So, I am admittedly behind on my travel blogs as it is now Day 12 and we are in Rio! But what can you do 🙂 I have also found out that Ryan is coming to Argentina at the end of March .. which I was more than ecstatic to hear about last night on the phone, in the middle of a torrential down-pour in Rio and major phone issues! Yay!
Anyways, moving on .. or rather, moving into the past – Lençois!
What a fantastic little city. As I have a tendency to get car sick, I sat up front with my dad and assisted with the navigation away from the coast. Mom was in the back reading us segments of various books 😉 It took a few hours but we finally got there! It was so quaint, with a river running through the middle of this little town (somewhat like Salvador in terms of cobbelstone streets etc). Being amidst the mountains and lush green forests was a nice change from the coast. It is essentially off the beaten track, and accessible off the main highway by about 12km on red dirt road. Tourists come here for the outdoor treks to local waterfalls, rock climbing, canoeing through the “swamp” (which is hardly a swamp at all, and rather beautiful), and other such outdoor endeavours. It used to be a hot spot for diamond mining but that isn´t allowed anymore as it is protected territory.
Our first night we ventured into town and followed our vegetable cravings (haha, I get those a lot while travelling);) We had a lovely meal of humous, falafel balls, tahini, pita and greek salad! I love sitting in the streets on plastic chairs, amidst locals and tourists … and just people watching.
A few things I thought about deeply whilst sitting there:
PET-PEEVES SO FAR:
(1) Napkins: in even the highest-end most amazing restaurants there are these dinky little cocktail napkins and I swear, each meal, we end up using at least 13 each! It´s so silly and I can´t figure out why, if you have a table cloth you wouldn´t at least utilize paper nappies that are more than 3cm x 3 cm.
(2) Retornos: sure there are signs pointing out the next city on the map and the highway # (if you´re lucky) but HOLY cow could the roundabouts be any less clear? You enter them and there is not a single sign so you have no clue which of the 4 options to take. Once you (or in this case, my dad) randomly chooses the “best one” you don´t find out for a few kilometres if it is, or is not, leading you in the right direction.
(1) The fact that everyone is so gracious and friendly, laughing when I say that Spanish knowledge doesn´t really help with understanding Portuguese; most of the time I get a response like “if you understand Spanish then you should understand Portuguese (speaking, not writing, as writing I get … to some degree)” .. my response is always half-serious: “Well then riddle me this: why can´t you understand what I am saying to you in Spanish?”. Ha. I´m good.
(2) The names of some of the hotels on the side of the main highway(s):
Kama Sutra Hotel, Love story Hotel … etc etc
(3) The fact that you can get an authentic and fantastic Mexican dish (best corn tortillas I´ve ever had, surprisingly!) in the middle of a tiny mountain town, with a chef who looks Italian but speaks Portuguese, and served with Tamarind Chutney (Indian fare, usually)
(4) Cheap beer and sunshine
(5) The company (Who would have thought a 25 year old could last for more than 7 days in an enclosed space (i.e car and hotel rooms) with parents and vice versa: We are actually laughing together a lot of the time. Crazy!
The second day we did an all day trip into the local Marsh/Swamp and saw the pools of water (look like hotsprings in the middle of the mountains, connecting by small waterfalls). It was lots of fun though are guide was a bit arrogant. It made for a few more laughs and some sunburns all around. We learned the following pronounciation tips, too (French-speakers get ready to feel very very upset):
“Lençois” is actually pronounced “Len-Soys”. Eeeeeeeeeeek. A Parisian would undoubtedly faint and anyone else who has a love of the French language may be shuddering slightly.
After 2 nights we left to Arembepe (on the coast near Salvador) and had the most fantastic dinner EVER. Honestly. Seabass-like fish, on top a puree of Yucca (cactus but tasted like mashed potatoes, somehow), with smoked Okra and passionfruit sauteed as a sauce. Oh, and a hot chilly on top. Dessert was a coconut-type flan with (it sounds strange but believe me it was mouth-watering) prune sauce flambayed with some cinnamon.
My mouth is watering. I have to go eat birthday dinner at what sounds like a lovely restaurant of mom´s choosing .. Rio blogging yet to come!