Category Archives: As seen in Brazil!

Cool stuff I see during my travels

Climbing waterfalls in Chapada Diamantina!


I have just returned from a glorious week in one of the most breath-taking places I have ever been, Chapada Diamantina national park in Brazil.  I experienced a totally different side of Brazil and enjoyed adventures of the non-surfing, non-shoulder straining kind.

Here’s a little photo journal of my trip!

The start of my first hike, with the little town of Lencois in the background. In Lencois, the roads that aren’t cobblestone are dirt, and no one uses cellphones. You just tell your friends that you will meet them on the street, and you are pretty much assured that you will find them in one of the colonial style plazas, lined with pretty pastel-painted houses.

Here’s our brave international team, with Germany, Denmark, the U.S.A. and Brazil all represented. Our awesome guides Marquinhos and Puma are on the ends.

Heading into the wild!

Puma’s name should already tell you something about him. This picture should tell you another thing. He is pretty much a ninja. (don’t worry, the snake doesn’t bite!)

We hiked a couple miles up this magical dry river bad, surrounded by canyon walls on either side. We had to keep our voices low so as not to provoke the killer bees who live in the trees. Yikes!! It was exciting…

The first of many enchanted waterfalls we encountered

We climbed this waterfall! Like monkeys, scrambling up trees and rocks, or like Puma said “puma style.” It was amazing, and at moments terrifying.

Puma has no fear, standing on the edge of the steep waterfall we just climbed, snapping pictures.

And at the top, another waterfall to climb!

Puma is not only a trail ninja, leading us through the unmarked and hidden byways of the Chapada, but also a kitchen ninja. Quite a treat to have someone cook you breakfast and dinner while camping! Thanks Puma…

Pretty posh breakfast on the trail!

Cooling off after a big climb

This spider walked out to great us as we were navigating some exposed rocky scrublands on the ridge. It was the size of my hand.

This is Fumaca Falls, a really really really tall waterfall!! 2nd tallest in Brazil. There’s a little overhanging ledge where you can lie on your tummy and look down – a mind-altering experience…

Me with Fumaca Falls in the background

Savoring the scenery

Hiking out at the prettiest time of day… Thank you Chapada Diamantina!

Adventures on land cont´d, a partial update from one of Brazil’s most spectacular parks


Chapada Diamantina, where I have spent the last 3 days!

I was losing my mind a little bit by staying right next to the ocean and not being able to surf.  So…. I decided to head to Chapada Diamantina, one of Brazil’s crown jewels in terms of natural beauty.  Picture the land formations, mesas, and buttes of New Mexico, combined with tropical rain forests and waterfalls.

I have been here 3 and a half days and love it so much that I changed my bus ticket to stay another 4 days.  I brought my camera to the internet cafe hoping to upload some pictures, but am experiencing technical difficulties – so the big download is going to have to wait.  Thus far I have scaled a water fall the way people in

Fumaca falls, which I sat at the top of yesterday!

movies sometimes do, laid on the edge of a 400 meter cliff and looked down at another water fall, encountered a real live tarantula-esque spider, and walked up a dry river bed for many many miles in a tropical forest where we had to be quiet so as not to attract the killer bees.  AWESOME!!   Signing off from a little hole in the wall internet cafe where local kids come to play x-box, on a cobble stone street, in a town of painted pastel houses in the middle of a giant national park.

Sao Paulo Street Art


Urban equine


The other day I was waiting for the bus (as I often do) on one of the busier commercial roads in Florianopolis – it hosts a bunch of night clubs and upscale restaurants, a shishi supermarket, as well as a few gyms and auto dealerships.  Then what should come jingling by me, but a man on a HORSE AND BUGGY!!

Add this to the list of amazing things to see in Brazil.  I guess you are more likely to see this in a country that is developing as rapidly as Brazil is.  Fancy shopping malls, LOTs of construction, new homes, and interior decorating businesses alongside farmers and harvesters who still live off the land on the outskirts of the city  In the south of the island, weather worn old men still make a living off the sea and head out to the beaches every night with their hand nets.  It gives me pause to think about how this change gets negotiated by the people who are living through it, the fishermen whose kids are perhaps going to end up living very different lives than them, the separation from the natural world that occurs when people stop working with it directly every day.  But for now, I am just enjoying the jingle of buggy bells amidst the hum of midday traffic.

Urban Alligator!!!

Urban Alligator!!!

While riding my bike along the canal next to the major shopping mall in Florianopolis, I noticed a guy sitting on the banks staring at something below.  I slowed down to see what it was, and HOLD THE LINE!!!  It was an alligator!!!  15 feet away from the mid-day traffic jam.  It seemed unbothered, lying perfectly still on the edge of the canal in reptilian midday torpor.  Only the occasional blinking of its eyes indicated to us that it was still alive   Apparently alligators are not uncommon here, on this island that is mostly ecological preserves, even in the capital city, even right next to the biggest mall.   Jacaré is the word for alligator in Portuguese.  Bom Dia Jacaré!