Sunday, July 01, 2007

Losing Myself

I'm stir crazy, stuck indoors - staring mindlessly out of rain-streaked windows on another waterlogged weekend. It should be summer, but the rain just keeps on coming... I'm thinking back to 3 weeks ago when I was in Brazil. It seems longer, but the memories are still fresh... I've been keeping them safely stored away for a rainy day... A depressing, grey-hair inducing, soggy, nothingy rainy day, just like today... I'm closing my eyes just for a moment, reaching for that far-away place...

...I'm sitting in the trendy Ritz cafe on my first day out in Sao Paulo. I'm eagerly awaiting my lunch - the much-hyped Ritz quiche. Ezinda's having a berry caipirinha, but I'm still jet-lagged and am sticking to coke for the time being. We're joined by Ezinda's charming Brazilian friend Decio, and a giggly, gossipy lunch lingers on well into the afternoon. The quiche is delicious, and deserving of Ezinda's praise. I'm feeling excited, and full of anticipation about the coming weeks, wondering what this adventure will hold in store...



...I'm on the beach in Maresias, the first stop on our magical mystery tour. We've got pretty much the whole beach, and an excessive number of attentive waiters, to ourselves. Working our way through goodness know how many bottles of Bohemia weiss beer, we sit - reading, contemplating, zoning out, until the sun begins to set, and the waiters are packing up the chairs around us. Feeling all my stresses and worries drain away, I soak up the sound of the sea, the sensation of sand between my toes. I'm blissed-out, relaxed, and restored...



...I'm on the back seat of a jeep, on the island of Ilhabela, bumping along on the way back from another beach-slumming, inebriated afternoon. We're both listening to our own music, lost in the magic of the mata, and marveling at the lush greenery all around us, not to mention the handsome waiter in the front passenger seat, with whom we are too shy to make conversation...



...I'm wandering the historical, cobbled streets of Paraty, popping into little galleries, craft shops, caf├ęs and cachacarias. Back at our charmingly quirky and wonderfully atmospheric pousada, I stop to fuss one of the many handsome cats belonging to its eccentric landlady. There are humming birds around the trees in the courtyard. It is evening now - Paraty is even more beautiful at night - and we're getting rather tipsy on an excellent bottle of Chilean wine at Banana da Terra, the best restaurant in town, according to the Rough Guide...


Pousada Gerainos

....I'm looking out of the bus window on the way to Rio. It's a never-ending postcard scene - a feast for the eyes. Filled with fluttery expectation as my arrival in this revered and notorious city looms, trees and mountains finally turn to buildings, traffic and bustling streets, and the occasional glimpse of Jesus looking down from his famous perch. Sampling Rio's legendary nightlife, we're knocking back caipirinhas in Lapa - a lively suburb with a vibrant music scene. Tom Do Brasil are up on stage, and we're doing our best to keep pace with the locals on the dancefloor, impressed and a little intimidated by the seemingly effortless samba and salsa going on around us...



...I'm people-watching on Copacabana, walking barefoot along the sand, all the way to Ipanema...



...I'm being watched by cheeky little macaque monkeys, their inquisitive faces looking down from the trees in a nature reserve in Espirito Santo. Inside the forest, I'm overwhelmed by the density, size and variety of trees and lianas (wooded climbers). Ezinda is translating admirably as our guide takes us through the woodland trail, pointing out interesting plants and trees, and telling us not to worry about the family of leopards that live here, as they only emerge at night...



...I'm sitting on a sand dune on a grey, windy day in Itaunas - a tiny, quirky place in the middle of nowhere. We're both feeling peaky from a bout of sickness the night before. But the bleak weather and my fragile state seem to enhance the experience somehow, as if the dunes demand an element of drama to be fully appreciated. I have the urge to walk and walk, to be lost here in this strange and exhilarating place, but instead we hobble back to our creaky treehouse-like pousada, hypnotised by the presence of dozens of eagles circling about above us...



...It's my last night in Brazil, and back at Ezinda's apartment, I'm drinking one of Peter's passionfruit caipirinhas. Looking out of the window at Sao Paulo at night – a seemingly endless metropolis - I'm floating between all kinds of longing. Soon I'll be home and all this will just be a memory...



...I open my eyes and I'm back in Brighton. It's still raining outside, but behind my eyelids there is a place I can go....

www.flickr.com/photos/rowstar

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I was wondering how you were going to sum up that trip and you made me nostalgic for it even though I'm still here. Great post, wonderful pictures. I think I might go have a passionfruit caipirinha to you!

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