perfection

November 29, 2009

We’re in a perfect place right now.  In Santa Catarina, an hour north of Florianopolis (touted as the perfect state capital in its own right) we’ve been staying in a bungalow on a peninsula overlooking green ocean and oyster farms (which, of course, make me think of Claire.)  The foliage around our bungalow is dense and green, with huge-leafed plants, demure purple flowers, saucy pink and red hibiscus, and my favorite, the pink and white, yellow and red coated tropical snap dragons.  Down a steep hill is a slice of beach with white-cushioned chaise lounges (they bring you ice water with mint and lime here).  If you stand there, you can see a few different fishing villages, brightly colored houses and fishing boats.

It’s rained a little, but it’s a soft gentle rain that’s cooling in the humidity.  We have a hammock on our balcony, with still more views of the fishing villages.  Next to a tennis court there’s a garden, where they grow all of the lettuces that grace the salad plates, and herbs, nasturtium flowers.  There are young fig trees, too.  The day before yesterday, my mom and I walked through the closest fishing village (maybe fifty houses, a few churches, one grocery), across the central beach and to a path that led through the forest, up over a mountain to a huge swath of beach that was totally, utterly empty save for three surfers.  I wonder how many places like this still exist, with nothing, and how many secluded, special, secret coves there are along the coast of Brazil.

We’ve had lazy days with lounging and reading, eating seafood and fresh fruits, playing Scrabble, exploring.  I’m going to be sad to leave this perfect, turquoise (and the most exquisite gray before a storm) place.