February 28, 2010

Here’s the rainbow we saw while snorkeling in Morro de Sao Paulo.  It went across the whole sky in a perfect semi-circle.


On to Belo-Horizonte

February 26, 2010

We made it off Tinhare and away from Morro de Sao Paulo. We almost didn’t. After the bumpy VW ride to the edge of town, we hired a ‘taxi,’ a guy in a tank top and board shorts with a wheelbarrow, to cart our bags through the sandy town where cars aren’t allowed (and wouldn’t fit through the narrow passageways anyway). We arrived at the dock twenty minutes later to see the huge line for the boat we had to get on in order to make our flight to Belo-Horizonte this afternoon. We were both feeeling sick and dehydrated in the heat and ran down the pier to get on line for the catamaran. We were blocked at the gate by a guy who told us we had to stop and pay the dock tax. We paid a 10 reais island tax on the way over. Now we had to push through a mob of people to pay 62 centavos. Worst system ever. As we joined the line, it moved forward, until it stopped two people ahead of us. Apparently tickets are open ended and don’t correspond to a specific boat. After being pushier than I am comfortable being, we talked our way on. And here we are at the Salvador airport, excited to go see Marjory and Eduardo, Rafa and Izabella.

It’s interesting, being where we are right now.  We’re far, from everything, and it feels far, given that we’ve been far for a long time.  We’re staying in a little bungalow, complete with its own mosquito net, and sulfur smell when we turn on the shower.  It’s clean though, and lots of things about it are really nice.  The ocean stretches blueish green and knee high for hundreds of yards.  The water is clear, the palm trees are tall.

When we booked the hotel, we thought we were close to the town of Morro de Sao Paulo.  Not so.  It’s about a half an hour away.  But it’s not just like you get in your car and drive twenty miles.  It’s really only about fifteen kilometers, but the road is made of sand and pitted, and close to the hotel it’s little more than a two lane track.  One of our buggies from the Jericoacoara would handle it gracefully.  The shuttle, run four or five times a day by the hotel makes it more comical.  It’s an old VW wagon, painted olive green with the hotel’s logo on the side (which involves a monkey).  The doors barely close and the windows rattle.  It seems like with every jerking move forward it could just break apart, like a little kid’s toy car thrown against a wall.  So rickety.  I thought the bumping along felt especially bad on our way in on Monday, as we had just sat on a boat for two hours, but it proved worse when we went into town for dinner last night.  The way there was fine–gazing up at the stars, enjoying the smell of wet tropical foliage, big broad leaves respiring in the darkness, a bit of cool relief after the hot, sunny day.  The way back was long and bumpy and jarring.

I think I would have more patience for, and in fact relish, these little quirks and the solitude if this wasn’t the last stop on our trip. With our feet in the sand of another beach last night, having a drink and talking about the next thing, as I wait to hear from graduate schools, I’m ready for that next thing.  I had my wonderful, gorgeous and illuminating fill of exploring remote Brazilian beach towns.  They’re beautiful and I will enjoy every one until I go, but I’m ready to know where graduate school will be, what’s in store for me and Scott.

Hotel Anima

February 23, 2010

We’ve found ourselves in another remote place.  After staying in one of the coolest hotels I have ever stayed at in Sao Paulo, Villa Bahia, we took a two hour boat ride to Morro de Sao Paulo.  If Pipa was characterized by cliffs and Jericoacoara was sand dunes, Morro de Sao Paulo is jungle.  We walked through another cool town where the streets are made of sand and cars aren’t allowed, and took a half an hour car ride in a struggling Volkswagen minibus to the Anima Hotel.  This one has another perfect beach, and mosquito nets on the bed.  It’s beautiful, but at this point, feels extra isolated.