August 21, 2004 GMT
Brasil... The novela continues..

Just as i thought! I didn't go north.
.."Brasil has so many fine beaches why make a 1500km return trip to Natal?"...
hmm it was a decision i would come to regret.

So there i was in Porto Seguro walking back to the hotel one night when the heavens opened. Drenched to the bone in 2 seconds. Why run? Wet is wet so I stood under a 4 inch drain pipe; all that was missing was a bar of soap -it was the most powerful shower i'd had in 12 months!
P.Seguro 'wasn't me' so i took the ferry across the river to Arrial d'Ajuda, supposedly a 'hippy' spot.
I'd read that there was a nice 3 hour walk along the beach to the village of Trancoso, aye aye aye it took nearly 6 hours.
I was walking like a soldier over the 'cornmeal' sand, it was like walking on glass. I sprouted 2 blisters.
Climbing over rocky points in flip flops was insane but barefooted i cut myself. Crikey. And of course, me being me, i missed putting suncream on a spot or two... fried my toes and along the outside edges of my feet. Tsk.

But I fell in love with Trancoso. It's a shotgun town; a long rectangle. The road leads to the Quadrado, the Quadrado leads to the historic church (1656), behind the church is a green leading to the cliff over the beaches.
The Quadrado is lined on both sides with rows of small, multi coloured, single story, wooden houses. The green space in between is alternately used for football, capoeira practise, horse grazing and processions/fiestas.
Although bus loads of day trippers come through and there are boutiques and restaurants popping up in the Quadrado houses, Trancoso still retains it's tranquil vibe.
I had my first puncture of the trip in Trancoso. Why is it you end up checking the tyres after you've togged up? Rear tyre looked pretty low, low?.. ha! couldn't even get a pressure reading!
I had the wheel off readying to finally see if the repair patches and glue still actually worked (god only knows how old they are) when i thought..
...what the heck am i doing?...
I checked back into my room and went to the beach...
No, I put the wheel back on and road it over to the borracheiro - the rubber man -why not let him do it for a dollar...then i went to the beach.

My last stop in the state of Bahia was in the fishing village Barra de Caravelas. Jumping off point for whale watching in the Marine Nat'l Park.
Zeca, the owner of Pousada Jaquita, is an english teacher in the Caravelas highschool. He thought it would be a good idea if i gave a talk about my trip to his students.
We found a map of the Americas and hung it in the lecture hall. Some of the lads dragged their chairs to the very front to get a good look -- not at the map!
I think we were all a bit shy to use our new languages so Zeca did the translating for us. It was fun.
Back in Barra i discovered another hole in the rad hose. Just taped it this time and see how she goes.

In the next state, Espirito Santo, i took a side trip to Santa Teresa. The german and suisse settlers definitely left their marks; blue eyes and light hair, i expected to hear german spoken not portugese.
The town has a park and museum dedicated to the 'life works' of environmentalist Augusto Ruschi, born here in 1915. (How many rooms of stuffed birds and mamals have i been in on this trip??) What better way to spend my birthday.
Most memorable was watching the amazing variety of hummingbirds around the feeders hung on the porch of the museum's library. It was a big "Vancouver style" porch with a high stone base, big wooden pillars and open air sides and front. The feeders hung on either side.
The hummers were in an absolute frenzy. I sat in the middle of the porch and was nearly hit a couple of times in their passes across the porch, chasing one another away from the feeders. Addicts.
The seed eaters were getting in on the action too, popping over from the bushes for a quick drink. I wonder if eventually, in their desire for more than a brief taste, they will evolve to become better hoverers?

When i got to the state capital, Vitoria, i shopped.
Whilst sitting in the mall opposite a bikini boutique -eating chocolate cake accompanied by an espresso with milk- i decided i needed a new bathing suit. Mine was an embarrassment flapping in the wind and being left behind in the surf!
I finally found a decent dictionary, discovered a great Arab food self serve, then bought the sundries that i really needed like soap, razors, conditioner and of course a rear tyre.
I got a good deal on a Michelin Serac from the Suzuki shop - imported from Europe ooh lala. $85 USd. Not that there was anything wrong with the $60 brasilian Pirelli. It had more than 12,000km on it.
I popped around the corner to Street Bike Shopping. Lots of trophys on show and fotos of the owner with Rossi, Barros, Biaggi, Barichello etc...
As usual one of the customers spoke english, Carlos invited me to join them at the other shop for their weekly churrasco night and watch video of the weekends' racing.
They call themselves Equipe No Limits, a group of friends who go for a saturday ride into the hills on Fireblades and Hyabusas going at least 200 km/h. One of the group represented Brasil in the Suzuki World Cup in Monaco and at the time there wasn't even a race track in Vitoria! Now they have a dinky 1.5km track but still do the saturday run in the hills.

I extended my visa (3 more months) in the Policia Federal. Fast and cheap; 90 minutes and 7 dollars. Then across town to the Aduana in the Ministerio da Fazenda to extend the bike papers; not even half an hour and free. Right on.
I moved out of my seedy, flooding, downtown hotel to a pousada near the beach on the Vila Velha side of the bay. For the same price it included a much better breakfast and a t.v. in the room (i must confess i was missing MTV and my novelas = soap operas).
Crossing the 3rd bridge over the bay for the first time was a frightful ride in strong gusting winds. The bridge is 73m high and it curves at the top. Very cool. The warning sign is a palm tree bending in half.
Wet days at the beach watching the after school boogie board classes.
Carlos said this weather was up from Patagonia and would be getting worse. Oh brother how i wished i'd have gone to Natal.
So you know what i did...i bought a flight to Natal! Why the heck not.
The friendly folks at Honda took my bike. They disconnected the battery, drained the float bowls then put it on a lift to the mezzanine out of the way. Free of charge thankyou very much.

The flight to Natal was a milk run with 3 landings, yeeha.
Included in the price of the flight was 2 nights swanky accomodation, a city tour and a dune buggy ride in Genipabu where the dunes come down to meet the ocean.
Beleza.


Genipabu dune.JPG


I met 2 sisters from Rio and went to an evening "show" but i had to keep leaving the table to check on the progress of the oh so orange Total Lunar Eclipse! My second one on this trip. Unfortunately i had no idea it was happening or i would have made sure i was out of the city.
Anyway the girls had arranged for a 'guide' to drive us around the next day to take in the sights down the coast. The highlight was a visit to Pirangi do Norte home to the world's largest cashew tree. 92 yrs old this tree covers an area of 7,300 sq/m. The equivilant of 70 cashew trees.
After a late lunch in Praia da Pipa they drove back to Natal leaving me, as i had planned, in Pipa. I took a room at the restaurant then scouted the town that evening for where i would like to settle in.
Nearly everyday i went out to the beach Praia dos Golfinhos, and nearly everyday i saw dolphins (golfinhos) playing in the surf. Magic.
Time melted away.
I met so many nice people. They come to Pipa from all over Brasil, mostly the south, to work, set up businesses, sell jewlery or just chill. A lot of european holiday makers too, mostly from Sweden and Italy. And of course the people actually born in Pipa!
Los Tres Amigos came through Pipa. A group of mexicans: Jose on a Varadero, Antonio on an Africa Twin and Joaquin on an 1150 G/s adv. I had been in email contact with Joaquin through Chris and Erin Ratay (www.ultimatejourney.com) so when the Amigos finalized their plans to come to Brasil i requested a chain and sprocket set, which they dropped off in Pipa for me. Saludos amigos!


Los 3 Amigos.JPG

Time flies, my month in Pipa was up. My new friends thought i should stay until february when my visa runs out, a great idea but i was missing the pony and the road.
And i was turning into a cashew i was eating so many.

Back in Vitoria i popped into the video/churrasco night at Street Bike where Carlos gave me his next weather prediction... he said that every 10 or 12 years there is a summer which has very bad rains and this was turning out to be one of those years. He recommended i shouldn't go south yet, Sao Paulo was flooding -everywhere was flooding- and there were lots of landslides! After christmas would be better.
Vitoria was cold, low 20's, and wet.
I high-tailed it back to Trancoso and bartered a wicked 2 week deal for a room in a pousada on the beach.
Prices went sky high for new year, everywhere wanted 10x more! So i did 3 weeks in the tent.
Camping Quadrado has lots of shade but you risk being bombed from on high by huge fruits -some the size of your computer monitor- and by massive air plants crashing down in the wind.
..there goes another month..
Beach life; walking, sleeping -full sun or full shade, swimming, body surfing, live music sunday afternoons at Pe na Praia, eating skewers of cheese w/ herbs roasted on a tin can brazier, or as a 'treat' go to a barraca for a cold beer and a plate of Carne de sol with Macaxeira frita -sundried beef with fried yucca.
Night life; watch capoeira practise, comida por kilo, drum sessions on the Quadrado, Loucos Bar reggae and forro play snooker, armadillos messing in the bathroom, hammaca and coconut on the beach, gasoline thieves, ... here comes 2004.

I had been keeping an eye on the oil weeping from the waterpump telling me the seals were going. There was real panic when the consistency changed to a milky ooze... e-mails were flying.
Chris, Al and Ed thanks for all the advise. I know it's hard to give from thousands of miles away and i'm sure i made it sound terribly desperate.
I liked Al's extreme-case-scenario to get me back to Vitoria: do an oil change every 50 miles. Makes sense. I did an oil change, just the one.
Meanwhile good ol' Clark back in Kansas was organizing to send me a repair kit with the seals and impeller shaft. BMW had the kits in Rio but brasilian import tax made them US$112. mmm
The bike limped out of Trancoso weeping milky oil, the throttle wouldn't close itself (after a hard dump in the sand) and on the way to Vitoria the rear mud/chain guard committed suicide and rubbed to hell on the tyre and chain. I believe this was caused by the shock absorber finally starting to give out.
Anyway...
Thanks to a handy hint from Ed Sulivan the throttle was fixed with just a washer.

I was kidnapped by a moto clube in Macae -


club pin.jpg


moto clube Macae.JPG

They put me in a hotel on the bay front. I had to stay two nights because the weekly meeting was the following night. Ailton, the president, came by on his Harley and i followed him over to another beach. It was a bit drizzly so not too many on bikes but a good turn out, even a couple from Texas now living in Macae.
Next day Ailton arranged for the Yamaha shop to fit my new chain and sprockets. In the meanwhile Andre and Nana took me out for a churrasco lunch.

Music and passion...
...are always in fashion at the copa.. copa cabannnna... la la la lets
fall in lovvvvve Oh crikey, Barry friggin Manilow, yeah i finally made it to Rio!!

image


Came in on sunday to a very quiet city, even stopped on the big bridge for a quick foto.
I loved my neighbourhood - Catete. All of Rio is lovely. A mix of colonial and modern with art deco and favela in between.
From Catete it is an easy walk to Lapa, a so called "dodgy" area. It is an inner city neighbourhood renoun for its dance houses; samba, choro, hiphop and forro. Through the Arches you'll find the Clube dos Democraticos (founded 1867 the oldest carnavalesca societies of Brasil) there is a great dance hall on the second floor, cheap beer and live music. You'll also find a palace of a pool hall down one of those streets.
One night we popped into an open-air-warehouse to watch a "bloco" practising for Carnaval. Someone gave us a song sheet and we tried our best to keep up in the riot of drums.

There was quite a wait for the seal kit... FedX failed to put the 'way bill' in, so it went back to the states. Then the parcel sat in Rio because the number was missing in the address; i guess the hotel name, street name, district and post code just wasn't enough to go on.
In the meantime the shock went away to have it's valve renewed...?... or something like that! So i had some afternoons chatting with Sergio and his customers at the Autokraft BMW.
The seals were done and i had to make fast tracks to the border - time was ticking on my visa.
A rainy run to Foz do Iguacu but thankfully the sun came out for my visit to the falls.
It took my breath away, it is the most awesome natural wonder i have seen. There are so many rainbows it's just amazing, you are literally walking through rainbows. Over the river there was a near-complete-circular rainbow.


Foz do Iguacu.jpg


I crossed the border on the very last day of my visa. tchau tchau ate o proximo vez. um beijo.


{well i'd just like to say sorry for taking such a long time to get this chapter out, hopefully worth the wait.
It got a bit rambling but you wouldn't believe the stuff i left out!}
-jo


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith at August 21, 2004 11:00 PM GMT
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