If I were to describe Brazil with color it would be with royal blues, bright reds, deep greens, and neon yellow. There's a vibrance in Brazil - you feel it in the way people rapidly speak, their hands flying in fast gestures. Music is heard everywhere as if the people moved to a constant beat. I always wanted to see the coast of Brazil. Aqua waters on one side, brilliant green jungles on the other. Ubatuba, Brazil, a little known surfer town south of Rio de Janeiro was where I spent four days, well actually two since I had to spend a day driving down and back from Rio.
Ubatuba is known for its beaches and I was there during New Years or Revellon as the Brazilians call it. The first beach Phrai Grande was packed with families taking in the beautiful weather over the holiday. The second beach was just as crowded with cabanas where families played together in the water or many played instruments. I fell into the beat taking in the wildness of the party, and the warmth of the water as I played in the waves. The one thing about Brazilians, though in the states we think of thong bikinis on tight bodies, there's a comfort in their own skin; overweight, eighty-year-old or super thin they wear bikinis with pride.
At the third beach, Phrai Verhmillia I found peace. Here surfers enjoy perfect sets of waves as others play volleyball on the long stretch of white beach. At this point if your a man you might want to skip the rest of this paragraph, but ladies this is for you. The men of Brazil are hot on this beach. Strong shoulders from surfing, tight abs from playing volleyball. And what's a woman to do but take in the beauty of the scenery.
I stayed in a place called Sape Art with my host Gabriel. I booked the place through www.airbnb.com where people can rent out rooms in their homes to travelers. Gabriel's smile seemed to beam straight from his heart. His mother cooked up beautiful breakfasts with fresh fruit and juice. Rebecca took care of me, making certain my car was filled with gas, my directions were correct, and the oil in my car was checked. Though the room was stark, the showers cold (it's so hot in Brazil it didn't matter), the warmth of the people filled me.
In this place I met my friend Natalya from Russia. She didn't have a car and was traveling solo so we shared a day at southern beaches. Natalya loved the water and would dive in the warm waves as much as possible. Shy with her English at first, she gained confidence as the day went on and we communicated easily. We hiked through the jungle to waterfalls and swimming holes, meeting frogs and birds along the way.
The next day, Natalya came with me to Rio de Janeiro. We drove the coast constantly exclaiming at the beauty of the thick jungle mountains and the bright, aqua ocean and beaches along the way. We stopped in the colonial town of Paraty and shared an ice cream for lunch. If I've learned anything on this journey it's that S. America is obsessed with ice cream!
Being in Brazil was a bit overwhelming, but the good friendships, the warmth of its people to help a stranger, and the natural beauty made this dream come true one that will remain in my heart forever.