This park consists of 1500 sq kilometres of rolling white dunes. Rain water forms crystal clear lakes between the sandy hills. The main town is Barreirinhas’ on a bend of the river Preguicas.
It took four hours the next morning to pick up all the people, and drive to Barreirinhas. El jefe, Amadeu, had told me that there were four foreigners on the tour! It was a German/ Brasilian family. Carla, the Brasilian/ German woman also spoke some English, which was great, as I had no idea what was going on most of the time! We were dropped off at our hotel in Barreirinhas, by the name of Belo Horizonte, and were free till two o’ clock. A walk into town, one street, a beer and hot chips, I found out that there was a jazz concert that night in the square. Fabulous! Life music!
At two o’clock there was lots of confusion of who should go where. In the end instead of sitting on the top of the truck I sat inside with Carla and her eldest daughter, Ellen. The 4×4 needed to be loaded onto a ferry, which was then pushed by a little boat to the other side! Fabulous. Our car played up at one stage, lots of rattling and screeching noises, nothing a lot of water in the radiator couldn’t fix! As soon as the radiator was filled up we went on our merry way! Slipping and sliding.
When we arrived at the desert we had to climb this enormous sand dune! So much for not having to walk with my crook knee! Quite steep! The view was amazing! Just a shame there were hundreds of other people doing the same thing on a Saturday afternoon! My Italian friends went for a four day hike, with a guide! How magical that would have been! Although walking in the sand dunes was certainly not easy. This sand dune desert is unusual as it has lakes every where.
Walter, Carla’s husband, explained that it was underground waters that filtered through into the desert. It was most certainly impressive. I sat down and swam for awhile, waiting for the big mob of people to disperse. Then I wandered of in a different direction, where it was possible to sit, watch and take photos. I was making large abstract paintings in my head, it was not easy tuning out other people, but I am practising silence in the market place, and I am getting quite good at it!
We watched the sunset from the top of the first hill and hundreds of people stood with their backs to this spectacular sight, just to get the perfect selfie, or social media shot. I left my iPad in my bag. I locked the picture in my head, and smiled at the antics of my most favourite “animal” on this earth, humans! (Human behaviour interests me enormous, and I should have gone on to do a Master’s in Social Science!) and lately I am more and more baffled, but still humoured, by some strange behaviours! First their backs to the sunset for the “perfect” shot, than the rest of the time is spend “watching these perfect shots”, meanwhile nature gives a free show of gigantic proportions, witnessed by a few die hards!!
Time to return in our wild west fourwheel drive! Wheelies on the way! By the time we arrived by the river, there was a huge traffic jam of tour vehicles needing to cross, so we were all let out, just in front of, yes, you guessed it! Souvenir shops, bottle shops and people selling food!! Ah, a cold beer! One of the people who crossed through the water to the boat, was bitten by a snake! There was a lot of screaming, while her guide told her it was not a poisonous snake! How could het Ell in the dark? The woman showed us the bite and her very swollen foot! According to her it was a cobra. I would have shat myself, but every body around me was rather blase about the whole thing! Another fabulous day! Mind you, I realise now that it would have been smarter to go on a longer, smaller, more private tour, but time and (by now) money, constrains made me choose a ” tourists packed tour”. These tour I normally avoid at all costs, but………..ah, choices!
Somehow I fell asleep after my wonderful, hot, shower! First one in a long, long time. My back has been giving me grief on top of the knee! It took me awhile to realise that this must be due to the fall I had two days ago! Shit, this body is getting old! Can’t even fall flat on my face without consequences! (No, I had NOT been drinking!) The back injury from Tanzania, flared up big time! Sigh. Luckily I had some Ibrufen left over. Two pills, a hot, hot shower, and NO jazz! ( which was a shame)
Something had caused a black out during the night. I woke up, pitch black, couldn’t find my bag, which had my headlight, stubbed my toe, swore a lot, and figured that something must have happened as even the aircon was no longer working. It was stinking hot in the room. Three o’clock in the morning, wide awake! Also noticed my gadget had not charged either. Great! Now what? This is when I take notes for my blobs, no working wifi, but I could take notes.
At seven it was breakfast time. I put the iPad on the charger, asked Carla to tell the owner about the ” black out” which only happened in my room! Ah, the Power of ONE! I enjoyed one of the bests breakfast yet! Lots of different fruits, fruit juices without sugar, fresh crispy bread rolls, eggs, cheese and ham. It was a magnificent spread. Four different types of cakes that needed trying! I ate too much, but as I only eat once a day again, it should keep me going till tomorrow’s brekky!
At 8.30 am there was our boat pick up. Fast and crazy ride along the Preguicas river. Lovely and early, first stop more sandy desert with lots of lakes. Here there were wind mills generating energy. It was like watching a silent ballet! I had learned from yesterday, to walk away as fast as I could! Along the shore of the river I walked fast to the furthest away sand dune! Climbed up and was rewarded with spectacular views across the desert! Without any people!! By now I have been working on a series of abstracts in my head, and I took photos with these compositions in my mind. Hope I can hang on to these images for another four weeks when I am able to paint again!
There was a bit of confusion, trying to find ” my” boat amongst the enormous quantity of moored boats!! They all looked alike! I should have taken notice of the name ” India”, but I didn’t! Last one on board. We went of to a little fishing village,a light house, and souvenir shops!! Lighthouse was not open, so no climbing up to see the view. There was a lot of alcohol for sale made out of cashew fruit! I regret not trying any of it! There is another interesting drink, no idea what it is called, but it is strong and has crabs or lobsters inside of the bottles! This baffled me, until I was told that the bottle is cut, animal preserved inside, bottle glued back together, decorative rope over the cut and voila! Delicious interesting drink, which I didn’t try either!
The third stop was Cabure beach along the Atlantic ocean.
I walked away from the crowd, who all went for lunch, walked to the beach, ordered a beer and enjoyed the scenery. By now my back was killing me, ibrofen not working fast enough, and a terrible headache. I seldom get headaches, so a shady spot, a hammock and quiet time, listening to the roaring waves. I met a lovely girl, Adriana, from São Paulo, now living in Belo Horizonte. We talked for quite awhile, as her English was excellent. Then going back early to find the boat, plenty of time, fell asleep waiting!
Another hot, hot shower, scrubbing all the sand of my body. My hair is a different matter! Dreadlocks are an enormous amount of work! Who would have thought?? Sand and water needs to be washed out, re rolled, let them dry, which I didn’t have time for! So wet and sandy hair, fell asleep in the bus on the way home. Ah, life it is just so amazing! I arrived back at my hostel just after ten o ‘clock and found a man in my bed! Oops! Prayers answered? There was NO staff on duty, until eleven o’clock that night! Shower, sleep until I was woken up by two screeching cats in the dormitory! The red tomcat was willing and able, the grey one wouldn’t have a bar of him. Great! Was having a marvellous dream. Michelle, my daughter, and I at a party in El Viajero! Colombian! Welcome to my life!