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Monday, 29 November 2010

It was just one of those days.

A day on the beach without the sun can be depressing when you only have a week of holiday, but for me: oh it reminded me of home and Sven Nykvist´s cinematography and all those favourite Ingmar Bergman movies of mine. How raw this kind of weather on the beach makes you feel, and how alive!

Tranquility coso.

 Trancoso, a small village in the middle of jungle and mangrove, by the beach is one of those places that are impossible not to love. I stayed there for a few days of solitude. I needed to think and come to terms with the fact that I was going home. The longer I stayed the more I realized that I really could live like this. Living a much simpler life. Am I just being naive?
Of course it is not only paradise once this is your daily life. But maybe the secret to happiness also lies in just simplifying life In London somehow life seems sometimes more difficult that it has to be. Is there a way of living in a city but avoiding the struggles that come with it?

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Further south in Bahia.

Sitting in a little bar sipping my coco water whilst waiting for my new beautiful friend whom I am having a ¨holiday week ¨with: Sophie,  I contemplate about how fortunate I am to have followed my dream to do this trip. I am slowly coming to the end of the trip, and it feels unreal. In a way it almost feels like I have been in a dream for these months, did it really happen?

I have met the most incredible people I could imagine and really, the trip has been one of the best things things I have ever done in my life. It scares me to think how I would have wasted all these months had I not decided to buy the ticket. All the moments, all the meetings, the converstations, the sights and the feelings that I would not have experienced had I stayed in London.

 It will be with very mixed emotions I am leaving this continent. Apart from longing to see my closest ones, and of course to celebrate christmas in the snow, I can not think of much else that I am looking forward to encountering ( maybe the Swedish bread and yoghurt a bit).
I try to live in the moment and appreciate it to the fullest and not to think about the day that is getting closer, but then I hear about the rain in London, and then the snow, and then of course the cancellations of any sort of transport in London and then oops, I did it again, I left the now!
 How can this paradise exist in a parallell universe with London? How will it be possible for me to continue living in London when I am confronted there, every day by  people struggling  to be happy; complaining about the weather, living standards,  their commute, their salaries etc
I have seen people living under such poor conditions but being far happier than the average Londoner.  But maybe I will come back, and slowly fall back into the rythm of the city and forgetting the happiness I have encountered. Forget that there is a much bigger world that is so easy to get to....

If it was not for my loved ones being so far away, I could stay here in Itacare for a long time. It really is my kind of place. Surfing in paradise beaches, chilled atmosphere with hippies everywhere, drinking coco water in the beach bar hammocks, the music and the dancing and of course the rainforest comes straight down to the beach so I fall asleep every night listening to my favourite sounds of the jungle. Too good to be true.

I have mixed feelings about the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho; some books I love and then others I find too self indulgent but whilst reading some of his short stories ( ¨Like the flowing river¨) I came across this that I would like to share:

-People don´t think very much about death. They spend their lives worrying about absurdities; they put things off, and fail to notice important moments. They dont´t take risks, because they think it is dangerous. They complain a lot, but are afraid to take action. They want everything to change, but they themselves refuse to change. If they thought a little more about death, they would never forget to make that much- postponed phone call. They would be a little crazier.
So many people do everything on automatic pilot, unaware of the magic moment that each day brings with it, not understanding that the next minute could be their last on this planet.

Paulo Coelho also writes about an elderly  Brazilian lady he met whilst living in Madrid. She had energy in abundance and one night he asked her for the secret recipe:
¨I have a magic calender she answered and if you want I´ll show it to you. So the next night she showed him a much scribbled calender:

¨Right, today is the day they discovered a vaccine agains polio¨she said, ¨we must celebrate that¨, because life is beautiful.

On each day of the year, the lady had written down something good that had happened on that date. For her, life was always a reason to be happy!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The road not taken by Robert Frost

I fell for this poem many years ago, ( as most people do who read it) and always carry it with me, but what I love about it is how it´s meaning changes. The more I read it the less I seem to understand it.

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same, 10

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back. 15

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference

I´m in love

The brazilian coastline is proving to be far better than I had ever hoped for. It is a country I could imagine living in: the colors, the weather, all the beautiful, friendly and happy people, the culture with its rich heritage and of course the never ending beaches. After a few indulging days of lots of splendid veggie food and juices from fruits that I did not even know existed: graviola. caja,caju, macaxeira, twice a day yoga and meditation and plenty of paradisical beaches; I headed for the first town of Brazil which really is the heart of the country: Salvador.

The historic centre of the town is oh so beautiful, in a run down " Pere Lachaise cemetary " kind of way.  Unfortunately as this is Brazil it is quite tricky as you need to be really careful with the camera, I really don´t want to loose it now after all these months, so I could not take all the pictures that I wanted to take. Especially during one of the most memorable nights I have ever had: tuesday night, which is basically a smaller version of carneval. Music is everywhere and as this is is the happiest country I have ever come across: EVERYONE is dancing. We were following a carnival band which had some amazing dancers at the front . All of us trying to copy them whilst we were travelling through the town on its cobbled streets, the group was getting bigger and bigger. What an atmosphere! After several hours of this workout ( Mr M  and my dance partner Fransesco, I  have acquired some new dance moves that I can´t wait to show you) we moved on whilst drinking Caprinha to a samba club( yes, I kind of know the first step of samba but it is sooo hard) then we finished by dancing  Farro.
What a magical night.

( Michael Jackson´s "They don´t really care about us" was filmed in Salvador, watch it to get a small idea of how the town is).

Monday, 15 November 2010

Ashram time

I will be spending some time at the yoga ashram Ecohar eating well, and doing lots of yoga and meditation, so I will not be able to update for a few days. But after that you can follow me again on my brazil beach hopping. Hard life.

Happiness (part 2)

It must be so much harder to feel down in a country like Brazil; Wherever you look there are the brightest and most intense colors: flowering bouganvillea and hibiscus, people dressed in fluorescent colors, nature giving you all the tones between lightblue and darkgreen, all tropical fruits you know of growing on the
trees ready to be picked and wherever you go in late afternoon you hear the music. Music coming out from massive loudspeaker in the back of cars, houses, shops, fruitsellers and even bikes. And somehow everyone seems to smile and dance without any worries at all.

      Just going for a ride on the beach


Well first impression did not dissapoint, at all. Quite the contrary. As I have lots of friends from the southern parts of Brazil who look and act the same as northern Europeans I naively expected the whole of the coast of Brazil to be pretty much the same. And how wrong I was. I started in the northern part of Brazil, in Olinda. Which is one of the most beautiful colonial towns of the country with cobbled streets, Baroque fountains, houses in all the rainbow's colors and lots of artists, musicians and other creative people.
Olinda was designated a cultural heritage site by UNESCO in 1982 and rightly deserves it. I was a bit overinspired and took so many pictures at it will be hard to edit it down. Here are just some pics of my first days in this happy country.

Brazil here I come!

So final destination: Brazil, and well, go on; I expect a lot from you, so seduce me!!

But first I can not helpt but cry for you ARGENTINA!
You were far more beautiful, exciting and... well basically you have it ALL, so I will definetely be back very very soon.       

Back again.

How I love this city. I decided to get off the bus in BA again and just spend the days soaking up the magic of Buenos Aires in sunshine.  I stayed in Palermo again and somehow I seemed to bump into different people I knew wherever I went. It felt like I had more friends in BA then in London.
I spent the days writing articles and hanging out with various friends in the amazing cafe, bars and restaurants. In the evenings we went to milongas ( tango class) , a  reggae concert and just had lots of food and fab wine in the barrillas. The town is a mix of Barcelona, Paris and New York but without the stress and irritation.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

A la recherche du temps perdu

I was in a shop in the Argentinian town of Salta and was offered a candy. At first I thought to say no, but then decided to be polite and accept it. Later on in the day I was hungry and remembered the candy. Little did I know that candy would taste like my grand father's throat pastils and so in a few seconds I would have a ''Proustian Madeleine cake " moment: All my childhood seemed to pass by in my brain at rapid speed and I had to stop in my way as it was all so real and I wanted to take it all in. A few days later by coincidence?? , I found the wonderful book "How Proust can change your life" by the english author Alain de Botton, and reread it in an instant. I love the fact that what worried Proust most, was the fact that noone seemed genuine and kind anymore....  
I really do think that kindness is the most important trait in us all, in this world, and we can all find it, however hard it sometimes can be to dig back up.

The falls

Imagine a place full of the greenest of subtropical rainforest imaginable; 100s of butterfly-species surrounding you, colorful birds trying out their voices, caimans sunbathing on the shores of the rivers, various reptiles lurking in the shade and at night the pumas and jaguars come out to hunt. All this surrounded by the grandest waterfalls on earth: Iguazu you took my breath away.

Where I started the morning. In a tiny boat below this fall. No need to say how soaked I got!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Black and white

My Patagonian dream journey had the perfect ending before the big city of Buenos Aires: Puerto Madryn. There I walked among one of my absolute favourite animals : the Magellan Penguin and watched Commerson's dolphins in action. Do you think I am slowly starting to worry about going back home?

The cutest bum award goes to...