Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sun, sand, sea and selling everything!

First of all I just want to acknowledge all the new people who have been stopping by my blog and leaving comments.  Thanks for all the positive feedback guys!  It's nice to know that a select (or miniscule) group are reading my blog! 

I've been back about two weeks now and I'm having severe beach withdrawals! 

It's not just the sun, sand and sea, it's the whole atmosphere and the rituals that go with beach life that I love.  Drinking ice cold beer at 9am, - who doesn't love that, if they're honest - eating deliciously fresh seafood (we're stuck inland so can only get frozen) and just generally hanging out as if there isn't anything else more important to do in the whole world. 

The other side of beach life I love, in Brazil that is, is the exhausting amount of wares that are endlessly paraded up and down the beach by vendors.  I mean, never have I seen anything like it.  You can buy usual things like beer, ice cream and sarongs but how about grilled cheese, chains, rugs or maybe a chess table?

Whilst I was on the wonderful island of Floripa, at Praia das Ingleses, (yes that does mean Beach of the English or English Beach, something to do with a sunken ship) I managed to catalogue as many of the vendors as was humanly possible.

Buying some Milho Verde (Corn on the Cob)

Grilling my cheese in the sea

My grilled cheese with oregano

 Rugs, mats or hammocks?

Bracelets and anklets                                             Beach bling!

Um, Bolivian? rugs                                              Me getting a henna tattoo

My tattoo which I managed to smear off about 30 minutes later and had to get redone on the other shoulder.  We got chatting to the guy who had travelled down by bus from Bahia (for those who don't know this would be like coming from Iceland to England) to work on the beaches from Rio downwards.

Can't believe I nearly left out the chess table! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Porto Alegre

One of the most important economic and cultural cities in Brazil, state capital Porto Alegre was our final stop on our Rio Grande do Sul tour.

Founded in 1742, this city actually began life as a large farm.  It is situated on a delta where five rivers converge.  Today it's one of the wealthiest cities in Latin America and the combination of history and architectural contrast makes it a great place for tourists to visit. 

My sister-in-law told me that she imagines London to be a bit like Porto Alegre.  When she first said this to me I thought she was mad to such an assumption but when I arrived I started to understand what she meant. 

There are many similarities between London and Porto Alegre - the many styles of architecture that help to tell the story of the city and create a stunningly contrasting horizon; the strong cultural presence and of course the climate which is indeed very similar - lots of rain and cold. 

Touring round the south of Brazil has been something I have enjoyed immensely.  I never fail to be amazed at the historical, ancestral and cultural diversity of this country that I have called my home for over a year now. 

There are so many regions to visit each one with a unique beauty, you could easily spend a lifetime travelling along one of nature's most beautiful roads.