Back to the keyboard. It took a gastroenteritis or some very aggressive bacteria infesting my belly to get me sitting on this chair and finally back to typing on piglinaround. I guess my body embraced the illness as a cleansing and rest, a break from the continuous excitement and frenzy of life on the road. At times I stop and ask myself how I am supposed to process all the information into a post given the unstoppable stimuli I am receiving. The constant sunshine, the wonderful beaches and rich tourists populating them and offering an endless opportunity to make an income made life tough. So you can thank my liquid diarrhoea if you are happy to read this.
So it has been a long time indeed, and I have been through countless adventures in endless spheres of awareness and knowledge; which makes it all rather complicated to expose in words.
But hey, you gotta start somewhere. My new travel companion advises me start at my last destination, that will be the legendary Jericoacoara. I arrived there hitchhiking with Rafael, a hilarious Paulista I met in Taiba, a fisherman’s village on the outskirts of Fortaleza.
After 2 full days of hitch-hiking, 13 lifts and one minibus we had to paid a little, we reached the dunes surrounding Jericoacoara on the back of a construction truck, sitting on bricks and palm leaves, with 30 R in our pocket we had been given as charity from some drivers inspired by God. “I never pick any one up, but I felt God’s calling to help you guys so I will just take you to the next service station where you have better chances… have you had lunch yet?”. He and many others were a blessing, the trip was a tough one, but we enjoyed it fully. I particularly loved the night stop at Flecheiras beach. We hang our hammocks between palm trees on the beach; the moment we sat down an employee from the hotel La Casa di Pietra just beind us came to offer us two plates of pasta in shrimp sauce!
Arriving in Jeri I couldn’t but make comparisons with other seaside towns of the Brazilian north-eastern regions, especially Pipa, although the fact that Jeri only has three sandy roads and is in the middle of a National Park makes it my favourite. Here is a small reflection about these Babylons commonalities…
Babilônia do nordeste turístico é una galera morando em sua bagunça, onde natureza mecha com lixo, maconha com cocaína, amor com sombra, dinheiro com ilusão, consciência com ignorância.
La energia é enxada de loucura, vontade e sua expressão. As mulheres dependem de os homens por sair na rua de noite, o subir uma duna por alguns instantes de afastamento.
As praias som o sagrado lugar de contraste da beleza com o comercio, mercado espetacular de corpos humanos e de peixe, baixo olhos pesados, famintos e chapados.
Os italianos, modernos colonizadores intoxicados de dinheiro e tentações, estão no lugar certo para poder seguir seus costumes sim moléstias. Os argentinos chegam por as férias para curtir a cachaça, mas sem esquecer seus chimarrões mates.
Nós representamos aquela classe social nômade que vive da reciclagem da fruta e verdura avançado, do trabalho improvisado, das criações e representações nas fogueiras. Precisamos aprender a nos fechar a toda energia ruim para defender-nos, o que resulta difícil quando todo que queremos fazer es mexer na Babilônia para curtir sua loucura por uns momentos de reggae, dando beijos na boca e bailando pôr a lua e as estrelas.
In Jeri I overstayed my welcome at camping Natureza, since the owner got grumpy at me when he came to grips with the fact I was not going to sleep with him; he decided to close the kitchen at 9PM for everyone. I spent some good times there with the crazy jugglers’ crew, we painted a wall to explain how to recycle trash. We got so caught up with the cause we even produced a short movie for the local community, hoping to awaken their environmental conscience.
We planned the shortmovie and got excited for days, until on the 30th of June I finally acted my part. From dawn to 8 AM I walked around the more and the town dressed in organic waste, I collected some abandoned fruit and vegetables at the market and returned to the camping one last time for my first shampoo shower in Brasil.
That evening I had the opportunity to try juggling fire on poi-poi, swinging lit gasoline around my head and being surprised when I bashed it against my clothes but didn’t feel any burning. I skipped out into the centre of town where I took a peek into a telescope to see Saturn with its eight rings and its satellite. I was so excited, it felt like I had looked straight into God’s eye, I bragged around about what a fabulous day I was having so I stepped on a bbq twig which was sitting in the sand waiting to badly bruise my foot and bring me some pain. I left the campsite since Natureza kicked out into the streets a lesbian couple and their baby. We called all the musicians and night freaks over to Praia Amalhada to enjoy the fire, the stars and the late moonrise with us.
The next day, the local vendors woke us in dismay saying we were not allowed to put up camp in the beach, I realize I had once again wrecked my feet from all the runs to the sea over the sharp stones. My freshly new theory got reinforced: my happiness is proportional to my feet ache, perhaps as a reminder to stay grounded and empathic to the suffering of this world.
Jan Francese PH
I completed my stay in Jeri with a few days at Sitiu Paraiso, a beautiful oasis on the other side of the sand dune Duna do Por do Sol. It’s a simple, little ranch with tons of horses and coconut trees, where campers pay a small contribution for Seu Chico to buy oil to pump water up from the well. There is no other cooking facility than a wood oven, but the inhabitants of the few houses turned out to be simply wonderful, living together in an improvised community. We shared meals and good times, watching sunsets over the mangrove bushes, painting with watercolours in the rain, playing with circus toys, massaging each-other’s feet in the hammocks… until one morning I set off on the back of a jeep with my friend Sandra. We went to the small village of Chapadinha near Jijoca, where Nadia has founded an alternative school run by volunteers. We took the local children to the lagoon to fly kites, it was the first time in memory I played with paper birds. On the other side of the lagoon, secret preparations were taking place for our next adventure.
Leaving Jeri with Jan (PH)!