Countries Visited

Svalbard Spain United States of America Antarctica South Georgia Falkland Islands Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia Venezuela Guyana Suriname French Guiana Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Argentina Chile Greenland Canada United States of America United States of America Israel Jordan Cyprus Qatar United Arab Emirates Oman Yemen Saudia Arabia Iraq Afghanistan Turkmenistan Iran Syria Singapore China Mongolia Papua New Guinea Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Malaysia Tiawan Philippines Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand Myanmar Bangladesh Sri Lanka India Bhutan Nepal Pakistan Afghanistan Turkmenistan Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Japan North Korea South Korea Russia Kazakhstan Russia Montenegro Portugal Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia Ukraine Moldova Belarus Romania Bulgaria Macedonia Serbia Bosonia & Herzegovina Turkey Greece Albania Croatia Hungary Slovakia Slovenia Malta Spain Portugal Spain France Italy Italy Austria Switzerland Belgium France Ireland United Kingdom Norway Sweden Finland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Russia Poland Czech Republic Germany Denmark The Netherlands Iceland El Salvador Guatemala Panama Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Belize Mexico Trinidad & Tobago Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica The Bahamas Cuba Vanuatu Australia Solomon Islands Fiji New Caledonia New Zealand Eritrea Ethiopia Djibouti Somalia Kenya Uganda Tanzania Rwanda Burundi Madagascar Namibia Botswana South Africa Lesotho Swaziland Zimbabwe Mozambique Malawi Zambia Angola Democratic Repbulic of Congo Republic of Congo Gabon Equatorial Guinea Central African Republic Cameroon Nigeria Togo Ghana Burkina Fasso Cote d'Ivoire Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea Bissau The Gambia Senegal Mali Mauritania Niger Western Sahara Sudan Chad Egypt Libya Tunisia Morocco Algeria
Map Legend: 28%, 75 of 263 Territories

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How fast can we move?

Tara alluded in her last post to the number of bus trips we have taken. As it turns out, Brazil is huge. Essentially the same size as the continental United States. I knew this, but never really processed it. So, we have been rushing down the coast of Brazil faster than we would like, but we have lots to see in the future. Here are some highlights:

As Tara mentioned, she loved Belem. I don't have great phots for this--mostly it is because a.) we had been on a boat for 2 days and she got to rest in Belem and b.) she got to see the Harry Potter movie in Belem. Amazingly, they had one subtitled show rather than being dubbed like the others. In any case, here is the picture I like best from Belem. Apparently, this sculpture on a high wall near the harbor represents Belem. After Belem, it was off to Sao Luis. Sao Luis is famous for its colonial beauty and is currently being redone in parts. The original plan was to visit for a couple hours and then go to this other city to see great sand dunes. As it turns out, we were forced to come back through Sao Luis and got stuck there. Here is a nice butterfly from there, though.
In Sao Luis, many of the buildings are tiled with Dutch tiles. This is because the city is both hot and humid, and tiles keep the buildings cool without falling apart in the humidity. I really liked that they even tiled their stoplights.
We went to Barreirenhas (which I probably spell three different ways in this blog because I can't get it right) to see what our guide book described as amazing sand dunes. Our book has often lead us astray, so we questioned it, but I really like sand dunes. As it turns out, it was completely worth the trip even though we had to go 4 hours in the wrong direction only to find out we had missed our bus by 15 minutes and had to spend yet another night in Sao Luis. Here is the truck that took us to the dunes:
In Barreirenhas, we met a tourist guy at the bus stop who spoke Spanish. As we will address in a later post, this was nice since almost no one in Northern Brazil speaks anything but Portuguese. Everyone says never to talk to such people, but we've had good luck with them. He helped us find a room (he showed us several and we decided to go cheap in the end) and helped us get a tour to the dunes. The room we took "had a television". They were true to their advertising, though you may notice that it doesn't actually even have a cord. Had we had 6 D batteries, we could have watched it:

To the dunes! To get to the dunes, I won't waste a picture, but we had to take a "ferry" that was a big wooden raft pushed by a separate little motor boat. They were beautiful and unlike any dunes I had ever visited. Massive sand dunes that fill with blue lakes during the rainy season. We swam in the lakes, I tried to slide down the sand dunes on my belly which required some flopping about like a seal, I rolled down a huge dune into the water. A great time. Here we are with one of the lakes in the background. The lakes are only there for about three months of the year.
Here's one at the edge of the dunes where shrubs begin to grow.
From there, we ended up going all the way to Natal via a 32 hour bus ride because the buses to Fortaleza were sold out. So, you won't find any commentary on Fortaleza here. Tara will take over down the coast.

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