Aug 27 2009

Last days in Brazil

Bodhi

Here we are about to begin our last day in Brazil by waiting for the sunrise to start so we can go out to Ipanema beach to appreciate it. The last days/weeks have been, as usual, lovely and amazing. We arrived back in Rio de Janeiro on Mon, Aug 24, after 8 or so days in the state of Bahia in the northeast of Brazil. We enjoyed Salvador, the capital of Bahia, very much. It’s very interesting to see the contrast between the culture of Salvador/Bahia and Rio. We have likened it to the difference between a US city in the south, Atlanta, say, and Los Angeles perhaps. We spent 4 nights on an island called Morro de São Paulo, which is a sickness-inducing 2 hr catamaran ride from Salvador. The island was great, with no cars and plenty of sand. The “taxis” on this island are people with wheelbarrows and yellow shirts who will transport your suitcases and such to your hotel from the pier where you get off. Backpackers like us just walk of course. After being on Ilha Grande, though, we found Morro to be quite touristy. It’s got tons of restaurants, nice pousadas and hotels right on the beach, and people who will sell you anything you want if you’ll let them. But whatever, it was still gorgeous and relaxing and fun. Who can complain about walking out of your hostel and across the beach to the water?

2° Praia, Morro de São Paulo, a little piece of paradise

2° Praia, Morro de São Paulo, a little piece of paradise

The picture uploading capability is currently poor, so we can’t post more representative pics of the island.  Basically we lounged around a lot, hung out in the sun, relaxed, wandered in tide pools at low tide, tried surfing again (fail), and went to a “nightclub” (fail).  We also talked a lot, and this was good.  After a few months together, you might be surprised but there are still plenty of things to talk about!

So now we post more pics and things just because we can (and also because we are waiting for sunrise).

Farol de Barra, Salvador

Farol de Barra, Salvador, the only place in mainland Brazil that you can see the sun set over the water (because there's a big bay to the west of this point), which we did one day

Praia do Forte, a little village and sea turtle conservation project area an hour northeast of Salvador

Praia do Forte, a little village and sea turtle conservation project area an hour northeast of Salvador

Monica against a wall in the Pelourinho area of Salvador on our last night there

Monica against a wall in the Pelourinho area of Salvador on our last night there

Fort just offshore from the Cidade Baixo of Salvador, after returning from Morro de São Paulo

Fort just offshore from the Cidade Baixo of Salvador, after returning from Morro de São Paulo

During our percussion class in the Pelourinho area of Salvador..this was so much fun!  Taught by a legit Carnaval percussionist who smiled the entire time

During our percussion class in the Pelourinho area of Salvador..this was so much fun! Taught by a legit Carnaval percussionist who smiled the entire time

Monica flying above the wall around the Cristo statue in Salvador

Monica flying above the wall around the Cristo statue in Salvador

So after returning to Salvador for a night from Morro de São Paulo, we flew down to Rio for our last couple of days.  When we were in Rio before, we usually got one day of sun for every one or two that were somewhat cloudy.  Not this time.  It’s been cloudy, with some rain, every day we’ve been here.  But I guess it’s still alright and we can’t complain.  Today we hiked up through Atlantic rainforest jungle to the Cristo Redentor monument, the one main thing we hadn’t done in Rio yet.  We had been waiting for a perfect day in order to be there at sunset and drool over the beauty of the city as we had from Pao de Azucar.  But this was our last chance, as we fly tomorrow.  So we checked it out anyway.  The monument was mostly covered in clouds, and we only caught fleeting glimpses of the city.  But at least we did it.

We may get some sun tomorrow.  If so, we are headed straight to the beach.  And we are planning to meet a friend’s parents (she’s from Rio) for some pao de queijo in the afternoon.  In between, we shall continue our reflection of what the last few months mean to us and where they leave us now as we prepare to re-enter American society.  I suppose we’ll continue to use this space to share and reflect on things related to the journey, even though technically we won’t be traveling in South America anymore.  Perhaps we will be…mentally?