Friday, September 07, 2007

Brazil, onwards wayward son

Picnic in Ibirapuera Park, Sao Paulo

Well, hard to believe but I finally made it out of Sao Paulo. Not only that, but it isn't any longer I, rather we, as Katheryna has joined me for my continuing sojourn. As Strider (my motorcycle) was only set up for a single person, we spent a few days making some modifications, and re-packing everything. Somehow, in the end we actually managed to get everything packed (leaving 3 bags of stuff at the pousada), and got on the road.
Before leaving I had promised Dominici that I would take part in a talk with students that were coming to his Youth Hostel to hear about running a hostel and hostels in general. He asked me along so that they would get an idea of what kind of people one meets in this line of work.

School children in Sao Paulo

The students turned out to be high school kids from two different classes, many of which, luckily spoke some english. Dominici spoke of hostels and I talked about traveling and living on the road. Then the kids joined in and asked a lot of questions, from why I travel, to questions about my family and friends, favorite places, least favorite places, my work etc.
In all they spent a couple of hours asking questions and hearing about traveling and far-away places which most only know from geography classes, if at all. The best question of the morning went to a couple of girls who asked Katheryna if one met a lot of guys traveling. The same girls asked me if the Gold Coast of Australia was nice, I told them that it was a concrete jungle with nothing but hotels, bars, clubs and beaches, and if they really wanted to see some nice parts of Australia to go to Perth, where the beaches are empty and there is plenty of space to turn around. Well, it turns out that teen-age girls are actually looking for places with clubs and discos. Who knew!! I think I am getting old..
Ok, so along comes Sunday, the bike was prepped, test rides and last minute adjustments all done, so we headed off towards Belo Horizonte. As it was early there was little traffic, and with only one wrong turn we made it out of Sao Paulo and motored along a nice free-way out of the city.
Once outside of the city, Brazil turned rural very fast, lots of ranches, and agricultural areas. The few towns we rode through were pretty sleepy, and as the road is a main highway there were few chances to get lost. Trying to think of something to say about the country is difficult as there wasn't anything at all special or particular about it.

First camping spot in Brazil, Itutinga, MG

The first day we were headed for a campground south of Belo Horizonte, for our first camping day in Brazil. The first place we found was closed, but luckily, another one was just down the road, and it turned out to be very nice. The place was a bar at the edge of a brook, which also allowed camping. Once the bar was closed we were all alone, and locked in until the morning when the guy returned. Nevertheless it had everything we needed, and the first camping excursion in Brazil was un-eventful, and thanks to a full moon, very beautiful with a babbling brook in the background.

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