Sunday, June 17, 2007

Casa de Barro and nearby scenary.

In a magestic valley far far away lives a simple and good people who live off the land and work hard to survive. To outsiders their life is romantic and fascinating and touring this incredible area to see the lovely landscapes complete with magnificant mountains, sweeping skies, wild waters, friendly folks and beautiful beasts brings pleasure to visitors. If you want to come remember that the only thing you should take with you is the memories.The approach to Robin and Binka's house called "Casa de Barro" which in English means House of Mud/Clay.
This picture was taken in early August when it had only rained once in the previous two months and thus you see a lot of dry and barren ground and wilting plants.
Once you come though the main entrance you are between the library/living room with high arching ceilings.
Facing the library/livingroom with my back to the kitchen and door to my right I took this picture. You can see the "Portuguese" tile around the arch of the ceiling and running up the left side.
A view into the kitchen from the courtyard.The courtyard which is surrounding on four sides by the house.
This door might look short but in fact it is probably 10 feet at its highest point.
Starting to feel more like a castle now?
Who wouldn't want to have this view out the living room of their house?
Some more cool tile on either side of the front door.
Time to head home.
Red, green and blue my favorite colors in the rain forest.
If you think getting your ear pierced with a piece of plastic is bad enough you should see the numbers (brands) burned into the heads of these little guys.
Curious? Robin told me that each calf, cow, bull is different and that there is always at least one in every herd that is a trouble maker and is constantly trying to escape. They even have to tie wood to these adventuresome ones to keep them from getting out of the pen and running off.
If you think this is lovely you should see the real thing!
If I could I would make my home in this tree to so that I could hang out and see these awesome views day and night.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Festa Junina

A traditional cultural festival on June 15th in Rosario da Limeira like hundreds of others held during this time of year throughout Brazil. Complete with music, line dancing (square dance type), hot Quintao (alcoholic cider), bonfire, pork rinds and more.
The crew upon arrival in Limeira heading to Junior's house to leave Lucy and Gustavo's bags as they were traveling the next day.
All dressed up in their festa best with pigtails and plaid.
Some traditional dancing with cowboy/girl getups and all.
Boots, jeans and cowboy hats.
Gustavo getting his groove on.
Jeh getting down with his bad self.
Lucy and Jeh playing "pull my finger" with Marlon looking on in shock and Matthieu "dancing" in the background:)
The crew (minus Lucy). Matieu, Jeh, Bobby and I in the back row and Marlon and Gustavo in front.
Marlon and Daiane shaking what their mammas gave them!
Once last dance for Lucy and Joao.
Matt, Matthew, Mathieu, Mateus or Frenchy cutting a rug.
The boy on the right liked taking pictures and having his picture taken.
Gustavo, Bobby and Matieu hamming it up for the cam.
More "forro". This is not what people normally wear.
Where are all the guys?
This was a pic of the performers on the stage before I got invited up to photograph not really the best vantage point.
This was a larger crowd in Rosario da Limeira then I had seen at Carnival.
Women do seem to outnumber guys or maybe it is just that the guys wanted to drink and not dance.
Burn baby burn.
A toast to great friends.
I was invited up on stage to take pictures. I am not sure if it was because I was the tall gringo or because I had the nicest camera at the festa but either way it was cool to get pics of the performers and audience from above the crowd.
Saying goodbye to a good friend is never easy so it was nice to get this photo a few hours before Lucy and I had to say bye. Shinning happy people everywhere!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dawn Trail: hiking in the dark to watch the sunrise!

The following pics were taking at the top of the Dawn Trail/Trilha Alvorado when I hiked it yesterday with Marlon, Lucy, Matthieu and Jeh. It was a good time but the sunrise was not as exceptional as I had hoped. The view from the top of this trail is amazing and a perfect place to watch the sun come up and this is probably why:) it is known as the Dawn Trail.
I didn't take any photos of the actual sunrise as I left my tripod at home but I surely plan to return at least one more time before heading home to get more/better pics.
Deforestation anyone? I wish I could go back and see how this was before man intervened or better yet turn the clock back and leave the land untouched as it was.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Itajaru climb.

The next most famous mountain in the area must be Itajaru. It is actually slightly higher than Graminha and requires some more treacherous climbing. We climbed yesterday but I was too tired to post the pictures until today. Graminha is more famous to the locals but on the way down from Itajaru we met two guys from Muriae (about 75 minutes by car) who were coming to hike up Itajaru and stay for the night. One of the two had done the hike 18 times and had stayed at the top on various occasions too.The crew prior to starting the hike. Blake, Bryan, Toni, Jeh and Matthieu (back) and Marlon, Gustavo and Lucy in front. Thanks to Robin for taking the pic and Matthieu for posting it on Facebook so I could steal it:)
Some of us caught a ride out with Robin while Matthieu, Toni and Marlon chose to walk the first part and wait for us to meet and get them for the last part of the drive.
For the first part Toni (the only person in our group to have already been to the top) led the way. In this picture you see Bryan and Toni is the one in front of him.
The trail got narrow at times and in fact near where this photo was taken we were almost run off the road by a herd of half a dozen or so cattle. They came bounding through the closed in woods and when they got near those of us at the front of our group they got spooked. We had gotten out of their way in time but had to warn the others and by yelling made scared the cattle even more thus they increased their speed but fortunately no one was hurt and the men tending the cattle caught up to them and calmed them down.
Cool lichen on the side of this tree.
Our final chance to fill up on water before we began our ascent to the top of Itajaru. This clean and clear water was very refreshing. It also meant we were almost out of the forest cover that had protetected us from the beating sun.
Each time we looked up and thought we were seeing the top we realized we were not near the peak but still had another climb to do.
As you can see our hard work was rewarded with amazing scenes such as this.
Graminha is the the mountain on the left.
Graminha is in the center of this photo. I was standing near where the landslide happened on Itajaru and photographing the valley and waterways running between it and the landslide at Graminha.
Intrigue in the forest!!!! According to legend the crosses mark the grave of a "wild" boy who had some sort of a disability and grew up fending for himself in this area. From time to time food was left for him and when he died and his body he was found he was burried under this tree. Who was this boy? Why did he live on his own? What made his family leave him in the woods?
One lovely example of forest flora:) I saw better flowers but wasn't able to photograph them.
Lucy tired but happy after our hike:)
Lose these?