quarta-feira, 31 de outubro de 2012

Chapada 10-26 to 10-27-2102

October 26, 2012

Arriving in Lencois: 
We arrived at the bus terminal at 4:30 in the morning, picked up by our drivers and dropped off at the hostel. Crickets were chirping and we were surrounded by greenery. We made our way up the dimly lit halway to the reception. The power was out, so he lit the way by candle light and showed us to our bedroom. We were the only two staying at the place, so we had five beds to choose from in our giant room. We got a couple hours more of sleep and awoke to a buffet breakfast of meats, fruits, bread and juices. What a treat. We didn't have time to eat breakfast, so we packed it in baggies and caught a ride to our tour bus.
We had the five bed honeymoon suite
Ready for adventure
 Stop 1: Poco de Diablo (Devil's Pools) 
We started the tour with a bus ride to Devil's Pool. We began with a short 20 minute hike down to a miniature waterfall feeding into a small lake. We jumped in and swam a bit until it was time to leave.
Great view form the top
Great swimming
Stop 2: Gruta de Lapa Doce (Stalactite Cave) 
We drove deeper into the heart of Chapada to a Stalactite Cave that used to be a water source for the ancient tribes. We dawned our helmets and began the descent into the cave. We followed a tour guide speaking only Portuguese holding a small lantern. As we got deeper into the cave, he had us huddle around him as he blew out the lantern. It was completely dark. We had a moment of silence and then climbed back out. Pretty amazing inside. It takes 33 years for the stalactites to grow one centimeter. Some where over 10 feet tall!
Gotta wear the helmet
Cool Stalagtites
Cool Stalagtites
Stop 3: Gruta da Pritinha (Deep water caving with snorkel gear) and Gruta Azul (a cave with water glowing cobalt blue. 
We had lunch and then continued to our snorkel destination. We funneled into a cave and were each given snorkel masks, flippers and a flashlight. We followed the guide deep into the cave. I could only see the beam of my flashlight as I would navigate deeper and deeper into the cave. There was one point when i felt lost, so I surfaced and removed my mask to find the group. I was far behind. I surfaced to sounds of the guide yelling at me in Porteguesee. I assumed he was telling me to hurry up. After the snorkeling, we went for a short hike to a miniature body of water that was instensly blue. It was explained that this was from the minerals. Steve snapped a few pics and we headed out.
After snorkeling the cave
Gruta Azul
Stop 4: Morro do pai inacio (watched the sunset from father mountain) 
This was my favorite site. It put me at ease. Hiking up to the top of the plateau and watching the sunset was incredible. The surrounding views were lush trees and plateued sandstone formations unlike anything i have ever seen before. It felt between a mix of the American Southwest and Costa Rica. As the sun set, I took a deep breath and thought a little bit about my life. How lucky I am to be surrounded by people I Love and who Love me, have the freedom and flexibility to take time off from my job to travel the world pursuing my passion, and to have no idea what is to come in the next year but be completely content in living the questions. I anchored myself in the moment. I took a deep breath as the sun disappeared from sight, outstretched both hands from my body while pressing my ring finger and thumb together and froze the moment in time. I knew if I ever had to go back to the moment, all I would need to do is press my thumb and ring finger back together.
Flying from the summit
attempting to look serious
The sunset
Caporera: 
We returned from the tour, had some dinner and then watch a Caporera school preforming the ancient martial art/dance for us to traditional music. The participants were all ages from 6 years old to in their 50's. It was incredible to watch.
Bad Ass
Impromtu plans: 
We got back to our hostel to check airline flights and prices skyrocketed. Internet was slow and we were frustrated that we would not find a good fare out of salvador. We decided to "figure it out later" and are crossing our fingers in hope of continued luck on this trip.

October 27, 2012

Laundry:
We finally got to wash our clothes and we hung them out to dry in the yard.  Previously we had many dorm rooms with shared showers so it was diffcult to do laundry.
Drying our clothes
Hike to local waterfall: 
We woke up to an incredble spread of breakfast, so we decided to pack sandwiches, fruits and cakes in tupperware for our afternoon hike. We walked to town and with our hand drawn map from the travel agent. We negotiated our way through the town streets and up to the trail. We spent a good amount of time lost and aimlessly wandering and we even ran into a sketchy homeless man asking us for weed in Portuguese. We eventually found our way to our destination, jumped around in the water, bathed in the sun, scrambled on some rocks, hiked to another waterfall a little higher and then headed back into town.
after showering in the mini waterfall
Scrambling up to the second waterfall
Some cool water formations
Dinner:
We went to the same restaurant as the last night because it was so good. They remembered what were ordered the last night and they weren't surprised that we ordered it again. We ordered the filet mignon hamburger. It is basically a torta with fresh fruits and vegetables with strips of filet mignon. Unheard of in the states. The night before we repeatedly told the cooks how good the dish was and even showed them our "gringo handshake' which is a series of snaps, claps and twists.
Bahian street food called Acaraje
Acaraje

From the mountains to the beach: 
We caught the 11:30pm bus back to Salvador and arrived at 6am. I slept teh entire time...damn I have gotten good at sleeping on busses. Right when we arrived at the bus station I experienced Murphy's Law of Traveling. When something goes wrong, everythign goes wrong and it usually comes in threes.

1. It started with having no money and needing to use the ATM but for some reason it was being rejected. Steve tried his and pulled out some money for the both of us. Okay, problem temporarily solved.

2. I then needed to use the bathroom. Shit...no toilet paper (pun intended). I had to waddle over Subway (yes there is subway in Brazil) mid post poo to get some napkins. Problem solved.

3. I had to call the bank to reactivate my card but there was no WIFI at the bus terminal and Steves phone card didn't work - so we took a taxi to a youth hostel and Steve chatted with them as I called my bank on WIFI. Bank closed? Really? I emailed my mom to take care of it - I didn't have the time or the resources. Thanks Mom! Problem solved

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