More than two years ago I wrote a poem for a creative writing course. You can access it on Google Drive by clicking here.
The reason why I mention this document is that, in the poem, I write about how “I must wait” before I can go back to Brazil. I wrote the poem in the fall of 2011, and at the time I had little reason to expect that I would be able to visit Brazil before the World Cup, let alone student teach in Curitiba in 2013. I guess the rest is history. And I am glad that God makes a way for dreams to happen; even if they don’t happen in our timing (which in this case happened to be faster than my timing), I find that His timing is often the best. And, importantly, it is not only beneficial for us, but for our family and friends as well. We are not the center of the universe.
But for the rest of this post, we can pretend that I am, haha!
My recent trip to Florianópolis (known locally and fondly as “Floripa) and other hotspots on the southeastern cost of Brazil was a success. To help make this MBS post more “shareable” as well as more delightfully “reader digestible”, pictures with captions will compose a large part of this vacation report. Think of it as a post-graduate Show-And-Tell.
First off, let me introduce you to my traveling companions.
The Young Parents: Rafael and Annelyse
The Baby: Lucca
And the Friend/Tio: William
And what exactly did we do since my last post? A LOT. So much, in fact, that without some guideposts in the form of pictures, I fear I might lose you! So let me walk you through it.
Day 1: Leaving for Floripa
After getting up early to aproveitar the first day at our hotel, something happened. Suffice it to say that this “something” was worth the time that we took to resolve it (and no, it was not that we forgot a copy of our hotel reservations). Em fim, things worked out all right. With the extra time that I had, I went to a store and managed to make my own trail mix of hazelnuts, almonds, granola, and raisins to go with some yogurt in a thermal bag. Now, I admit forgot to buy spoons. It was sort of slap-yourself-in-the-face moment. But I then I remembered that I had a new plastic one in my backpack from one of my Grab n’ Go lunches, courtesy of Lindenwood University. See kids? College does come in handy.
In hindsight, the delay also helped us avoid loads of traffic as most people had flooded the only highway between Curitiba and our destination earlier in the day. On the bright side, the sunset also made it a pretty scenic drive. Gallery, please!
Oh, and did I mention…I got to see the Statue of Liberty?
(For explanations, google “Havan” stores and statues of liberty in Brazil. It will become clear.)
As things turned out, we arrived in time to see the famous old bridge linking the island sector of the city to the mainland. I had never seen this kind of “icicle” lights on a house, let alone a bridge, before coming to Brazil.
It was cool watching the light “trickle down” the wires in the middle of a beach town.
Day 2: At Our Waterfall Hotel
We had arrived.
Our hotel for the first two days and nights (the first day of which we spent driving) was Hotel Torres da Cachoeira. Don’t ask me where the waterfall is, because other than in the name I have no idea.
After snacking on the yogurt and trail mix I had bought previously, we all went to sleep in our separate rooms. The next morning brought a fruit-filled breakfast to energize us for conquering the fun to be had in the vicinity. And how we conquered.
The first stop on the list was the original Boka’s at Canasvieras Beach. Can you guess why? Fried Shrimp!
Talk about tasty!
Know this, dear reader: Our dominion of that platter will be immortalized legend. The bards will twist their beards in awe, as they sing their ballad of that battle, The Cuisine at Canasvieras.
The sun beat down upon the beach
And the five, each in despair;
Hunger mocked them, scoffing.
The youths’ defeat was in the air.
It’s a work in progress, I’ll confess that. Getting back to the vacation…
After Boka’s we went back for the hotel for siesta. It was so hot… that we were content to nap in the air conditioning and escape the heat of the day. Of course, the fact that our hotel had a pool with water to jump in (albeit not a waterfall), also helped things.
At night, we went for a stroll on Main Street in Canasvieras. I bought some souvenirs, as well as another bracelet of açaí seeds resembling the ones I found in Manaus back in 2008.
The day and night were a success in vacation history.
Day 3: English and Joaquina Beaches
The next morning… we took it easy, repacking our bags for our second hotel. Our hotel for the third day and night only opened at 2:00pm, so we resolved to check out of our first as late as they would allow us. That was when I suggested going to an ice cream parlor I had found on the Internet. Of the 36 customer reviews displayed, 30 said that it was “excellent” (the other 6 said it was “very good”), so I was interested. My comrades asked me where it was located. As it turned out, the place was only a little bit out of the way; we could stop there on the way to our hotel. My friends smiled at the excitement in my eyes: First shrimp, and now ice cream!
Screen shot of directions, taken earlier that morning.
The funny thing was that our route would bring us close to the English Beach, and I, the half-Brazilian and half-American who suggested going there, was an English teacher. But I was not American or British, my friends reminded me, so it wasn’t an English trio sort of thing. Yeah, the United Statesian monster raised its head up again.
That’s OK, though. I got to eat gelato.
The eight flavors were dark chocolate, chocolate with jalapeño pepper, blackberry, lime, cherry, hazelnut, yogurt with blueberry, and a Brazilian fruit similar to acerola cherry (whose name I forget). I was very impressed (and yes, these were just the flavors that I ordered for and ate myself).
All this, and it hadn’t past noon yet.
From the place that belonged to the expert ice cream guy (Monte Pelmo Ice Cream Parlor), who spoke with a delightful, lightly Italian-accented Portuguese, we made our way south toward our next hotel. However, we made sure to stop at a lookout along the way to take in the view. I may have also bought a bar of 70% dark chocolate.
William and me at the lookout
A wider view of Conception Lagoon
If you look at the upper left corner of the panorama above, you will see the beginnings of the Joaquina Beach dunes. That was where we were heading. And look what awaited us:
Sandboarding, only a 10-minute walk from our hotel. But before we could sandboard, it was high time to eat lunch. A 2-minute walk brought us to a reasonably-priced buffet. Oh yeah, then it was time for another siesta. Even on a full stomach, we didn’t feel like burning off our exoskeletons needlessly.
Fastforward two or three hours, and we were on our way back to the dunes. 20 Reais later (10 USD to rent a board for an hour), I was read to rumble, but not tumble.
Bringing the backwards cap back.
Here’s another gallery, this time of dune images (click for captions):
Many thanks to Rafa, who acted as cameraman!
Psst, if you look closely, you can see where my wipeout left sand on my sideburns and below (a new way to think of “hat hair”)… see that line of dark skull-fur that gives way to a grainy, sand-colored substance? Yeah, that’s sand. Extremely fine sand that stayed embedded in my beard for two days after that, no matter how many times I showered.
So after a cold shower, a dip in the pool on the roof of our hotel, and a warm shower (see, I’m not just talk), it was time to head to the beach for some relaxation.
Before indulging in a strawberry and startfuit “drinke” (as my amigos called it), I decided to matar o meu fome for a good salt-laden wave. Yeah, I jumped in the ocean, caught a couple, and then rode in a last one to lean back in my beer-propaganda-branded plastic yellow chairs (kudos to you if you can tell what brand to which I am referring) to enjoy the view… of my divinely handsome size 46 feet.
Actually, I wasn’t really leaning back. To make this photo possible, I had to lift my feet up while sitting (quite upright) in one of those chairs in the mid-ground, hiding the fact that I am not resting my feet on anything. You can imagine how I looked to other people, and you have my permission to snicker.
But here’s a panorama of the beach before the sunset (in three parts):
And that, my friends, was the last thing that I did that day (except for taking one more shower, for a total of five times being fully immersed in water). With my hair still wet (or whatever hair I have on the back of my head), I hit the pillow and the lights went out.
Day 4-5: To the Beach House
As tired out as I was out after a full day of showering, swimming, and sandboarding, nothing was keeping from getting to breakfast in time for watermelon and banana bread. Well, that was what I chose from the buffet. 🙂
And then we were off to the beach house in Itapoá, halfway between Floripa and home.
A last minute addition to our itinerary, the beach house bought by the father of one of the young parents. And after contacting the father, we were encouraged to enjoy ourselves there. Wahoo!
We ended up spending two days at the beach house. I swam in the ocean, rocked in a hammock, watched a movie, cooked omelets, and thoroughly enjoyed myself, mesmo. So where are the pictures. At this time I pay homage to the idea behind Rhett and Link’s Get Off the Phone video: who needs to take pictures all the time when there is life to be lived? Like in a Hitchcock film, you will have to use your imagination, making do with a suggestive splatter of fact.
I would, however, like to describe the drive back to Curitiba and note something curious.
Day 6: Heading back to Curitiba
This (a rice field) is located less than half an hour’s drive from Itapoá Beach. And, looking to the left…
A banana field rises with the nearby mountains. Such biological diversity!… at least to me, coming from the STL area where everything is corn, soybeans, or wheat.
Here is a last gallery of the way back to Curitiba:
That was my vacation to Floripa. But things didn’t end there. No… three Christmas meals still to come.
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus (or it is supposed to). And I do not mean to play this down, but this time around it was more about family, food, and fellowship. The Three F’s, if you will.
Invited by my friend William’s family to participate in their annual Secret Santa (Amigo Secreto) gift exchange this year, I was glad to play a part. I even made some American style banana bread for the dessert table.
Also, eu ganhei my new favorite dress shirt (Egyptian cotton) from my Secret Santa.
How do I look?
You may notice that I shaved a bit somewhere in between the beach house and Christmas. What can I say? I wanted to be an example to my newfound and fellow baldie.
To end this post, let me leave you with a gradual switch to the proverbial red light… by showing pictures of a Florianópolian traffic light. 🙂
And that’s all folks! Until Next Year!
TESOL Teacher Kyle