Me Embracing the World

Me Embracing the World

Friday, March 23, 2007

Camping on the Beach (Florianópolis, Brasil)

And with that, I finally got my act together, bought a bus ticket to Brasil and goodbye city, hello Beaches!

(This is a continuation of the previous entry since it all seemed too long to put in one entry)

Looking forward... I find myself now in Florianópolis, Brasil, 2 hours before my bus leaves to Rio where I plan to see old friends again and study Samba. In Rio, I had been talking with Mikhael (From Ihouse) about spliting up the 50 hours of Bus to Rio with a stop over in Florianópolis, a small capital (300,000 pessoas) surrounded by beautiful tranquil beaches. After a 26 hour bus ride (which I splurged for Cama and slept the whole way, Best Bus ever), I arrived into Floripa. My first victory was just the fact that the let me into the country! I had a visa from my visit about a year ago, and it technically said that it was good for 5 years, but I still wasn´t sure that I would be allowed in until we were past that border and eating Feijão (beans) and rice. Oh how I´ve missed beans! For some reason, they just didn´t eat them anywhere I went on the trip, but a big serving of feijão is essential to any brazilian meal. I think it´ll be the same in Guatemala, so I have beans to look forward to for the rest of my travels...

Anyways, on the vaguge directions provided by Mikhael (Praia Moçambique, Gingi Birra Camping) I headed out from Floripa onto the Ilha Santa Catarina at around 4 pm. Hopping on a croweded bus, and transfering to another, I squished up against the normal passengers with all my big bags and guitar. Towards the end of the bus line, I realized that Praia Moçambique is 18km long and no one had heard of Gingi Birra (Gin Gee Bee Hah). Someone thought they knew and told me to get off at the last stop. I did as I was told and found myself alone on the road in the middle of who knows where brasil, looking for a campground that no one had heard of. I walk a hundread kilometers up the road and found A camping, with a nice family living in a little house out front.

Vos hablas español?
Não.... um pequinho...

At this point I went about my best trying to explain myself in my broken portugese that I had picked up on the bus reading an XMen comic book :), where I found out that I can more or less actually read Portugese, which was a bit of a pleaseant suprise. Its also where I came across the great realization that the majority of Brazilians can more or less understand spanish, even if I struggle to comprehend what they say back to me. Its all just crazy beautiful pronunciantion.

Anyways, just as I found out that they had never heard of Gingi Birra, a torrential downpour suddenly came out of nowhere as I ran around front just to keep myself from getting soaked. At this point I didn´t know what to do. Before it started pouring I figured I was just going to put up my sleeping bag and sleep the night, find Mikhael tomorrow. But when it started pouring, and it started getting dark, I realized I need a roof, and for this I needed a Pousada. The people at the campground were so nice, that they all got together and found out where Gingi Birra actually was. They even offered to drive me there. With the rain pouring like nobodys business I accepted the offer. The only problem is that the person that was nice enough to drive me was deaf! I figured he knew where he was going, but I soon found out he was expecting me to know! I tried my best to communicate with him, but the double barrier of understand deaf speak portugese was just too much for me. I had him drop me off a local pousada, where I would have stayed the night, but ironically, they knew where Gingi Birra was and offered to drive me around the corner to it.

Now when I thought camping, I was thinking trees, campfire, maybe a spot on the beach, but Gingi Birra was really just a patch of grass with a concrete floor and a protective overhang in someones backyard in the town of Rio Velhmo. To my relief, and his suprise, I got out of the car to see Mikhael just sitting there, totally not expecting me to show up this late. As I got my bags out the car, I realized that he wasn´t sitting there, but actually managing a small horde of misbehaving children who where consumed with some sort anger I couldn´t explain. Mikhael had set up his tent on the concrete and hung a giant hammock from the cross beam. I was just happy to finally arrive.

The spot was my home for the next two days, as Mikhael shared his tent and walked to the beach each day. In exchange for the basic accomadation we got a beautiful 10 minute walk to the beach, through town, a marsh, past ´watch out, killer bees´ signs, through a pine forrest, and emerging to a pristine virgin 18 km white sand beach with downright BIG waves. I went for a dip, relaxed in the sand, watched the crabs walk by, and enjoyed the realization of a whole different style of life that I could be living.

As tranquil as the beach was, life back at the camp was just as interesting. So the 4 kids that were so upset (ranging from 5-10 years old), were having to face the fact that there mother just got arrested for traffiking drugs a few days ago and would be in prison for the next 5 years. These wild children were the only ones in the camp the first day because the father, who said he would be back at 4pm, wasn´t back till 4am, was, in lue of having anyway to support the kids, was out trying to score some hashish which he could sell. He took the 14yr son of his wife with him. The family was living in the campground while the father was trying to put together some way of supporting them. We all lived together like one big interesting family for a few days.

Also interesting enough, I managed to calm them down that first day with a little guitar and beatboxing. There was one kid in paticular who took to the beatboxing in serious way. He totally had rythem at his age that only comes from just banging on everything you see and dancing all the time, you know, brazilian. Anyways, while at times I think they were on the verge of driving me crazy, I really enjoyed getting to know this crazy mixed up family living on the verge of or below the poverty line. We even got together and cooked a Churrasco (Brazilian Asado) the last night, which the kids ate for breakfast. They also had two dogs who were always so hungry, because in a family where they´res only enough food to feed the 5 children, they only got the scraps of what was left. Plus the kids would always just go up to them and kick them and hit them, because thats what the dad did when they were poking their nose where it shouldn´t be. There was also a punching bag in the campground, that the dad liked hitting alot, and when he did, he would grit his teeth and his face would get red, and you could just see the frustration and anger coming out.

It was just a temporary stopover here in Florianopolis, and I was supposed to take an 18 hour bus yesterday, but I got sick and decided to stay a night in the city and take care of myself. It was just a cold, but I´m feeling better now. Truth be told, I´d like to stay another day here, just for the fun of it, but I already bought my ticket, and I missed the deadline to push it back while writing these two massive entries :). Oh well! Rio awaits... and my bus leaves in an hour, so I gotta get outta here!

Chao amigos!! All the best to everyone and I hope to talk to you all soon!


Jerome said...


Shirley said...

incredible (pronounced in Spanish)! What an amazing trip, Jesse! It really is a journey of the soul--each new adventure pours you into another way of life and invites/forces you to grow new parts of yourself. So wonderful to follow along with you--thanks for keeping up the blog!