Love at 1st sight
12.11.2012 - 15.12.2012 30 °C
When I was living in Costa Rica in the 90's before it became COSTA RICA I wanted to go to Brazil. I didn't know anything about the country, where it wa or where to go. I heard about Rio and guessed that was the place to go. My last several years in Costa Rica I spent more time in Guatemala. I traveled alot to Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. I wanted new adventures and decided the time had come for Brazil. My second best friend lived there for a few years so I sought his advice. "Oh no don't go to Brazil (Rio) you'll get killed!" So I returned to Costa Rica for what turned out to be for the last time. Most guys go to Brazil for the beautiful women, string bikinis and parties. Not me. The meditation I practiced, Vipassana, is offered worldwide. I went for a 10 day session. I won't say retreat because it's not sipping tea and philosofisng. It's more like bootcamp. I secured a spot and bought a plane ticket. Excited I headed to the airport. When the reservation agent asked for my visa I asked what visa? I got the visa the next day and returned to the airport. I arranged to stay at someone's house for the night before heading to the meditation center, biut that was changed when I'd arrive a day late. A fellow passenger called the meditation contact for me becuse he spoke portuguese. I caught a cab to the meeting place of the van that would transport a group of meditators, and off I went. We spent the next 12 days outside of Rio in a very tranquil environment.I also experienced the deepest and most profound meditation until this time, and I've done 13 of these. After I was 'dumped' in Rio. I told the other van riders that I wanted a hotel near to a gym and the beach. From 12 days in utter silence to the middle of a bustling city was mind blowing. Also I was accustomed traveling from country to country totally at ease speaking spanish. I cursed the Portuguese for months for having colonized Brazil. That first night I went to a restaurant and had to order three times before I got a meal w/out meat. The morning we were leaving the meditation center someone asked what I was doing for breakfast the next morning. We met and he took me around Rio. That simple gesture changed my life and my experience in Brazil. He opened his heart and his home to me. He along w/his sister are my best friends in Brazil and I am a part of their family. After a few days in Rio I wanted to leave because I wanted less city madness, more nature and I don't like staying in hotels. Another meditator invited me to his city which was the directly north of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Espiritu Santo. It was a beach town called Guarapari. A small city with beaches. I made friends and fell in love w/Brazil. I stayed for three months. When I returned to Rio 3 months later I first went to Rio to see my friends and get to know the city better. Then I returned to Guarapari but after a few weeks I knew that I wanted to be in nature. At one point while in Nicaragua I met a Brazilian and asked him to make a list of beautiful places in Brazil. I took out the paper closed my eyes and chose the city of Porto Seguro. I didn't know where it was, or know anyone there and my understanding of portuguese was still practically non existent although I spoke spanish and people understood. I made friends w/people who once again showed me love and opened up their hearts and homes to me. They helped me start the process of learning portuguese. Off I went on the bus not knowing what to expect. People said how beautiful Porto Seguro was and how the beaches were to die for. A cab driver got me a cheap hotel. We're still friends 12 years later. I couldn't believe I made it. I ate breakfast, shaved and showered and hit the streets. I asked the first person I encountered "where's the beach?" Off I went. When I got there I couldn't believe it. It was ugly, really ugly and empty. I wondered why I was told contrary. That night feeling self-conscious, alone and like a tourist I ate at a restaurant along the coast on a strip of restaurants, shops and strolling tourists. The next day somehow I heard about a place called Arraial d'Ajuda where the nice beaches were. I asked someone where do I catch the bus? There isn't a bus but a ferry. A five minute ride away and a world of difference. Where Porto Seguro is more cityish, Arraial d'Ajuda has the village and native vibe. I got to the beach and my first thought was to get my bags before the check out time and get a place here. I walked a little and saw houses and small hotels (the hotels are not the 26 story monstrosities but rooms and bungalows around a pool). I inquired as to the price and saw the room and returned shortly. Happy as a lark I settled into my new Brazil. Staying at the hotel were 4 Argentinians who I made friends with. The next day they invited me to accompany them to another beach. We caught the bus and after about 45 minutes arrived at Trancoso. From the bus stop on a dirt road we walked a short distance through a patch of mangroves and arrived at the beach.
When I stepped onto the beach my mouth dropped open and stayed that way. That was how I always imagined beaches in Brazil. White sand that didn't end, turquoise sea and coconut palm trees all along the coast. It was like steppping into a giant pcard. The most amazing thing is all the elements, the sky , sea, sand, palm trees all filter into you and in a second tranform you. All the pure beauty, the clean energy reach all the way inside of you and make you happy. There I was w/new friends, a new place and miles of beach for as far as my eyes could see. It was actually quite difficult to hang onto myself. I was stunned. Something so wonderful exists? I felt as if I'd explode w/joy! We walked and walked. There were a few beach bar-restaurants but there was just beach and space. We stayed at a bar restaurant playing music. I was in a hammock between two trees w/a straw in a green coconut. How unimaginable and great was that? The water in Bahia is warm. You can stay in it for hours and still don't want to get out. 'Twas a beautiful day, hot and sunny, music w/speakers on the coconut palm trees, drinks, lunch and my new found friends. My pattern was to tan for awhile then dip in the ocean and repeat all day. W/a smile on my face of course. I made it to the Brazil of my dreams. Trancoso is a place where I'd spend 6 hours. I'd never spent that much time at the beach before. Trancoso changes your rhythm. It makes you stop and slow down. You don't have a choice, the force is that powerful. The Brazilian tourists freak out cuz they know they're in paradise. Everyone is just happy and relaxed. You appreciate the beauty of the world. You either tan all day, laugh with your friends, listen to music or the waves, dip or swim in the ocean, watch the waves and people, check out the natives who have all of this as their backyard, or the most likely is to do all that was mentioned. You can walk for 5 or 10 minutes and be totally alone. No one near you or in sight. You can walk literally for hours. Inspiration, introspection, meditation, relaxation and rejuvenation are all at your fingertips. It creates a world w/out limits. This is in part why in the 70's here was 'discovered' by hippies and then attracted artists, craftsmen, designers and the spiritually in touch. Another attraction is the town. It's always been a sleepy fishing village. One has to ascend to the town from the beach. The main square is called "Quadrado", the square. It's actually funny because it's nothing special. It's a soccer field that is worn and torn from playing. At one end is one of the first churches built in Brazil. On the othe three sides are shops, restaurants, and very small hotels all painted in tropical colors, very Bahia. It's very chill. People selling trinkets, earrings, bracelets and other hand made crafts are dispersed along the square. During the day you can lunch, enjoy yogurt, hang out and take in the amazing view of the horizon and beaches from behind the church. What's incredible about here is there's no fanfare. It's just what it is. A place that is back in time in this time. You're in a place that represents the natives of Bahia. No rush, no hassles, no dress up, just be who you are and do what you want. Like everywhere in the world change has arrived. I consider myself a Trancoso purist having fell in love w/here 10 yrs ago. The well heeled of Sao Paulo(Brazil's NY) escaping the hustle and bustle of city life for beautiful beaches have flocked here, and are willing to pay a premium and do. Because 90% of the tourists are from Sao Paulo we joke that Trancoso's area code is that of Sao Paulo. Crazy expensive hotels and boutiques are part of the mix now. But it hasn't affected the essence or its spirit. Everyone wants the same thing - to relax, party and feel the good vibes. NIghtime is totally a different happening. The "Quadrado" is lit by candlelight in all the windows of restaurants, shops and hotels. It's usually dining out, going for a drink, strolling and just hanging out. There are usually certain nights for reggae, forro or other music dance nights. Tropical chic and jet set cool that lets you unplug then plug into yourself!