Tag: São Luis

Lencois Maranhensen, a desert adventure.

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)

Cashew fruit. Didn’t know these nuts were a fruit!

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!

São Luis, the next adventure!

Nico and I

The bus ride was comfortable, long and very, very cold. There could be a reason WHY the drivers turn the buses into freezers, but I have yet to discover what this can be! It was the same at the Belem hostel, the temperature for the dorm was set at seventeen! You just freeze at that, twenty five or twenty three is more than enough. Nico and I shared a cab to the hostel, which is way out of the old city. What a shame. We caught up with Soren, the German guy, who spends most of his time on his apple laptop, so I am assuming he works while travelling! That would be just ideal!! Kate, the girl from New Zealand was there too. They had not yet booked their trip, but they’re going to catch the four o’clock bus to Barreirinhas.

Thanks, but no thanks. I am not getting up at four after just spending over thirteen hours on a bus! Plus I have decided that it is better to do a one day tour. The hostel is way out of the old town. In the afternoon Nico, Kate and I caught the local bus to the historical centre. (Soren had to work!) The old town is not large, but fascinating. We walked around, visited some souvenir shops, and the others needed to go back much too soon for my liking! Before we reached the hostel, the bus stopped and we were sort of kicked of, onto another bus, the trip back took incredibly long. Kate went on and on complaining about this, and everything else what is wrong with South America.

I get this, when one travel a long time, one can get tired, this means you need to move on. But Nico had just arrived from France after three weeks on a cargo boat and everything delighted and fascinated him. (If Kate said one more time ” oh, but you just got here, give it time” , I swear I was going to slug her one!) That evening we all walked to the beach to watch the sunset. For one reason or other I tripped over and fell smack bang flat on my face! I had forgotten to put on my shoes and was wearing my thongs! ( flip flops for the foreigners reading this!) Beside a few dents to the ego, no damage was done, (I thought.)

Rasta mseum

We all had a few beers, watched the sunset, the others had something to eat. I am cutting back as I am going back onto a strict KETO lifestyle, when I get back home. The first step, cut out the lovely Brasilian white, crispy bread rolls. I don’t eat them a lot, but still too often for my liking! My right hand has become my KETO indicator! When ever I over indulge, (and YES I do, I AM on holidays you know, cake for breakfast, my favourite!) The right hand starts to play up, closing it causes pain. I fix this with a twenty four hour fast and get back on track. Of course the daily beers don’t help either, but I am back to one a day!)

The next morning the bus picked the young ones up at eight! So much for an early start! After a leisurely breakfast it was too overcast to go to the beach. I caught the bus into the historical centre. Oh, what a delight, to wander by myself, into little alley ways, climb the stairways, walk into galleries, shops and musea at my own speed. It was an immense pleasure. Finally I came back to the tourist information centre, where the only person speaking English or Spanish was very busy. (I can understand Portuguese, but I can’t speak it, only Spanglish comes out of my mouth).

Beer time, while waiting for this woman to find time. I passed an hour watching people go to and fro, only to find out that the tourist information woman now had gone for lunch! I had hoped to discuss a few tour options. As luck would have it there was a travel agency right next door. Due to the very poor wifi at the hostel, I had not gotten very far in my search for flights south, and the main one, a flight to Santiago de Chile, for my return home! The wonderful owner, Amadeu, spoke awesome English, and before I knew it, I had booked and paid for my flight to Chile, and a flight to Belo Horizonte ( five times more expensive!)

It is possible, in Australia, to get a flight pass for Brasil. The problem here is that you need to know your days and cities that you want to visit, more than six months in advance! I find this impossible, and I find it hard enough, when a flight is booked, that I NEED to be there, and miss out on other things on the way. Anyway, two flights all done and dusted in fifteen minutes!

Just before I left I asked if he did know of an agency that would do tours to the desert. Of course his agency did!! Except, oops, four people had not shown up, and there was nobody for a day tour! ( minimum of four people required, always) Ah, well, you can’t win them all. It was obviously not meant to be. So be it! Life goes on. I walked to the palace of the lions, where a delightful young woman, Julia, guided me through the five rooms with excellent English! All musea, galleries are free! This impresses me greatly! Also the tour was free. She showed me a tapestry, made by a Moroccan/ Brasilian woman, which was stunning! ( I wrote down her name somewhere! Can’t find it!)

Later that wonderful day I caught the bus back. I wanted to go for a long beach walk. I snoozed on the bus, suddenly woke up, thought I recognised the gourmet supermarket behind our hostel, and got off the bus! Of course, there are more then just ONE gourmet supermarket and this wasn’t the one remotely near my hostel. Oops! Now what? Trying to ask people where the hostel’s street was, was a waste of energy. It gets dark here rather fast. As soon as the sun sets, the dark rolls in. Great. I am somewhere, it is getting dark and I have NO idea where the hell I am! Welcome to my world!

Suddenly there was a car beeping! As I looked up, this man is waving at me madly! Great! Now I am lost in the dark with a lunatic on the loose! Until he called my name! It was the owner of the travel agency! All exited! As I hopped into his car, he told me he had been thinking of me all afternoon! ( yeah, I know, I have this effect on people! Poor man!) he had found four people for a two day tour, but as I had left NO phone number, nor contact details, nor my hotel’s address, he had NO WAY of letting me know! He was beside himself! He had recognised my dress at the bus stop where I was asking people where I should go!! Now to me this is Serendipity, a meaningful coincidence! (Happens to me! A LOT!!!)

So as he is dropping my off, we are arranging the tour for tomorrow. Great, need to pack and store my bag! All very exiting! So the adventures continue! Ah, I just LOVE my LIFE!

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén