We spent about six weeks traveling through Brazil on our last visit to South America in 2005 and had a chance to get to know the southern coast of the country rather well. We have been dying to get back to Brazil ever since. Known for its physical beauty and rich folkloric culture, this time around we had our eyes set on getting to know the Northeast coast.
They have a saying here in Brazil “Deus é Brasileiro” (God is Brazilian). After a few short days here, you will concur. The country is vast, with nearly 200 million people, and a land mass covering half of South America. With more than 4,500 miles of coastline, it really is a tropical paradise. The landscape boasts lush, green rainforest rolling over hills and mountains that cascade into a coast dotted with fluffy white beaches, crystal clear waters and tropical islands. Need I say more?
It’s more than the natural beauty, however, that makes Brazil so appealing. Brazilians have an innate energy and unparalleled love for life. Everyday seems to be a celebration and music, dance, sun and sand are the backbone of their culture. To match the warm climate comes an equally warm people. We’ve found mere casual encounters have often lead to lasting friendships, and we’ve been welcomed into homes for celebrations, meals and extended stays on more than one occasion.
A few initial obervations:
- The thumbs up sign is omnipresent here, used to communicate thank you or a seal of approval (Who knew: They say Brazilians adopted the “thumbs up” from watching American pilots based in northern Brazil during World War II who used it to communicate they were ready to take off and that the wheel blocks could be removed.)
- National pride – everyone is extremely proud to be Brazilian
- Passion for futebol beginning at such a young age – as soon as a boy begins to walk he is introduced to a soccer ball. No where else do you see three and four year olds juggling a soccer ball with such artistic skill.
- Men are in incredible shape here, sporting six packs and sculpted pecks no matter what their age, while women are proud of their bodies and clad in thong bikinis no matter what their shape or size
- Races intermix more than anywhere I’ve ever seen, with interracial couples a dime a dozen
- Beach volleyball is not played using hands; rather, taking from their mastered soccer skills, they use their feet, knees, chest and heads
We’re staring our adventure from the state of Bahia, located on the Northeast coast of the country. Stay tuned for more updates.