1. touko, 2017

A relaxing day in Brazil

We're making our way up north, along the Brazilian coastline of the Atlantic Ocean, following a bumpy highway, nicely framed by green palm trees. The oncoming traffic consists largely of older vehicles, the round nosed Mercedes trucks remind me of the ones I've seen in old Finnish documentaries. Horse riding and carriages also seem to be popular means of transport. Instead of a helmet, local riders protect their heads with black, felted berets. Housing here in the countryside is pretty modest, most residences are small, unpainted wooden hovels. Bright and colourful items of washing dance in the wind on the washing lines, bringing a splash of colour to the grey cottages.

For a few dozen kilometres, wide, water filled ditches follow the road on both sides. In them, we see capybaras, huge, brown haired, guineapig-like rodents, out for a swim. Their favourite food, water hyacinths, grow in the ditches too, blooming in tender tones of lilac. The signs for the speed limit also sport pictures of capybaras, and no wonder, since these 90kg heavy, worlds largest rodents, could easily cause a car to steer off the road upon impact. The ditches appeal to some birds too, ducks and waders in particular. Grey coloured southern screamers are paddling in the water, ruffling their feathers. It's hard to find anything elegant about the appearance of these, “half plucked” looking poor birds.

We turn off the main road and drive 14km of narrow, dusty, dirt track to the Lagoa do Peixe natural park. The shallow lake greets us, glimmering in the sunshine in lovely shades of blue. We're enjoying the peace and quiet of nature in here, amidst snowy egrets and black necked swans. There's a cattle herd in the water too, cooling off and paddling in the shallows. Brazil's meat production crisis doesn't seem to have affected these animals much.

Soon the scenery changes and huge white sand dunes appear in front of us. It would be easy to confuse this view for a desert, if it wasn't for the loud roar of the waves from behind the dunes. We get to the shoreline and see white sandy beaches reaching as far as our eyes can see, in both directions! Before we know it we're stretched out on our sun chairs, reading, writing and listening to the relentless sound of the waves. We go for an evening jog on the beach and come across a few carcasses of huge sea turtles, washed up on the beach. I wouldn't fancy bumping into a live one of these on one of my swimming trips, I reckon it'd scare the life out of me!

The place feels like a paradise and we mutually agree to stay here overnight, in nature, away from people, phones and internet connection. We can't imagine that any of the horror stories we've heard about armed robberies in Brazil could really apply this far out in the country. We spend a little while admiring the silvery reflection of the moon on the sea and fall asleep next to each other, grateful of all the nature experiences and relaxation today has brought.