Thursday, February 26, 2009

Paradise Found

My father-in-law stood on the deserted beach, breathing in the fresh air with his eyes closed, and said, "This, my dear, is Paradise."

And that first day, I believed him. Just LOOK at this place.

The sand is so fine it feels like silk and the ocean water is as warm as a bath.

It's not an easy place to get to. We drove for four hours, turning from one country road onto another, some barely marked, some unpaved and dusty, before arriving at a ferry crossing.

Vendors along the side of the road were selling refreshments to the people waiting to cross to the other side. Milha verde (green corn) seems to be a pretty popular snack in Brasil.

The ferry took us across a slow running river to the tiny town of Jureia (which I can't for the life of me find on a map). The town's cobbled streets soon turned to sand, and then suddenly we were driving on the beach!

It's the only way to access the homes that are located on this stretch of beach. Speed limit 40kph.

10 minutes later we found our turn off and finally arrived at the beach house.

I was pleasantly surprised! Electricity, running water, a flushing toilet. And screens! You don't come by screens very often in Brasil. It reminded me of the quirky beach houses my family used to rent along the Oregon coast while I was growing up.

It was nothing at all like my MIL described. My BIL and his wife had it pretty decked out, actually. With bikes, fans, a radio (that blasted Top 40 the whole time we were there- kind of surreal to be out in the middle of nowhere with Jason Mraz and Rhianna) and boogie boards.

During our four days there, we spent a lot of time laying in hammocks (which are very easy to get into, but not as easy to get up out of), eating massive amounts of food, and, of course, lazing on the beach.

There were two ways to get to the beach from the house. The first was by the road.

Past the house that sells honey...

Down the road...

And onto the beach!

The second way was by a path that lead through the mangrove swamp.

Through the trees...

Past the clubhouse (where the locals gather to play music and drink)...

Over a bridge...

Through a small cluster of houses...

And onto the beach.

I had an amazing time. But paradise it was not. At least not for me. Not with the monstrous mosquitoes and biting flies. Gabi and I are still covered in red, itchy bumps.

The highlight of the trip was getting to go into Jureia on Sunday night for Carnaval! It was only small town style, but sometimes I think that's the best way to experience things. They had the main street blocked off, with booths along the side selling silly string and flashing neon headbands.

After three beers I joined a conga line! And Gabi danced the night away with the best of them. Samba is most definitely in her blood.

The parade kicked off at about 11:00. Lots of small groups were dressed in different themes, and it was so cool to see all the costumes. Best of all, a naked transvestite with a boob job brought up the rear, right in front of the truck carrying the band and singers.

We left on Tuesday, a day early, because a storm came through, and what's the point of staying at the beach if you can't be on it?

We left in the middle of a downpour, barely able to see out of the windows. The tide was really too high for us to have left. We had to drive fast enough not to sink into the wet sand, and slow enough not to run over the driftwood that had washed up on shore. It was actually pretty scary for a while, especially after a large wave came out of nowhere and hit the car, but we made it off the beach alive!

I hope I get the chance to go back someday. With lots of bug spray. And maybe without my FIL's speedo (called a sunga), which he walked around in all day long, for four days straight. I'd really rather not experience that again.


  1. Actually Laural, it's not sanga, it's sunga! hahaha!! And it's so common here, they just don't want get sun burn with shorts! I was tried to talk Kyle into wear one, but no luck until today! :)

    And you gotta see pictures of Chapada Diamantina, that's real paradise to me!


  2. oh, that sounds AWESOME.

    without the mutant bugs and sunga, of course. ;-)

  3. Lovely pictures!
    We´ve just had an amazing snowstorm, it lasted a whole week!
    After that it suddenly turned cold, down to -29 C.
    Snow pics here:


  4. That sounds so lovely! Barring the evil bugs, of course. :p

  5. Hi Laura
    You are so funny about your FIL's me where we live it is a daily appearance. You will not be able to escape that! hahaha
    Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope to see you back there!
    I plan on following yours....good luck with the rest of the trip. When do you return? do you speak Portuguese?

  6. I'm totally loving this virtual tour of Brazil! I so want to go!

  7. hate to break it to you - but it looks to me like the red itchy bites are totally worth it!!

    beautiful friend :)

  8. SO BEAUTIFUL. I'm loving this virtual tour myself girl.

  9. Umm...this reminded you of Oregon? Girl, you have forgotten Oregon. It's beautiful, yes, but nothing like that!!
    Sounds like you had a fantastic time! Hope the itchies go away soon.

  10. What, next time you want him to go WITHOUT the speedo?!? :)

    I was going to say that I was more jealous of you than ever before, seeing these photos, but then you mentioned the mosquitoes. I'm allergic to mosquitoes. I would have been swooning. So I'm happy to just be here, swooning over the photos. ;)

  11. Trying not to be jealous... trying not to be jealous... trying not to be jealous... ;)

    I love that you are in Brasil (Brazil?) and that you are enjoying yourself so much. I couldn't be happier for you!


  12. at least your man likes board shorts

  13. Beautiful place... but the mosquitoes experience would drive me crazy! and I am Brazilian! I think after a while living abroad we are not immune to mosquitoes anymore! LOL

  14. Beautiful place, yes... but I don't think I could've handled huge mosquitos!

  15. Glad you made it out! lol. I'd soooo love to live in a place where my road dead ends into a beach! But I'd definately need screens! lol. I'm not one for bugs, even little ones. ((shudder))

  16. Incredible! What an experience!!

  17. Lovely beach! lol at your FIL in a speedo. I don't think I could take my fil seriously in one of those. Glad you had fun. OH and a wave hit the car?? scary! Glad you made it out safely too.


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