Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Natural Wonders of Lencois

OMG this is high...it's ok Mom, I'm safe.

Life in Lencois.

The sunset after a long day of great excursions!

Hello from the natural pools in Lencois ;)
Yuko going down a natural water slide. Yes, we have bruises on our butts.
This is not a "light to moderate" excursion
Up the mountain

That's a real waterfall

You can do it Yuko! Trivia: Is Yuko afraid of heights?

Reward Number 1 for hiking. So breathtaking beautiful.

That's right...into the jungle...ok, a swamp aka mini pantanal

Monday, March 15, 2010

What? Month 1 done already?

Month 1 done and done already! Insanity - considering we initially thought that we would just be in Brazil for 3 weeks, we‘ve got at least 4 more weeks left before we head out to Argentina…we think! I can’t believe it’s already been a month. So far so great. We’re still friends and getting along beautifully - although we probably know each other way too well by now!

We’ve made it to our 5th city in our 5th week (we are obviously taking our time and just enjoying all that Brazil has to offer - not to mention that it seems to take anywhere between 15-24 hours to get anywhere). We traveled inland to a national park called Lencois. It’s known for it’s great excursions and wonderful outdoor activities. In the last 3 days, we went:
  • Swimming in the Poco do Diabo Waterfall (unfortunate reason for why it’s called the Devil’s waterfall and it’s rather sad slave driven past)
  • Climbed a mountain, Morro do Pai Inacio, to see the views of the region
  • Swam in the 3rd clearest water in the world, Pratinha
  • Saw stalagmites and stalactites in a gigantic cave, Gruta Lapa Doce
  • Trekked through the mid-day heat to go down natural water slides!
  • Canoed across a mini-pantanal
  • Bushwhacked through a mountain
  • Lazed in natural pools
Lesson’s learned: Yuko is afraid of caves, we still haven’t acclimatized, and the definition of “light to moderate” for an excursion is not the same in North America. We have a different description for that. Cause when you start climbing trails that resemble the Grouse Grind, there is nothing easy about that! Ah, just another day in Brazil! It’s a different pace inland, definitely a different feel from the beach towns but it’s a great break from finding sand everywhere and in everything that you own!

Oh, we also have a new section we are calling…Dumblights:
  • Spot the Asian game: Unlike Vancouver, we are a complete anomaly here. So we’ve created - see who can spot the most Asians. You get a point for each one you see…I think we’re tied at 4 all - there’s only been about 8.
  • Guess our ethnicity conversation: For Yuko we get Chinese and occasionally Japanese. For me, I’ve had Puerto Rican, Argentinean, Brazilian and um, Black! Apparently, the tanning is coming along nicely…
  • Most ridiculous airport security award goes to Refice. They made us leave the secured zone and reenter only to end up at exactly the same gate we came from. Ugh.
After 5 airports, 5 buses and 5 cities - here are our Verdict to Date:

Salvador - Definitely more on the Afro culture. Beautiful with it’s historic center, awesomely crazy for Carnival but if you actually want to see something - go a different time. People - so/so looking. Party - definitely. Sites - Didn’t see all but pretty darn interesting once we actually found the UNESCO heritage site.

Fortaleza - Much bigger than we thought. But if we actually had a Lonely Planet maybe we’d have known that it‘s the 4th largest city. Fantastic cause of the friends we made. This was our first foray into Backpacking. We learned 3 things - 1. Shell out the money for AC. 2. Always have your own Toilet Paper and Towel. 3. Make great friends early cause you’ll keep seeing them in different places ;)

Jericoacoara - Awesome cause it was our first beach town. Great for chilling, day adventures and kite surfing but it would have been better if there was an ATM that you could pull money out! An entrepreneur’s dream - You had 2 options if you ran out of money - Go to a town about 20 kms away (but their machine was broken and apparently it was going to take a month to fix it - WTF) or go to super Mercado where they charged 10% for debit and 15% for credit cards! Craziness - I‘m still not over it. Had our best nites out with the friends that we made!

Pipa - Great cause Yuko discovered that she’s a Surfing Pro! I take back all my comments about her lack of athletic abilities. I was good, but she was ridiculously awesome. I keep telling her it’s cause of her short legs - but really, she’s a natural. The beaches were nicer and there’s suppose to be tons of dolphins and sea turtles but we weren’t so lucky. I had to swim out to a boat to see 3 of them - I lost 2 lbs just trying to swim back to shore. Had the best time with the boys, we’re officially half Israeli now. Toda.

Lencois - Small towns always have a unique charm about them. It’s beautiful and topographically really interesting with it’s waterfalls, caves, mountains, canyons and the varied landscape. Imagine BC but about 20 degrees hotter and more exotic. We did't even scratch the surface of all the activities you can do.

*Pics to follow...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Attempt at Pics #8

I really don't know if I have the patience to deal with this uploader...Perhaps as the trip continues I will discover a newer zen place. Right now, it's just frustrating not to be able to share what we want to be able to.

The monkey's right outside our Pousada in Pipa
Yuko discovering that she's a natural! Look out, she'll be the new face of Billabong soon!
My first Acai ;)
Playing Matkot in the beach.
On our way to becoming half Israeli. Sababa

Pictures now that we have Wifi! ;)

I'd add more but man Blogger is annoying when it comes to uploading pictures (I hate you uploader!!) Still, my stubborn ways are kicking in...just wanted to give you all a taste of the great times we've been having...

Yuko's Birthday celebration

Out at Planeta Jeri
Yuko making new friends! ;)

Apparently, this will not show in any particular order. Ugh.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Getting into the swing of traveling

Random thoughts of the moment:

It’s amazing how doing absolutely nothing but sitting on a bus (or multiple ones) can make you so tired. Like why is it that you just want to sleep and then when you arrive sleep again? It’s not like we drove the 23 hours to get here (and if you‘re wondering why we decided to go to Pipa - well, it‘s time to be a pro surfer now).

An hour is enough to really connect with a person but it takes on average about 3 days to form a real bond. The whole reason, season and lifetime quote on why people come into your life is completely resonating with us right now.

HL: We’re getting to experience moments of sheer contentment which washes over us in waves:
  • The first view of the ocean after walking in the heat for 5 minutes
  • The thrill of hearing a song we love to dance to
  • The blast of a cold air conditioned room after the sweltering sun
  • Playing in the ocean as a wave hits us
  • Having a profound conversation with someone about nothing at all
  • Traveling with other people and expanding each other’s horizons
  • Watching the stars and seeing the sun rise
  • Catching the last bus of the evening
  • Enjoying a Zen moment
  • Fresh juices (Yuko is addicted to fresh manga juice)
  • Israeli meals. Watching the cute young men cook for us!
  • Checking out the ripped bodies of men doing capoera on the beach
  • Yuko being athletic! She’s pulling out moves from grade 6 - Picture this: Yuko teaching Israeli boys how to dive and women how to Samba. She’s busted how some mad skills doing cart wheels, back dives and trying splits (and kinda hurt herself in the beach). Then things normalized when a friend tried to teach her how to surf…I can’t begin to tell you how funny it is to watch her just try to get on the board.
The Ugh Moments:
  • What is it about traveling that makes you so prone to random bruises, cuts, scars and mosquito bites (why oh why is my blood so sweet) ?
  • Saying bye to our new traveling friends
  • Feeling a bit out of shape cause of all the ripped bodies in beach (read above)
  • The men we meet keep getting younger and younger (this might be shifted to a pro rather than a con - we’ll keep you updated)
  • Dancing doesn’t start here until 2-3ish (in the morning!! We have not seen these many sunrises in forever)
  • Trying to rock the raccoon eye tan I’m getting (I have to wear shades when I’m out in the sun for the next 6 months cause of my eye surgery)
  • Brazilian hostel Nazi - It was the Seinfield of hostels. They were crazy strict and weirdly cultish with their odd limericks and ridiculous rules (all 15 posted on the doors). “No hostel for you!” and Obnoxious Pousada Dude - We haven‘t left this one yet so no details but he is freaking annoying.
  • Not yet acclimatizing - we're sweating. No amount of convincing about women "glowing" works when you drip doing absolutely nothing at all (however, this might get shifted to a Highlight if we keep losing weight)
  • Missing our friends and family (yes, we do think about you guys...)