|at the same time 17.5" of snow fall on Brooklyn...we get a little sun in the Valley|
Thursday, December 23, 2010
One of the ideas for the trip was to visit Frances in Capao as she prepared for her first child. I won't lie, pregnancy, labor, children, mothering, are all a bit frightening to me. Being with Frances and reading Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth while I was in Capao has at once exposed me to my own fears around childbirth, and the fears that many of us women in the US harbor--as well as help me overcome and address some of these fears. The way we pregnancy is represented in the mainstream media goes something like this: women is pregnant, fine, she is then overcome with labor at an inconvenient moment and often needs modern medicine to come to the rescue. The idea is that your body, your womb, your vagina, the whole kit-and-caboodle, can't really *do this*. You need help. Case in point (but this time men with guns to the rescue).
Now, I'm waiting for my cab to JFK to whisk me away to LA, the next leg of this here adventure. I'm deciding whether or not to take my laptop...the idea of traveling without it is almost too good to resist...
Sunday, December 19, 2010
|The view from midway up...|
|over the edge (ray ray don't look!)|
|and I thought I was all alone until I heard a flute--a man tooting away at the top of Cachoeira da Fumaça!|
|cafe de chapada|
|cafe a manha chez Frances|
We finished the day off with the weirdest and tastiest pizza I've ever had. For days I've heard about this pizza. It was the first and only restaurant in Capao for a very long time. The owner is a Swiss guy who very clearly loves his pizza, his restaurant and pretty much everyone who comes in. In short, he was extremely friendly and happy to see us. Kiara had been to this joint fifteen years earlier when she visited Capao. She said the pizza is almost exactly the same--still perfect.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
|Nir (left) e Nati (right) in their tahini studio|
The one thing that was missing was tahini. Nati has stories about how she tried to find tahini in India (not easy) and they realized that it was just too expensive here in Brazil, and not very good either. They started making it to satisfy their tahini needs and have launched a business making tahini, peanut butter, tahini/peanut spread, and these little energy balls with cocoa, tahini, coconut, guyana, and other goodness. They were incredibly welcoming--as is everyone here in Brasil--and we stayed and chatted til the fireflies came out.
I bought a kilo of tahini to bring back to the states--so don't worry my tahini loving friends, there will be magic rasta tahini for all!
Friday, December 17, 2010
Um is that a pencil in his mouth?
and the girl responds, Oh yes, he eats everything! He eats ze bugs, ze trees, za dirt, it's all sooo natural.
Hmmm, but that's lead, says Frances.
He is so healthy, no problems with ze digestion, notheeeng...
Uh, that, er, water is "new."
Oh! Is it xi-xi?
|Frances preparing the alavante, which she will use as|
an antiseptic soak after her baby boy is born
Excuse me, but we try to make sure that everyone gets one serving before going for seconds.
Of course, but, this is for Frances, ela esta muito gravida.
Yes, well there are many who have not eaten their lunch.
|On the way up to Fumaça|
And then after this hike in the roiling, yet comforting sun of the Vale, I head out on another adventure to RioChino, the local swimming hole. The walk there (about 4km) was the most peaceful and exquisite place I've been in years. These photos hardly do this place justice.
|A few donkeys and motorinos only passed me on this road..|
|RioChino swimming hole (there's Frances e Diego!)|
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I made it to Capao, where it is, yes, raining. It is so beautiful and magical here in the Chapada that it doesn't really matter. Frances is ginormous and glowing gravida gorgeousness and Diego is a bearded knight in shining armor as he appears at 6am to pick me up at the bus station in Palmeiras. I was also greeted by Keke, part of Frances's birthing team and Kiara, Diego's spry 82 year old Italian mother. We speak french, natch.
|principessa da capao|
|the porch of Kiara's casita, where I swing in the hammock and read about natural birth|
Monday, December 13, 2010
I've heard various interpretations of the history of "gringo", but Paola, my hostel comrade from Uruguay who studied history before becoming a line cook and traveling 7 months out of the year, says it came from Mexico when they were demanding that the US military leave. The US military wore green and the people would shout "Green, Go Home!" which turned into green-go...gringo. Hadn't heard that one before, can anyone of my many readers confirm that?
Paola gave me this colorful explanation as we swam in the river Imbassai this evening. We walked down along the beach with only the moon and stars and twinkling beach pousada lights to guide us. Again, the ink black water was warm like a relaxing bath and after my day of napping and feeling crummy I was reinvigorated. If you dipped your feet down too far you would hit the cold water and maybe some algae which felt a little unnerving given the absolute blackness of the sweet water river. Some kids trounced down the bank with a little radio, laughing, our heads bobbing in the water like coconuts as we watched them.
The other way you tell a gringa (me) from a brasiliera (not me) is by my shoes (and lack of wearing a bra--these gals love 'em high and dry). Which leads me to the next little ditty about Imbassai:
One outfit, three days. I hopped the onibus to Imbassai thinking I would take a day trip. I stayed three nights. I didn´t bring any extra clothes and have rinsed my shirt and skirt out in the brownish tap water of the hostel and blasted them dry with the room fan. Just goes to show you don´t need much. I did manage to bring my toothbrush and an eyelash curler (why that was floating in my bag, who knows...). I also made the transition from my brown slip on loafers (one size too big) to the traditional Havaianas sandles. This is how I shed my New Yorker and embrace my brasilian surroundings. Quando na praia...
|havaianas, the bahian flip flop--a must.|
|done and done.|
|tchau e beijos little shoes!|
Saturday, December 11, 2010
ughts, here´s what I got:
Brasil. Life is so simple. Yet the phones are bizarrely complicated. Its a mystery whether you dial the operator, the area code, both or none, when calling someone.
Brasil. A country so rich with beautiful flora and fauna to eat. Yet everyone eats unripe tomatoes.
Today I ate a whole fish, walked on the beach in the rain, bargained successfully for a beautiful pair of earrings for Kiki, played many games of thumb war with the hostel bebe Noel, and fed little macacos (teeny monkies) bits of bread and watched them chase some kittens.
|Me and macaco|
|Brasilian Pablo e Lemon|
|Noel and his awesome bed head|
After we get to the beach, the cloudy cloudy beach, the conversation goes as follows,
I think I have a bichu do pe.
What is a bichu do pe?
Its, you know, a bichu, a bug, and it goes in your foot and lives there.
How long has your foot been bothering you?
About 2 or 3 days.
Hmmm...I´m sure you don´t have a bug living in your foot.
Ya, you are right, probably.
So we settle down and pretend like it is sunny and order a beer, and Erika starts to look at her toe. Eduardo our waiter, hereafter to be known forever as Dr. Eduardo, kneels down mumbles something in portuguese and then whips out what looks like wire cutters and proceeds to dig into Erika´s toe. I´m a bit in awe. I offer her a sip of beer, given the circumstance. For 10 minutes he digs out little things and its pretty effing gross, and then their is obviously some sort of finally. He is wiping these "things" in her hand.
I ask, hey what´s that?
Eggs, says Erika.
Oh. I drink some beer.
Here is the action captured on film.
Friday, December 10, 2010
So nothing lost, except I wake up early to go back to the rodoviaria for going to the beach and its raining. All. up. the. coast. But I go anyway. Wish me luck. Peut-etre I return back in time for spaghetti dinner at the book store and a talk on wikileaks.
Boa sorte me!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Today is the feria, Nossa Senhora da Conseicao da Praia, and I "celebrated" by traveling to the Itaparica Island, just off the coast of Salvador. The water was bathwater warm, I ate little fried fish and found many "tresors" in the sand. We went a bit off the beaten path where a few families (babies, kids, dogs AND horses) were picnicing (splashing, running, kicking soccer balls/sand/eachother, and loads of laughter).
|boy riding his pet horse|
|older boy hassles kid on the horse|
|older boy #2 throws sand at him|
And then I ate this crazy fruit (acajou) that is the actual fruit of the cashew nut...it made my teeth and throat feel weird. Call me gringa, but it was a little trop bizarre.
and then I became uma sereia bahiana (mermaid of bahia).
The end. Fin. Finito.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Messages coming from all over to remind me that taking this trip, by myself, is a bit of the divine. And if I had my doubts, all was reassured when I saw the masses of flesh a praia da barra and spent the day swimming, eating roasted cheese with oregano and molasses (ain't no hot dog that can touch that beach snack) and laying in the sun. O fundamentilismo da bunda (the fundamentalism of the ass--as theorized by R) dominated the beach and I have never seen so much greased up, slicked down, squeezed and dimpled flesh as I did today. I had the smallest booty on the beach believe it or not. I like to believe I could fit in, um, that way.
Well, there's always tomorrow.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
show me just enough.
Can't sun my tits there, but Brazil it's ok,
because my blood's gone cold and I will forgive anything if I can be warm again.
I savor my eggplant tonight, soon to be aipim, guava and pinhãos.
I read about traveler's diarrhea, which I know well, but have always just called it plain ol' diarrhea.
A teacher once told me she didn't poop all the way through some spiritual trek across Nepal.
Soul sausage is the actual Chinese medicinal translation.
Oh thrill me Brazil!
Rip the hair right out of my soul crotch
follicles and all.
Show me a shoulder, a brown one, my own
blending in with sands and root vegetable skins,
parts puffy and crinkly to the touch
by the end.