Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hoy Brazil!

May 20, 2011

Leaving Argentina

The peace that comes with being so high.

Hello. Goodbye.
Four months. Snap.

Backpacking thru Patagonia, Studying in Buenos Aires, Living with a family, making friends, and traveling sola. Yo conozco Argentina. Fui a Puerto Madryn, Bariloche, Calafate, Ushuaia, Mendoza, Tandil, Iguazu y Salta.  And now the time has come to say goodbye yet again, an act I feel I am beginning to perfect.

Having grown leaps and bounds as a person, a spanish speaker and a traveler- I love this country. I have learned a wealth of knowledge about life and love and what it means to journey through this time on earth. As I sit at the airport in Salta waiting for my 6am flight to board I take notice of my emotions and my current state of mind. My heart rate is normal, I´m not perspiring, no tears are forming...

Estoy Lista.
Change of perspective.

Three planes and 18 hours later… I arrived in Santa Catarina- an island off the coast of southern Brazil! Staying at the greatest hostel I´ve ever been in right on the ocean front. A huge beautiful breakfast with fresh juices and a wide rainbow of fruits with sandwiches, homemade swedish pancakes, and lots of love! Plus free beach toys from beach balls to kayaks and surf boards and not to mention a staff that makes us feel right at home and helps us with any of our wild touristy needs. And Mansuki, the papa chef, cooks an INCREDIBLE dinner a few nights each week so we all can sit and eat toghether. Reminds me of Mama Mario a bit. They even plan trips to show us around the island and parties to show us the night life… well long story short- they are just great. Welcome to a new home.

Saturday May 21st
Our beach. We are located on the right side of the bay.
Ocean view from my top bunk!

If interested in hostel see:

My first day I walked out barefoot and went for a run along the coast, stopped for some sand yoga after I found some treasures (shells) and then decided the water was too good to look at- so I jumped in! WOW. Hello Atlantic! Feeling so comforted to be back on an island and running in the sand I cruised back to the hostel collecting trash along the way. God always seems to supply me with a plastic bag as I begin the rubbish rounds- knowing I will fill it to the rim.

Resting around the hostel making new friends, I met a kind man from Mexico and we went on a walk around the small beach town as I practiced my Spanish and he his English. I have been able to communicate more or less with the Brazilians. Portuguese and Spanish are similar enough if one speaks slow and uses an abundance of facial expression and hand gestures--- something close to the main message can be retrieved.
I told my new friend about my 6 lovely ladies back at home and how someone basically daily bakes cookies. After missing home, my girls and the sweets. I made a quick stop by the supermercado and gathered all the necessities.

I offered a few Auzzie friends some cookie dough and they looked at me quizzically. When I explained to them it was normal to eat cookie dough, they tried at bite and enjoyed it but didn´t come back for seconds.  Same with the English. Maybe us Americans are doing something wrong? Or something SO right! Mmm… I love the dough just as much as the finished product :)

Back to the hostle I whipped up a batch of vegan banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and… they were the BEST cookies I´ve ever made! Honest to goodness they were divine. Thin and moist and crispy on the edges but soft and chewy in the center- needless to say I made many friends that night as I spread the cookies around the hostel family.

Sunday May 22nd
Lake and Samba
The next day I took a stroll and did some beach yoga again before taking a bus to a boat across the lake. Recommended to me by Mansuki, I enjoyed this little tug boat ride that was managed by Brazilian men who only spoke old Portuguese and whom had been working the same structure of floating wood since before my parents were even capable of reproducing.

Sitting on the dock of the bay...
Sweet and slow we boated past dozens of kite surfers and I became lost in the hillsides. Un-accesible by cars, the hillsides are scattered with homes right at the lakes edge. Each with it´s own pier taking the place of a drive-way parking garage. A handful of them for for sale signs and my mind played with the idea of living out here.

Literally this time, all alone. Peaceful front lake property surrounded by tropical rainforest.  I arrived at dock 16 and headed out to the cachoeiras- waterfalls. A small stroll through a collection of houses and a handful of shops- dock 16 doesn´t come close to being a “town.” Then a little hike up the hill and there I was. Waterfalls. Wild how falling water is so soothing and wonderous. A trickle in comparison to Iguazu of course, but an elegant place to rest, drink my tea, eat my lunch and read a little.

Coming back to the hostel was dinner night. Everyone eating the big BBQ together with a special mix of veggies on the side for me. After a talk about the mysteries of love with an Auzzie, it was time to go SAMBA! Off we were tin the hostels own VW van to a local hot dance spot. I danced with a handful of partners, most of whom were Brazilians. Dancing really is like a 3 minute relationship. Well one type of relationship- a type where the man leads.
My first and I spun in circles, slow circles but I couldn´t feel him leading me- too soft. Another one just moved his hips wildly and was more interested in being sensual than following the moves of Samba. Another man who stood over me at 6´4 was way too hard- literally put his hands on my hips and pushed them side to side- whoa buddy. Then there was the non-moving man. We stood there and made maybe three circles the whole song. Then there was the teacher- he counted and showed me a few moves.
Then… Mr. White Golf hat man- stole the show. He was both strong and smooth, gentle and considerate, noticed when I was off beat and shared a few new steps with me. He was SO happy! I wasn´t too comfortable with my Samba technique but having dance experience I could follow along. “Tranquila Tranquila” he would say. Not having had many great dance partners in my time- I am used to being the leader. Not this time, I had to slow down and just listen with my body to his lead. That is the key in partner dancing: having a man who knows how to lead and a woman who knows how to follow. Also, having a man who supports the woman. The man may set the foundation for the dance, but the woman adds the flair. Once I told him I was from California I swear his eyes lit up all the more and his hat almost flew off. I felt like telling him not everyone from California is a movie start, but it didn´t matter- we were Samba-ing!
All in all I´ve been thinking about this whole “travel” thing.  As with anything- it is what you make it. And as with anything (extreme the obvious extremes of course) there is no right or wrong. I had to take care of some buissness stuff today, but then I headed off to soak up the sun and the knowledge from my book. After a dip in the ocean I laid upon my sarong again and thought “Is this ok?” I am in Brazil and here I am, just napping on the beach- I should be out “doing something.” Then my father´s words came out from my memory file and said “It´s not what you do, but how you do it.” True.

Happy Pose!

What it comes down to is my happiness and the happiness of those around me. As long as my actions are elevating both- all is well in the world. Yes, there is something to be said for taking advantage of the unique opportunites here like the activities- tours- and local lands. But it is also just as important to take advantage of the open time, free responsibility and relaxing environment I am in. I could go on a tour and be pleasantly entertained all day or I could spend all day on the beach resting and exploring my mind. Both are good options and both are readily available here and now- where they may not be so easily accessible back at home.

Monday May 23rd
Now my fourth day at this hostle I have grown closer to the folk here than at any other hostle I´ve been too. Seeing people come and seeing people go. It has been a perfect set-up for a social study. Life in the hostels are different than life everywhere else. EVERYONE is on the move and it is expected for everyone to continue being on the move- but for the time, here and now, the majority wants to have a good time. And what often comes with having a good time- is spending time with others. People are open to being friends and many want you to come along on their adventure for the day. All eating, sleeping, playing in the same space makes an environment conducive to a more rapid growth of relationships.
A local artist spreads the love.
There are hearts on trash cans, telephone poles, sidewalks, ect...
All in beauty and clear view for all who pass by.
I wonder how many people see them?

As I was laying in the soft white sand today, I realized all the more (I feel like I write this in every one of my blog posts, but it is a lesson I continue to learn…) Love is all that matters. It is the essence of life and life is all the brighter with love in it. First love of oneself in necessary and then when the right person comes along at the right time- sharing that love and life with another is incredible. A type of travel in and of itself. There has no doubt been times on this trip where I have thought of having a lover with me, or even sharing in this journey with friends and family. I think it is normal to want to share the beautiful things with beautiful people. Get their perspective of the same things, allow your energies to mix and let yourself radiate because of thier contagious joy.

I spoke last night with an Australian friend and we shared some of our own love stories as we were open to eachother´s viewpoints/ advice. That has been one of the most glorious things about traveling- people open up. I am not sure if it is because they are more relaxed or because they know we are going to split ways anyways so why not just let it out and see what happens. Or if it´s just a way to pour the information out in hopes of becoming friends faster. Or if it is because we are all away from our usual support circles... that we utilize eachother for that loving assistance.
Perhaps it´s a mixture of it all.

Tuesday May 24th

Brazilian style and for 2 hours only...
can they make it???

 Ten friends and I embarked on an hour and half hike up and over the hill sheltering our hostle. Through the jungle trail and guided with our very own River guide (a sweet dog who lives on the street and walked with us the few miles to the beach. 

Meet River. AKA Mr. Incredible.
Upon returning home we opted to take the bus
in the mist of the cool night and...
they did not allow 4 leggedfriends aboard.
The next day and after navigating 6 miles on his own-
River was once again at our doorstep.
After making it past the Tarantula and Ant Hills with the vicious attackers on the forefront (my friend accidentally stepped in one, thus tearing down their civilization in a single step and recieving a stinging foot for the rest of the day in rapid karma.)

Buena vista from the top of the world.
 On the other side there was a long white coastline with sand so soft it felt like walking in powdered sugar. Upon arriving, there was one Brazilian man with his sidekick (who quickly became River´s best bud) and not another soul in sight. All the men united over the round object filled with air and played soccer for hours. Amazing how something as simple as a ball can unite a group of people and offer stimulation them for hours.

The men played soccer as the woman sat in the sand and spoke of Love. We laughed at ourselves for realizing how gender sterotypic this was- but I suppose some generalizations hold truth.

 Wed May 25th

Joaquina Beach- Sandboard Time!
the perfect place for photo shoots and reflection on the Majesty of Nature herself...
Exploring the dunes with a sweet canadian chica, two cute swedish ladies, two charming german men and a friend I made at the Samba dance night... we had ourself one sandy fiesta!  
We found something fun along the way;
although a bit one sided
they could support us :)

The little boy is without a doubt the best part of this picture-
He came out of nowhere!

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.  ~Kahlil Gibran

My first time in mountains of sand!
I felt like I was in the Sahara!

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.  ~John Muir

If at first you don´t succeed...

Dust yourself off and try again!

"The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man."

And the night just got better!
This incredible woman makes these bombom chocolates by hand in her kitchen
(which fortunately happens to be right next door to our hostle)
and they come by nightly to sell them to us. 12,000 they sell during the month of January!
Mmm only 1.50 real (so like .75 cents)
The best chocolates I´ve EVER had. Period.
Plus... Mr Chocolate man knows I´m their biggest fan and calls me sweet things ;)

And then...
I adapted fully back into the island way of life.
A life I am all to familiar with, but have desensitized myself to after living in Buenos Aires for four months and traveling around south america- on the go go go solo.

My view for the past 10 days.
A beautiful wonderful time of rejuvenation and peace. Self exploration more than local exploration. After a few days of settling in I became fully comfortable with il bel far niente- italian for "the art of doing nothing." Walking, swimming, eating, playing, yoga-ing, friend making, dancing, reading, writing, ect... The art of doing nothing.

A new perspective on the art of traveling as well. Staying in the same beachside hostle for 10 days provided me with a unique opportunity to say hello and goodbye plenty of times, as well as see how the mixture of backpackers directly create the atmosphere. Party troops to beach side tanners to fellow nothing doers, there is an ecclectic arrangement of people on foot that are circling the world. And to live with them, eat with them, share stories and good times with them has been a true joy indeed.

As I speedily type this blog entry I await my carraige that will transport me to the next adventure. I will fly to Rio today and begin my two weeks at a WWOOF yoga camp. I will off the web for that time and will fully indulge in the 4am daily meditaion, yoga, good food, beautiful people and perfect nature that I will soon be introduced too.

Here´s to continuing the journey.


I so needed that. To make cookies, but really to make a bit of home and spread the love. It satisfied my sweet tooth as it pleased my heart. Then when I gave a friend a massage- Kyria was alive and glowing! I realized that really, “home” can be anywhere. What is important is to remember what makes me “me” and then nourish that. Wherever I am (although the ocean may not always be at my doorstep) I can be right at home. More than anything, it is about a mindset. Allowing myself to ahhh exhale and rest. Allowing myself to let it go and be open to possibility and the goodtimes around me.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thoughts of Amor as the Sunlight washes my hair.

Love is alive.
It needs to be welcomed, openly accepted, and nurtured.
If you have it- give thanks and support it.

Love is whatever you make it.
It can be one night. It can be a lifetime.
It can be messy. It can be magic.
It can be everything, or it can be non-existent.

It is your choice and your responsibility to decide what role Love will play in your life.
If it will take the lead or be left to playing "Man number 3 in the cafe window."
You decide.

To love oneself
 is the beginning of a lifelong romance.
- Oscar Wilde

The key to attaining the perfect love for you, is to find someone with a similar understanding of Love.
Free love, strong love, fun love, wild love, reliable love, experimental, family, friend, short, holy, ect... The possibilities are as endless as the people who seek it.

Sharing life, time, energy and soul with another is an experience all should be so blessed to know. But it is not the only experience. Truly loving oneself first is the foundation that can support fully loving another.

Each with our own backgrounds, beliefs, alignment in the stars, and living environments we create our own unique needs of love and ways in which we express it. If we are able to identify what our needs, desires and love languages are then we are all the more likely to satisfy our heart´s longing because we will be able to relate each of those to our lover. How could we ever satisfy a hunger we cannot identify? While some may be deeply intune with their instinct and thus be able to offer you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it and how... the majority understandably need a little assistance.

 It is like going into a restaurant and assuming the waiter already knows what you want and how you want it prepared. Sure it is their job to bring you the yummy food that you are craving, but how could you ever expect them to make that choice for you? It is an unfair pressure to place on the server and it is also likely to end in dissapointment for you.

Some believe that "true love knows all" and while this may be true, sometimes even the truest of love needs a little nudge in the right direction.  If you are not satisfied in your relationship, it is only you who can mobilize the change that is necessary. Just as one places a request at a restaurant, it is not rude or demanding to ask for what you need. Sharing that with your lover is often accepted with respect that you know what you want and admiration that you are helping them to supply that for you.

Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find all the barriers
within yourself that you have built against it.
- Rumi

We are all Love Servers. But if we want to be truly pleased with the love we recieve, we have to make our request clear and deliever it in a way that the server can understand. Once we are able to do this, and on a regular basis- we take away much unnecessary pressure and dissapointment. The game of gambling has no place beyond the poker table and absolutely should not be applied to a treasure as valuable as Love.

In the case that the server cannot supply what you are asking for in the present moment, I see only two options. The first, change your order and be equally as happy with the new dish or the second: Leave and find a new server that can satisfy your needs.

As in any relationship from the tides of the ocean´s sea to the bond between two beings- there is a give and take. To serve and to be served in the fullest joy, aiming to please your lover and offer only the most delicious and nutritious specials of the day. Mmm... if only Love came with a menu and cookbook.
But where is the fun, exploration and creativity in that?

Friday, May 27, 2011

El fin de Argentina

A brief look at some final adventures in BsAs...

Acrobacia en Tela

Prepping for the 360 flip...It´s all mental...
half way there...

 Yummy Treats

Ginger, Lemon, Honey, Cinnamon Cure any wound Tea

Homemade roasted peanuts

Many Multi Mmmazing Fruit cake


Pre Oven Easter Peanut Butter Cookies


Post Oven

Li´s Homemade Sushi

Iguazu Falls

Exploring wild bugs in the botanical gardens

Un lugar de magia

Soul Sisters
Miners Unite!


Power Crystal

Saying Goodbyes:

Night on the Roof

Share the children´s joy

final foto.

Light Time*

 Goodbye City of Buenos Aires... Hello Salta!

May 16th

Tour around northern Salta: Humahuaca and Jujuy
Old Incan ruins
Lots of Ass.

Largest salt flats in Argentina
It covers an area of 3,200 mi²
La Montaña de Siete Colores

May 17th

Walk around downtown Salta
and Haircut day!
(That´s my "I´ve completely gone wild, but am ok with it" look)

May 18th

Horseback Riding at the Campo!
The BEST "tour" I´ve done thus far! Felt like jsut going to a friends ranch and hanging out on horseback, enjoy a huge asado (with lots of roasted veggies for me!) and then enjoying the full moon with the absence of all city lights. So laid back, as most things in Argentina we didn´t even have to sign a waiver (I think that obsession is most profound in the US of A) and as most men in Argentina, they never failed to be overly flirty.
A perfect day, a goofy tour guide and 4 fellow companions that soon became good friends. Not to mention... the first time ever that I galloped! (One of the scariest things I have ever done in my entire life! I even contemplated the idea of jumping off the full speed mammel, but then my thighs kicked in and just squeesed with all thier might as I pulled back on the reigns and whew... he stopped. What a rush, and one I chose not to do again. But hey, I tried something new!)

The home from the 1800´s
Wide Open Spaces
Dog followed the road, horse followed the dog, I followed the horse.
Ps: take notice of horse´s ears- he was on edge the whole time which needless to say,
made me a tad nervous too. But I made it out a stronger braver me :)
Meet Nicole: 3 going on 30.
Meet Mr. Goat, he thinks he´s a dog.
One of the best sunsets of my life.
Nature in it´s purest form at every angle.

May 19th

Hiked to the vista point of Salta. Hiked 1070 steps to be exact. Fortunately I forgot my camera, so I just enjoyed taking in the surroundings the old fashioned way: eyesight. Works well.

May 20th
Up at 5am and off to take 3 planes to land in BRAZIL!

Rainbows are everywhere.