Beaches, Boys and Carnaval
Trip Start Jan 20, 2004
88Trip End Feb 01, 2005
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The moment I arrived in Itacarè with my Brazilian and Swiss friends I fell in love with the town. It was dark and boys met the bus with wheelbarrows to tote bags to the pousada of your choice (or maybe theirs). They pushed the wheelbarrows with our bags in it over the cobblestones while I followed and went with the flow, letting my friends do all the talking.
The first day was spent walking to Prainha beach, which we discovered had been rated the 8th best beach in Brazil. The beaches around Itacarè were so different and much nicer than any of the other beaches I had been to on my trip so far. We walked past 3 beaches and then spent another hour walking through the forest until we got to Prainha, which was magnificent
Whilst eating dinner that night, Flavio brought another guy to our table whose name was Jacarè (alligator in English). Jacarè was a local berimbau maker and capoeira performer. I also think that he is a local safadinho. From the moment he sat next to me he was quite taken with me and kept staring at me intensely saying `Oh my God` and ´Que linda`. He was supposedly leading us to a party on the beach but walking through the dark dirt roads away from the main street I think that his aim was to take me somewhere dark to kiss me. Something he succeeded in doing - although the way he let his tongue guide its way to my mouth is not my favoured kissing style.
Later in the evening after having seemingly wandered the entire town listening to Jacarè play the berimbau (a curved stick with a string and a coconut on the bottom that is played with a stone and stick) and point out various sights, Jacarè and his friend who had teamed up with Debora took us to this lookout for more kissing. I think that my naivete wore off after Jacarè turned on the charm and suggested that we have sex on the beach
The following day we beach hopped some more small, pristine beaches, complete with palm trees and rocks at either end of the beach. Again, we had to walk through the forest and on our way to the final beach I got some amazing photos of the coast. At the last beach of the day, Itacarinha, we met up with Jacarè who then taught me how to surf. I had never been surfing before and I got up the first go, but fell off rather quickly. After a few goes and almost drowning from my inability to control the surfboard while paddling, I have decided that I´m not a surfista.
That evening I farewelled my new Brazilian buddies who were headed to Salvador for Carnaval, while I had decided to stay in Itacarè. Jacarè came to the hostel and invited me to a beach the next day with him and his friends, but I told him that I would wait until then to decide. Lucky I didn´t commit to anything as I was hideously sick all night and needed the next day to recover in bed, letting myself get well for Carnaval. That was the last I saw of Jacarè until my final night in Itacarè.
What I liked the most about Itacarè was that it was a little surfing town that seemed to be off the backpacker trail and consisted mostly of locals and Brazilian surfers or travellers. Every day I saw the same faces out and I became friendly with a few of the locals.
For Carnaval there was a big stage set up on the beach in front of a church and parades along the streets and waterfront. I joined in on a number of parades and samba´d down the street. Kids and bigger kids dressed up in these big, bright, oversized clown costumes, complete with gumboots and a mask and a hat or wig to cover their hair. They had ugly masks and had stuck rings through the noses and some were wearing up to four pairs of sunglasses. They would dance around the truck with the music in the parade and just wander all over the town.
At night it was customary to get many offers from men, all who wanted a kiss (and probably more). They would grab your arm and tell you how beautiful you were and that they wanted you to be their girlfriend. They would then beat their heart or kiss their hand. After 5 offers that I declined on the first night, the next I decided that I would go for whatever decent offer presented itself
On my final night in Itacarè and the final night of Carnaval, I went with the girls from the hostel to forrò dancing, which is partner dancing to slowish music. I was asked to dance by the guy Debora had kissed the first night there, and then his friend came up to me and danced with me. After a couple of songs I was suddenly being passionately kissed by Ranan and then had my neck taken hostage as he pressed kiss after kiss on my neck.
He asked me if I wanted to go to the festa with him so we left, but again naivete struck me and I didn´t realise that we would be going to the festa via the beach. Since most Brazilians live at home until they get married, they obviously use the beach as their second bedroom. During the day the beach is full of families and old people swimming and sitting at the beachside restaurants. By night the almost pitch black beach is inhabited by couples frolicking in various states of dress. I would never ever go to this beach during the day after walking past couples at the tables and in the sand.
At the festa we came across some of Ranan´s capoeira friends who were dancing beside a speaker playing reggae. We moved closer to the stage and I was captivated watching Ranan dance. He was so fluid and his skin was just so soft and smooth that I could have watched him all night.
Quintal club was one of the places along the beach where people were going. It wasn´t part of the Carnaval, just somewhere playing reggae and later trance music
Later, I was in Ranan´s arms facing the dancefloor when Jacarè came up to me and pulled my wrist hard. Ranan held me tight and then he and Jacarè started exchanging aggressive words. Not liking being in the middle I stepped free and went to Ariela and Georgia and told them that they were fighting over me. No sooner had I turned around than one of the most bizarre and incredible things happened. Ranan and Jacarè were fighting, capoeira style, in the middle of the dancefloor and people were clearing them room. Never have I had males fight over me before, let alone to capoeira fighters. It remains firmly ingrained in my memory, these two guys fighting over some dime-a-dozen foreign chick who couldn´t speak Portuguese and was leaving the following day.
If this wasn´t a good enough time to leave Itacarè there never would have been a better time.
What I learned
* I like the small towns off the backpacker circuit.
* The men in Itacarè are safadinhos and spend their lives romancing travellers.
* Brazilians have the softest, smoothest skin!!!!
* I´m quite addicted to the songs that were played at least 8 times a day at full bore during Carnaval.