Archive for December, 2012

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Posted on December 31, 2012 by 9 Comments

What any Brazilian woman lacks in appearance, she compensates for with an absence of modesty.

Women aren’t the only ones that wear tiny swimsuits.

We’ve been eating sand with just about every meal. You get used to it.

They have ice here.

‘Bode’ (boh-jee) means ‘goat’ in Portuguese . We have friends whose names don’t translate so well.

Overcast and rainy days on the beach are some of the best ones.

Brazilian pre-tween girls are amorously aggressive. ‘The Goat’ is still oblivious.

If you dry out a banana until it’s black and wrinkled, cut it into cubes and wrap it, you can sell it as candy.

Everyone tells me I look American. No chance of passing for Brazilian.

People ask Angela if she is Brazilian. When she says no, they suggest she might have some in her blood.

The most important part of being a surf instructor is to whoop and yell when someone finally stands up after you push them into a wave.

We’ve been told repeatedly that the best way to learn Portuguese is to get a Brazilian girlfriend/boyfriend. We’re jokingly considering it. We’ll have to exit the country in 6 months anyway, so we could just split up now and meet at the border later. What could possibly go wrong? If we were looking for a book deal, we may have just found the ticket. Scandalous!

We’re told that in Florianopolis, the ratio of women to men is 7:1. In the rest of the country, the ratio is supposedly similarly high. I don’t know if I believe it, but I like those odds.

I do like jammin’ too. Thanks for hoping.

Forty two ain’t so bad.

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Natal in Flori

Posted on December 29, 2012 by 4 Comments

Natal on Isla Santa Catarina was pretty crazy. We camped on the south side of the lagoon – where all the action is. We didn’t manage much sleep, but had been warned to stay put because we had an actual parking spot. The nights were rough – either loud, hot, or both. They do it Gangham style here, too. One night Bode and I had to walk to the beach at 1 am to get some air. We’ve been told it’s a ‘once in a hundred years’ heat wave. I sure hope so.

Our goal was to get through Christmas because we were near a town with markets and restarants, we had wifi and we thought Santa would be better able to find us if we stayed put. For 4 days and nights we tried to make the best of it.

We did meet some incredilbly nice folks, enjoyed the luxeries of a tourist town (sushi), and played at the lagoon. We made cookies, decorated the bus and had a great Christmas. Bode managed to get a new bike and a boogie-board. Jason got a paddle set. I got pockets. No one cared about a turkey dinner, so we hit one of the few open restaurants and had the camarones sequencia (4 types of shrimp, stuffed crab, fish filet, french fries and salad). A huge undertaking.

The day after Christmas we decided to take our chances and hit some of the local beaches. First, we went out to Campeche… and took zero photos. It’s been too hot to do just about anything.  We’d intended to take a boat ride over to another beach, but at $40 USD per person (guidebook listed it at $7) we decided that this beach was nice enough. I hid under some trees and the boys hit the surf for a short while before we were all ready to go.

We moved south and found another campsite near Praia Da Armação.

We made some quick friends, and they insisted they take us to the agua-dulce Lagao do Peri for a swim. It was one of those times where nobody speaks the other’s language, but we still managed to talk for hours.

I’d just been telling Jason about how the Brazilians on vacation don’t seem to let the weather bother them. While we huddle in the shade on a hot day, they strut their stuff up and down the beach. As he rains come in, everyone else stays put, has another beer, looks at us like we’re crazy from staying dry. Well, tonight as the storm clouds move in, I’m putting away things and our new friends pull out chairs and insist we sit for another chat. Really, it’s Carlos going on about something and us smiling and nodding a lot. Usually we can guess at the subject, but sometimes Jason and I have completely different ideas about the subject in question. Anyway, the wind is really starting to blow and we’re getting sand-blasted. I get sand in my eye and I’m trying to get it out while tents are blowing over just a few feet from us. They remain calm and keep talking. A tree limb breaks above me and falls directly on my head. There is some pain, but mostly shock. Still talking. Another branch breaks off and drops on Jason, and I am not making this up, they stay put and keep chatting like nothing is happening. I had to excuse myself and left Jason to fend for himself.

Still, it’s quiet here at night – we can finally sleep. Our camp site is right on the beach. It might even be for sale, so we went through all the ‘what if’ day-dreams. And the rain even cooled things off a bit.

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Swinging

Posted on December 28, 2012 by 1 Comment

Catching up…. we sandboarded near Praia do Siriu. Visted a nice lagoon at Guarda Do Embau. And, camped at Praia de Cima (with a nice little trail down to beach).

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Feliz Natal

Posted on December 25, 2012 by 4 Comments

 

An oldie, but a goodie.

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This Place, We Like

Posted on December 24, 2012 by 1 Comment

Things are starting to look up. Our bank has refunded our fraudulent charges for now (subject to Banco do Brasil not protesting it) and we’ve been able to successfully withdraw money from a few international banks.

We had seen the a large camping area next to the beach on our GPS, so we headed to Garopaba. It’s a good-sized fishing town that’s not in our guidebook, but not off of the radar for the Brazilians either.  For a few extra bucks we were able to score a campsite right in front of the water. This was great the first day, but the next 2 nights the spot proved a bit too windy. This campsite is a big, family friendly place. And, the Brazilians and Argentines have started moving in for the summer holiday. Each person gets a designated space, and they have covered it completely with tarps,  even making sectioned rooms inside with them.  I wish I had taken a photo of some of the rope work holding these things together. Serious Eagle-scouters. Of course, there is also the big bus style RVs as well.  These folks definitely have the toys that we haven’t seen outside of the U.S. and Mexico.

Probably the best part of this place is that is is really set up for kids. They have an indoor game room with foosball, pool tables, ping pong. Outdoors, they had a courts for bocce ball and soccer, as well as lots of bike riding room. And, the beach is just right there. Bode met up with a group of about 5 kids and spent each day pal’ing around.

With the beach right in front, and the town a few blocks away it’s an easy place to relax. We were told that our spot as well as every other (this campsite is 1 km long) was reserved from Christmas day to mid-January.  We couldn’t afford to stay that long anyway – it was pretty pricey.

Bode got an early Christmas boogie board, and was out front riding the waves. While I was waiting for him, another grumpy old man walked up to me and asked me a question. When I told him (in Portuguese) “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Portuguese”  I got another rant. Argentine? No. Uruguay? Nope.  Being an American didn’t matter either, he just just kept intensely talking to me.  This went on a little too long, and I just kept smiling. I don’t understand you. He kept going and we were becoming a spectacle to others on the beach. Finally, I got up and joined Bode in the water for a little boogie boarding. Later, I spent an hour on my Portuguese lessons!

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Praia do Ferrugem

Posted on December 22, 2012 by 3 Comments

I gave the new carbs another tweak and we set out from Morro dos Conventos towards Laguna. Now, we’re running a bit hot… and still rough during acceleration. If the throttle is either at idle or all the way open, we’re good.  I’ve got two sync tools and they both agree that the sync is perfect. It sounds nice and smooth when I’m back at the engine and revving it, but when I put it in gear and go, it sputters. We’re not going far, so I’m going to try to mess with it tomorrow.

Laguna is another one of the towns in our Brazilian guidebook, but it’s just not very interesting. I’m not sure why they bother to put some of these places in the books. Maybe it’s got a big bus stop? Sometimes I think we should be writing the BodesWell “Not-in-the-Book” Guidebook. It’s a huge country – most of it’s not in the guidebooks. Anyway, Laguna does have a (very) small colonial center that’s a few blocks long, then a surprisingly large pile of condos and hotels over the hill, crowded on the beach. We drove right through, and made lunch on the beach just north of town at Praia do Gi.

We drove up the beach for all of 5 km until we decided not to press our luck. We found a path off of the soft sand and back onto the gravel. I imagine we’ll get stuck sooner or later, just not today.

The next stop was Praia do Rosa.  This is a “top ten” beach. It was pretty to look at, and we checked it out for a while, but we were keen on finding a place we could stay. The beach is mostly a protected area, which is good, but that does make it a bit difficult to access. There are a few high-end cabanas, a restaurant, and absolutely no camping options. The “town” is a few km up the hill. It’s kind of a cool place, but the hippie-chic/surfer-chic vibe seems a bit forced. Made for weekenders. We found exactly one camping sign in town, and they offered us a parking spot next to their hotel for $35 USD. No thanks. Top-Ten Beaches come with Top-Ten Prices.

We kept rolling and decided to check out Praia do Ferrugem. It looked good on the map and was only marginally less beautiful than Rosa. We parked a few meters from the surf and had a day. Winner!

Warning: if you’re posing, you’re fair game.

 

Test Drive

Posted on December 21, 2012 by 2 Comments

Since we had some reasonably flat driving ahead, I decided to give the Weber carb conversion another try. I had the manifolds tapped for vacuum at a shop back in Uruguay, so everything was ready. After firing it up, giving it a medical-grade tune up, and adding my modified Kadron spring for feel, we hit the road.

Still. not. good.

I know the left linkage isn’t quite right (wrong spacers) but I saw this setup quite a bit at the Punte del Este show, and it’s identical. I guess the problem is printed right on the manifold. I’ll tweak it some more and give it a few more days before I give a final report.

A short driving day was in order, so we checked out Morro dos Conventos. It’s not in the guidebooks, but was recommended by two people. It sounded perfect.

This place is nice enough – big sand dunes, sand boarding, and a big wide beach. Just locals, except that today the yahoos hit the beach in large numbers. We’re still not sold on driving on the beach. It’s common here, and that’s the major knock against it. The good part is that we can just park and make a home – and not think about all our worldly possessions in the bus while we hit the beach right in front. The problem today was that by late afternoon, it turned into a cruising scene with plenty of jackassery and questionable driving. As Angela said, “too much testosterone – time to go.”

So, we did. Back in the little town, there’s a big campsite with a pool. A nice way to cool off after the humid sandy praia on the other side of the dunes. Tonight, we were the only campers.

Earlier, I had met a guy on the beach seining for tiny clams and he assured me they were good to eat.  So, I pulled out my tiny grelha and gave it a try – digging in the sand when the waves came in, and letting it filter the little buggers when the water rushed back out. I managed to get a good-sized pile for a snack. Later, I steamed them with a little olive oil and water until they popped open, then added some lime. Tasty frutos do mar.

 

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