Saturday, December 10, 2011

The unexpected desert.

Despite what follows, I assure you this is NOT a shameless plug for a job with the Maranhão Tourism Board.

THOUGH, if someone from said Board is reading this and would like to offer me said job - thank you, I accept!

It won't take take me long to pack. I promise to improve meu Português. E por favor, eu posso trazer meu cão Georgia e marido junto? 


Before Casa de Areia,
I never even knew Brazil had a desert.

But here it is.
This map from here.
Lençóis Maranhenses, in the northeastern state of Maranhão.

Sorry for the bad map, but it was very hard to even find one to show you.

Every Brazilian we met, who knew we were heading to Lençóis, told us they wanted to go there too, one day. Every Brazilian who'd already been there told us the place was magic.

Yet, I don't believe Lençóis is too well known outside of the country. So if you're one of those enquiring types who like to learn stuff [and see pretty pictures like this one] ... 
...please click HERE before you go any further. You won't regret it.


One day, we took a boat down Rio Preguiças [see map above for bearings] to the Atlantic Ocean.
We stopped at this place for agua de coco...

...where we met 1 sad cow.

A bunch of chickens and ducks destined for the cooking pot.
And some pesky monkeys, whose job was to entertain and/or annoy the tourists.
Somewhere on the other side of this little dune, under that idyllic-looking thatched hut...
...I also discovered the truth in that old saying - let sleeping dogs lie.

These upside-down pictures were taken as I beat a hasty retreat from the charging dog.

The dog was tied to a chain.
Unfortunately for me, the chain was not tied to anything else. Let me tell you, it's tough trying to calm a dog in broken Portuguese.

It was a shame I wasn't able, brave or stupid enough to go back up to him to take a picture of his nails because they were the most horrible I've ever seen on any dog. Ever.

I tried googling a picture of a dog with long nails. This was the most horrid I could find.
This pic from here.    
The nails on that desert dog were closer to this.
This pic from here.

I guess that's what happens when you sleep too much, run around sand dunes all your life and have no access to a good dog groomer.


Further downstream, we stopped at Mandacarú, a little village famous for its lighthouse.
The 1st thing I saw were these exciting homemade cachaças.
I would have bought one but I wasn't really in the mood to have the runs on a little boat in the company of strangers.

The Other Half and I never got to climb that famous lighthouse. We got sidetracked by these locals instead.
I think they had a good day.   
And so did we.


Just 5 minutes or so away was Caburé, where we stopped for lunch. 
The food was nothing to write home about.
But have a look at this!
It's exactly what every good restaurant needs.
A hammock room where diners can settle down for a snooze after lunch.


The town of Barreirinhas was a short free ferry ride across the river from our pousada.
The town was small, sleepy and hot. The most exciting thing happening that day was the mattress exhibition in the plaza. It was so exciting, I failed to take a picture of it.

We think this is the local public transport.
We never got to try it though because the town was small enough to walk round. [A few times.] [In one morning.]

I found some Havaianas that cost 7 reais, or almost AUD4.Now you know how much those scammers shops in Paris, Singapore and Sydney are making on these flipflops. 
The market was a lot of fun.

The people were chatty and friendly.
We even got to meet some local vandals. 

Here are some blurry pictures taken from the bus, between São Luís [the capital of Maranhão] and Barreirinhas. I include them here just to give you an idea of what rural Brazil looks like.

Maranhão may be one of the poorest states in Brazil...
...but sometimes, there's money for a satellite dish.

And an hour of happiness may just be found at a pool table...
...or a dusty futebol field.


Last but not least, our day in the unexpected desert.

At this point in the trip, I gave up any plan of retiring in Colonia del Sacramento and we started googling real estate in Maranhão instead.

In case the job at the tourism board doesn't pan out, perhaps I should start doing a course in dog grooming.

A girl can dream, right?

Some interesting reading.
Brazil's scheme to tackle poverty.

If the states of Brazil were countries, Maranhão would be El Salvador.


verobirdie said...

Beautiful pictures.
You're right, a girl can dream...

rottrover said...

The desert is beautiful! Who knew??

Jan said...

Since the most exciting place I go is the supermarket, I really enjoyed this tour. The satellite dish cracked me up. Loved the dog pictures as you probably figured your readers would.

Anonymous said...

Hey there Georgia

We've nominated you for the Liebster blog award. There are a few rules (of course) and you can check them out on our blog. :)


georgia little pea said...

Hey Fab, thank you! That's one we haven't heard of :) The Typist is crook (again) but I'll get her to work on it as soon as she can think (again). Hugs x

Karen Friesecke said...

Nice shots! I didn't know that Brazil had a desert, either.

Kristine said...

Oh wow, I had no idea Brazil had a desert either, but it looks incredible. I so admire you for checking out these very different places. If I was to visit, I'd probably stick to the typical tourist spots, not even considering there could be something else. You really know how to have an adventure!

Sage said...

I think your Typist definitely has a future in the travel industry! I've learned more about Brazil today than I ever did. The desert is quite beautiful!

Laura S Reading said...

I have been away so very very long, but now I see you have been up to some very interesting adventures.
Amazing photos. Even the ones you took while running for your life!

I will say the pic of the human nails creeps me out.

georgia little pea said...

It's an extraordinary desert. Quite unlike any I've been to. Don't know if anyone is reading the link (probably not, with Christmas shopping and tree trimming to think about!) but those freshwater lakes are amazing.

Off the beaten track is ALWAYS more interesting, Kristine. And usually way more fun! :)