Sunday, February 20, 2011

Paraty and Trindade - Beach and Rainforest Paradise

Highlights of Paraty (which seems so long ago now) included going on a 4wd tour - where we visited 3 waterfalls and some chucasa distilleries. Chucasa (not sure on spelling) is an alcohol made from fermented sugar cane with fruit, chocolate or honey added for flavouring and is served straight - with a 33%(ish) alcohol content it really puts hairs on your chest. As we are all about experiencing local culture we of course had to sample many of these chucasas haha. At the first place we went to we were really spun out by the two 10-12year old girls who were our bar tenders - it seemed so wrong being served 33% alcohol people so young! They were real characters though and gave us a good giggle. The waterfalls were amazing. One of them is like a natural water slide so we had lots of fun hurtling down it into the water. We thought we were brave enough going down the waterfalls sitting down, but we witnessed all the (fearless) local kids/teens sliding down standing up - doing 360° turns and other tricks all the way down - incredible to watch! What a way to grow up!!  The other highlight of that day was discovering that the butterflies and the waterfalls were very friendly - and that you can pick them up!!!

Last Sunday we went on a pirate ship cruise around paraty´s islands with some Argentinians that we met the night before. It was an amazing day of swimming in beautiful clear water, laying on beaches and listening to live music on the boat. I have been trying to conquer my fear of jumping off things into water (note mother: only clear deep water - not rock pools), so i decided that it would be a great idea for BB and I to jump off the second story of the boat - so scary but worth it!

It is so beautiful to bear witness to the sense of community in Paraty. We went on a day trip to some waterfalls and on the way there the driver must have said hi/stopped and talked/waved to about every 2nd person we passed. So many radiant smiles and loving, happy vibes being shared - magic.

When we decided on this trip we constantly had people telling us how dangerous Brazil is. While it is true that there are a very very small amount of people looking for open opportunities to do wrong by you, this is not true for the other 99% of the population. The whole time we´ve spent in Trindade and Paraty we have been leaving our bags (containing cameras, wallets etc) beside waterfalls or on the beach while we go in and swim and we never had a problem. The only time anyone touched our stuff is when we left it too close to the water on the beach (stupid gringos) and they moved them further back for us. While i know that one needs to be careful, I think that it is far too easy to get caught up in the negatives displayed by the very few and in doing so - forgetting or completely neglecting to see how much good there actually is in a place. It is also interesting to note that of all the people who told me how dangerous Brazil would be - I cannot think of one who had actually been here.

We have also been amazed by the patience shown towards foreigners (and our lack of Portuguese language skills). I feel that in Australia you definitely don´t see this and that it´s something we should really aspire for. Being on the other side of the equation w have really appreciated people genuinely trying to help us, even when we have no common language at all.

Our time in Trindade was spent hiking, swimming and drinking in equal parts - with some sleep in there for good measure. Our typical day consisted of: Wake up at 10 am and eat free breakfast. Go for a hike through the rainforest's and beaches to go swim in waterfalls and the ocean all day. Come home around 5 or 6. Drink and chat with people at the hostel. Go out at midnight when the hostel closes go out drinking at the beach bars until about 4am. Go home and sleep. Wash, rinse, repeat. 6 days later we really didn´t want to leave - once i get to a place where i can upload photos you will see why!  Hilarious memories include going to the local ´pool hall´ (read two pool tables in some ones garage) and attempting to learn how to play the Brazilian version of pool (which has no black ball) through the use of sign language and us speaking lots of English and them speaking lots of Portuguese - soooo many laughs from all parties involved. We are definitely loving and embracing the Brazillian attitude towards body image, every body is beautiful and should be shown! Standard hiking gear in Trindade consisted of a bikini, backpack and if you were feeling flashy - flipflops (thongs). It just makes sence when its ridiculously hot and you´re jumping in the ocean or waterfalls every 30 minutes!

The hostel we stayed at (Kaissara) was the best so far. It was in an amazing location and George the owner would take us out to waterfalls and show us all the cool things to do there - such as hiding in caves behind waterfalls and taking secret passages through waterfalls to under rocks - good disappearing trick. One day he took us out on a boat to lots of hidden beaches and we had a (very late) lunch at a tiny tiny town called ponta negra - the town doesn´t have any power and the only way to access it is by hiking for a few hours or by boat. It was great watching the kids tearing around on the beach, playing soccer and having fun - living it up in their paradise home!

I would definitely recommend that hostel to anyone - such a good homey environment. On our last night there we had ´Caprihina Friday´, with 3 Reis for all you can drink caprihinas - needless to say the whole hostel was VERY happy (read drunk) by the time they ran out. Caprihinas are the drink of choice in Brazil - they consist of muddled lime, sugar, ice and pinga (sugar cane alcohol). The first time we tried them it was like we had been punched in the brain - however we have soon come to love them. It was also great to have a technology free week! I think i~m definitely going to have more of those!

We are now back in Paraty having an organising day before heading off to Ilha Grande on Monday. As much as we loved Paraty when we got here the first time - Trindade has definitely spoiled us and now we just want to get back to hiking and swimming all day - missing the rainforest's already!! (maybe not the mosquito's though!!!) 
Too many amazing fun happy times to write about so I will stop here - but will add pics when we have better internet - I SWEAR!!!

Paradise in Trindade

Holding a butterfly!!!

These young girls got us quite drunk!

sliding down waterfalls

more paradise

waterfall massage

jurrasic landscape

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