Saturday, April 21, 2007

Beach Bum in Brazil

After getting off at Sao Luis, I realised my Japanese friend wanted to go to a place called Barreirinhas. I´ve been travelling without a travel book, and have been relying only on recommendations from fellow travellers and locals, so I decided to follow him. He told me that a friend of his had told him to definitely go there because of the sand dunes and lakes.

Got there around noon, and after 5 days on a boat, a 12 hr overnight bus ride and a 4 hr ride, I was exhausted. I also had a slight cold and fever, probably due to all the travelling for the last 3 weeks, so I took it easy for the next 3 days. The only thing I did, apart from lying on a hammock and reading, was go with some other people on a trip to the sand dunes and swim in the lakes.

Barreirinhas is a bit of a resort town, but it´s low season right now, and it was quite deserted. There were a bunch of cheap posadas waiting to let out rooms at low rates, and we picked a nice one on the waterfront. It had hammocks dangling along the river, and only 3 other occupants in the entire hotel. All of us were solo travellers, who´d been travelling for at least 6 months each.

The Japanese guy opened up a bit finally and told us how he started in Mexico city, went all the way down to Argentina, took a cruise to Antarctica, came back up to Venezuela and is now heading down to Chile. In the next week, he plans to do 2 long bus rides of 48 hrs each. He barely speaks Spanish and Portugese and is probably the quietest, loneliest traveller I´ve come across. It´s his 4th trip of about a year in a different continent so he seems pretty comfortable travelling his own way. I asked him considering the Japanese work so hard and travel very little, why he travelled so much. He said - I don´t like working.

One of the other travellers is an American, who´s on a 5-6 year trip around the world on his motorcycle. He started 2 years ago from Colorado, went up to Alaska, then all the way down to Argentina and is now back up north. He´s had more problems with visas and permits because of his motorcycle, and was telling me about how he´d sneaked across various borders to avoid getting his motorbike impounded for lack of registration or insurance. Unfortunately, he´s heading further north and not south, otherwise I could have dumped some of my luggage and gotten a ride with him down to Rio. Another time. This is the link to his website.

The other two travellers are more normal...just backpacking around Brazil for about 6 months. There were headed to Sao Luis, so I shared a car ride with them. Sao Luis is a beautiful city. It´s a world heritage site with lovely colonial architecture, friendly people, great nightlife, nice beaches and .... not much else.

Will head out of here tomorrow to Olinda, spend a few days there, go down to Salvador, spend a few days there, then reach Rio by May 1st. If you look at a map, you´ll understand the title.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

OK Pondy.. You've got to start taking photos with people in them!!

Anshuman

bandafbab said...

I have, but till I get to Rio I won´t be able to upload them. The cybercafes are too slow and expensive for that.

Also, I rarely take my camera to the beach. Walking around with a camera on a busy beach in Brazil is like walking with a sign saying `` Rob me, I´m a tourist``

Karla said...

Brazilians spend the day on the beach drinking beer, eating nuts and melon and talking about the football or the latest telenovela. So many tourists and investors in Brazil property are coming because of this fantastic place. It's one of the most democratic places as apart from the designer haircuts there are precious few clues as to the wealth of the individual. No one can own the sands and so they're a free space for everyone in Brazil - something quite rare in a country that suffers from the worst distribution of wealth in the world.

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