Ada's comment before we all loaded on the bus once again and bid farewell to her Pousada. She wasn't being rude but instead sincere. I'm quite sure goodbyes were not her forte', she seemed a bit sad, and she didn't want to delay our already late arriving bus. Our leather faced host with the Tom Waits voice was wonderful to us during our stay in Pontal Du Corouripe. Filling us in on local politics and history while we ate. Making her contribution to our understanding of the place. One of the spices that lend depth to a dish. I wanted to give her a hug anyway but thought it best to let it play out the way she preferred. No hug. Load up. The intense sun was smoking hot this morning and the bus was packed full with luggage and people. Not one seat open and luggage in the isles. The air conditioner was not doing the job we had hoped it would. Our driver was sweaty and I was sweaty. The trip would be about an hour to Praia Du Frances. We needed some ventilation and needed to get rolling. Amy and Peter said a short farewell to Ada and we were off.
The countryside is mostly what you'd expect along a coastal road. Lots of palms, a few glimpses of the beach here and there, sugar cane fields everywhere, and a stiff breeze blowing in off the ocean. The breeze felt so good. Like a cool drink of water after a bit of work in the sun. There were constant reminders we were in Brazil along the way. Stray dogs here and there, very basic dwellings most of which would be used for storage in the United States, not living. The road was rougher today than from Penedo, contributing to a pleasant rocking motion that helped me sleep off most of the trip.
The word passed around from Amy was that the house waiting for us at the end of todays short bus ride was big and much nicer than our accommodations with Ada. Confirmed upon arrival our house was big, had a pool and a yard with a small tiled courtyard that turned into a short sided futsol court at the whim of the boys. Short games to two in a twenty by twenty cover courtyard added a pleasant hum during our stay here. Even though the house had seven bedrooms and four bathrooms some of us had to sleep on the floor. Although I would describe the house as nice it struck me as a true representation of the country we were visiting. It looked good but, upon closer inspection, you had to let go of some of the details. The hot water was in extremely short supply. The mattresses where thin. There were no pillows and we had to use dish towels for the showers we took. Being that there were twenty one of us using the facilities the bathrooms had an unpleasant aroma and we would need to supply our own toilet paper. Still, somehow I found myself wanting to like it here. Much like a person would root for the underdog rather than the odds on favorite. The perfect mirror of my feelings toward Brazil. So much potential.
We arrived early enough in Praia Du Frances to unpack and get in a little beach time. The beach is why we were here, and if I'm honest it would prove to be a much better place to watch the world cup than Pontal Du Corouripe. After settling in for an hour or so we collectively headed down the street to the beach front. I cannot stress enough how beautiful the beaches are here. Praia Du Frances had a busy beach but it was far from crowded. The sand was fine like sugar and easy on the bottom of your feet. The breeze blew in cool from the ocean and the water temps were outstanding. The sun, after about 2:30 lost a lot of its' intensity, contributing to the perfectly balanced afternoon. The surroundings here are so special I can't imagine being on a nicer beach in my lifetime. After being here I don't care if I find a nicer beach in my lifetime. Having been to the top of K2 I wouldn't need to scale Everest. I took my fair share of turns trying to body surf but could only catch one decent ride into the beach. No matter, I would count my blessings tonight with full realization that today was a landmark day in my life. Another waypoint to measure the rest of days.
Adding to the luxury of the day, was the fact that we had a kitchen now and some good cooks to go along with it. Peter bought fresh fish and two kilos of huge fresh caught shrimp while we were in Corouripe and several people had been gracious enough to do some shopping while the others were at the beach. Dinner that night was great. The evenings we've had the company of the group for dinner have been some of the best moments of this trip for me. The meals are good and the conversations have been entertaining. Tonight, preparations were brought up a notch by the promise of the consolation game between Brazil and Holland. Unfortunately for us this cup has been a tale of two teams for Brazil. The one with Neymar and the one without. I admire Brazil's willingness to take risks on the field. Their style can be so much fun to watch, but without Neymar they don't have enough thread to sew the seems together. Against strong teams this fact is magnified even more because they exploit your weaknesses mercilessly. The goals came for the Netherlands in a similar fashion to the way they did for Germany against Brazil. The game was disappointing to watch. The disappointment washed away quickly with a great meal and the percussive sounds of two on two soccer in the courtyard.
Singing off from Praia Du Frances, Brazil, wishing you all my best on your way to K2, or Everest. Know that you will always have more than you need and never have less than you want.