At 6 a.m. the sun is rising rapidly above the horizon, yet not burning fiercely as it will in a couple of hours. I stroll over the sandy plain dotted with shrubs that feed the local horses and donkeys. Behind me is the village of Jericoacoara, along Brazil’s northeast coast. In front of me are only dunes. They attract like a magnet. Continue reading
I am lying stretched out on a wooden bed covered with a brightly striped bath towel. The sun prickles my skin and a breeze caresses my body, preventing me from overheating (note to self: next time slather myself in sun lotion before lying down).
I look at the ripples on the transparent, blue water of the swimming pool – large enough to swim laps and surrounded by wooden walkways. Behind the pool a fence of woven branches of a local shrub separates Pousada Vila Bela Vista from the white sand beach and the Atlantic Ocean. Continue reading
Edited to add, 2017: Marcel and Sandra no longer run this guesthouse, but Kite World Wide does.
At the end of a long day of exploring of Brazil’s beaches we meet the kitesurfers first. It’s late afternoon and Coen and I are in search of a place to spend the night. We drive onto Tatajuba Beach and see the sky filled with a dozen colorful kite sails: with wind force six the skillful kitesurfers put on a fantastic show of sailing at enormous speeds including spectacular jumps. Continue reading
In South America we often feel overwhelmed by our surroundings, marvel at views, camp in grandiose terrains, and feel dwarfed by canyons and mountains. Among the well-known spectacular sceneries on the continent are the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina, Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, the Lake District in Patagonia, the colored lakes of Sud Lipez in Bolivia, and Valle de la Luna in Chile.
Let’s explore some of the lesser-known forces of nature. Continue reading
After 2,5 year of Amazon tropics Coen and I are happy to have returned to the colder and drier climate of the Andes Mountains. During these past 10 years I have never written, “Boy are we glad to be back in the tropics so we can wear shorts and bathing suits again,” yet I have expressed that, “It feels great to wear socks and sweaters again and to sleep under our down blanket.”
We’re cold-weather people. Continue reading
These are days 3 and 4 in the 30-day series “An Act of Kindness by a Stranger”. We are camping in the harbor of Corumbá, on the Brazilian border.
We have a problem: Yesterday Coen replaced the Land Cruiser’s oil but now the filter is leaking. When he takes it apart it becomes clear that there are a couple of punctures due to rust. He needs epoxy glue to fix it and chats with a couple of boatmen to find out where he can buy it. Continue reading
This is day 1 in the 30-day series “An Act of Kindness by a Stranger”. Today I did not encounter 1 but 2 friendly gestures worth sharing, which I consider a positive omen for this project.
We are camping at a petrol station near Campo Grande, in southwest Brazil. The Land Cruiser is being washed. There is no automatic carwash system where you put your car on a belt and the employee only has to push a button (a system that is practically non-existent in South America). Nope, washing cars is generally still done by hand, and so it is taking a while. Continue reading
So often we encounter kindness, and so often from people we don’t even know. For the next 30 days I will share these acts of kindness by a stranger with you. For me to become more mindful and for you how simple joys can make the day of a traveler. Continue reading
What were we going to do with 100 limes? An hour ago we thought we were going to be stuck with a bottle of cachaça and a kilo of sugar which had become useless as the main ingredient for our favorite cocktail had been missing: limes. And now we had 100. Continue reading
In wonder I stare at the gray-colored seahorse. I can’t remember ever having seen one before. No matter how I turn the bottle, the seahorse keeps its head turned from me. Later the opposite happens with another one and I figure that maybe they prefer facing` towards the sun. Continue reading
“I have some chicken on skewers left. Would you like one?” Marcel asked.
I looked at Coen; we just had noodle soup for dinner and aren’t hungry.
“With peanut sauce,” Marcel’s wife Sandra added with a smile.
Coen was lost: this guy lives for peanut sauce. The chicken, succulent thanks to a marinade, and peanut sauce came with a beer. We had already fallen for the charm of Pousada (guesthouse) Portal do Vento on arrival, but now we wanted to stay. Continue reading
With his six brothers and parents, Marinaldo lived on fishing. Day in, day out. “We would leave on Monday, be gone the entire week fishing in either the lakes or if there was not enough water we’d go out on the ocean and return on Saturday. We’d have one day at home and we were off again.” Continue reading
“The sound of silence”
My parents had an album of Simon & Garfunkel. I loved listening to it and when I started learning English in highschool, one particular song triggered me: The Sound of Silence. I loved the melody and although I didn’t understand much of the lyrics, the words ‘sounds of silence’ made me wonder: did silence have a sound? It started listening to my surroundings and I concluded that the world was hardly ever silent. Continue reading
Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Why did I not think of this before? I’ll just buy tapioca and we’ll make beiju,” I concluded.
It was such a simple solution to such a simple problem: staying in a village where I couldn’t find bread and needed something for breakfast. Continue reading
Life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breaths away.