Brasil 2022-23 Diary/Photo Journal

Brasil 2022 is the new Brasil 2020 as this trip was planned for that fateful year and postponed because of Covid.  Inasmuch as we were disappointed that we could not pursue our adventure with one of our favorite travel companions, Cindy, we were not as saddened by this as much as Cindy.  According to our sources, when we confirmed we were making this trip and going to spend at least 2-3 months with Cindy, she was wiggling with excitement (or perhaps, that was just her normal shaking when driving on Brasil roads - I'm going with wiggling with excitement).

This trip went from a few months to 5.5 months so a tremendous amount of preparation was planned; however, life has a way of inserting obstacles to the best laid plans and alas, we scrambled to get things done up until the last minute.  We made it to Brasil and here we go...

Week 001 of July 31 - August 06, 2022

On July 31st, we left out of SNA or John Wayne/Santa Ana airport and with a quick jaunt to Houston and a change of planes/airlines in Ft. Lauderdale, we finally arrived in Curitiba (via Sao Paulo) about 19 hours later.  It was quite the day but we still had enough adrenaline to be excited to see our friend, Cassio, pick us up at the airport. 

After settling in at Cassio's magnificent home, we were off to get our cell phones set up, address a bank issue, check out Cindy's mechanic, make family visit arrangements, update Gerson's driver's license, prepare for our mini-trip to the northeast of Brasil and adjust to the Curitiba winter (cooler) weather. 

We definitely made time for a lunch with familia at nephew Felipe's wine shop and bistro (Adega Boulevard) and after eight years, it was great to see part of the clan.  Gerson had to hurry off to start his driver's license process and I still cannot believe that Brasil actually requires a "psychological" exam in order to receive a driver's license.  Experiencing the way the Brazilians drive and Gerson passed that part of the test, there is question as to the merit of said driver's exam *lol*.

Goodbye Huntington Beach
and
Hello Curitiba
Lunch with Family:  Carlos (Marjorie's husband), Gerson,
Tia Marilda, Marjorie (Gerson's sister), Tio Sebasti
o,
Rodrigo (nephew), Marina (Rodrigo's partner), Felipe (nephew),
Thiago (Flavia's partner) and Flavia (niece).


We took a little time to walk around Cassio's compound and got to meet some of the locals.  When Cassio said there were 'little monkeys' on his substantial property, I had no idea they were so small (about the size of a squirrel) and adorable.  We had several Black-tufted Marmosets (Mico-estrela) pay us a visit along with being accompanied on our walk by a largish black bird (Penelope Jacquacu or Spix's guan or Jacu for short), somewhat tamed by the caretaker who also lives on the property.  Unfortunately, I had special attention paid to me by other locals and several mosquito bites later, I determined to put off further exploration until I was covered in bug repellent. 


Views down and up
Cassio's beautiful property

Black-tufted (Mico-estrela) monkeys
are adorable

One nosey Jacu (Penelope Jacquacu-Spix's guan)


We had a whirlwind two days in Curitiba and then we were off to the northeast of Brasil.  We were asked to join our friends (Rodrigo, Anna, Cassio and Grazi) on a 12-day adventure, leaving from Fortaleza and peaking at Tatajuba, with a return to Taiba.  Rodrigo, an excellent kiteboarder, arranged the trip so that kiteboarding lessons could be taken by Gerson and Cassio and us women, well we had pools and beaches to keep us occupied.  As I had minor hand surgery just a month before, I was a 'no' for kiteboarding (or in my case, kite-dragging). 

And, as our luck would have it, Gerson and I picked up Covid (Omicron) - probably four days earlier from the various flights and airports we traveled on and through to get to Brasil.  I actually brought several home tests with us so I took the test on August 3rd, before we were to have lunch with the family, and I tested negative.  The next day I felt a little sluggish and had a sore throat so I took another test and the results were positive.  So, I was forced into isolation at our condo in Cumbuco (just north of Fortaleza) or wearing a double mask, staying away from people and staying downwind of our friends.  Gerson was right behind me and a couple of days later, he was positive as well.  Fortunately, any discomfort we had was gone in two days and other than testing positive, we felt fine.

I have to thank Grazi and Anna (and Cassio and Rodrigo) for making sure we had delicious food to eat as they would prepare dinner and Gerson would pop over to their unit and pick up our care package.  Needless to say, enjoying lobster bisque, grilled shrimp, fish stew and other wonderful food helped us get better quickly.  As a side note, although we spent the entire 12 days with Cassio and Grazi (shared the truck, pool time together, etc.), neither of them contracted covid. 

Leaving for Fortaleza:  Anna and Rodrigo,
Grazi and Cassio

Brasil map - Fortaleza is int he northeast
Our roundtrip route to Cumbuco,
Jericoacoara, Tatajuba and back to Taiba.


Grazi and Anna happily preparing our
'get better' food

We enjoyed the lobster bisque, shrimp and
potatoes

Love the huge avocados in Brasil

So here I write about how life can be painful in the blink of an eye or in the single ring of the phone.  In the early morning hours after the night that Anna and Grazi made our wonderful dinner, Anna received a call from her brother that her father had died earlier that night from a heart attack.  Eli Loyola was a renowned architect in Curitiba and he and Anna worked together in their family business - Loyola Arquitetos.  Eli Loyola left a remarkable imprint on the city's skyline and through his gifted daughter, Anna, will continue to do so.

Anna and Rodrigo caught a 6:30 a.m. flight back to Curitiba and shared the family's grief over the loss of their beloved patriarch.  The four of us remaining continued on, feeling that something was missing the entire time.


Wai Wai Combuco Eco Residence

Grazi took a great selfie:
Cassio, Gerson, Louise (social distancing),
Anna and Rodrigo


 
Enjoying the pool

View from the condominium
 

With the loss of Rodrigo and Anna and still being careful about covid, Gerson and Cassio only took one kiteboarding lesson (the first day) and decided to avoid any close contact with other people.  We did venture out together to a nearby lagoon, Lagoa do Cauipe, and just walked the shore, watched the kiteboarders, took a quick swim and had fun driving around the sand dunes and mangroves.


Gerson having fun riding in the back
Lagoa do Cauipe

Wee shells were everywhere
A rather tight bridge crossing


Enjoying a walk along Cumbuco beach

Checking out the catch of the day

Typical fishing skiffs used by the locals

The trip along the northeast coast was meant to be centered on kiteboarding and thus, a very windy trip.  The winds would limit time on the beaches so we enjoyed some time by the pool, keeping ourselves separated from others doing the same.  Wai Wai Eco Residences was a beautiful place to stay and after a few days, we were off to the next beach.

 

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