From my journal today...
I write from the beach in South America. I roll this word over on my tongue. I never thought I would be here. It is windy so the waves are high and only two girls are playing in the waves as I sit upon the sand taking in the breathtaking view. Impanema beach is all mine. I find it quite intimate to be alone on a beach that rarely finds peace from the tramplings of feet and bodies. I am not foolish I chose to plunk down right next to a police officer watching the beach. When he leaves I leave. I love being at the beach by myself. It is an intensly personal experience for me. In Palm beach i wold drive to Juno beach in midday to eat lunch and watch the water with my private thoughts and the waves. I feel 18 again as I see the waves bulge in the distance, rising as they come closer and then pause briefly before crashing upon the shore.
Yesterday began beautifully, I woke up at 5:50am to run with a classmate by the ocean. The sun sets at 5pm so I get up earlier to make the most of the day light hours. Then we wandered over to the vegetable market with vendors selling every fruit imaginable cut and displayed with limitless samples. The fruit at the farmers market was unlike any other i've ever eaten. I never knew how sweet watermelon could taste. Or how sweetly pungent the smell of fresh cut flowers could be. I wish I could upload the pictures of the flowers because they were so beautiful they seemed unreal. Many of the flowers we get back at home are from South America so it should not surprise me that in their freshest cut they are so breathtaking. Ofcourse I bought some mangoes which reminded of the mangoes I grew up eating that grew upon my childhood mango tree in Miami. But then it rained. rained rained rained. not american rain. Brazilian rain. Oh yes the two are quite different. It rains. and rains. and rains. relentless unending rain trickling as though God created a leaky ocean in the sky. I am affected by the climate particularly because Rio is an outdoor city and the rain effectively cut off all that. It saddened me and Kashif heard the brunt of that. Sorry Kash :)
Living here and being a "native" is helping me recognize people as well. The most memorable character thus far is a beautiful golden brown golden retriever, a stray who wanders the streets of Impanema. What makes us laugh when we see him is his intense personality. He trots down the street looking about him at a brisk pace as though a corporate attorney on his way to an important meeting. Like in Turkey the strays pay people no mind. They are living their life and couldn't be bothered with us. It amazes me how they don't scare me in other countries but in my own country if a dog is on his lawn I am filled with fear that he will approach me. Just now this very stray trotted past me, paused, looking searchingly at me and went on his way. I wonder if he recongized me too.
Well I'm off now to have some dinner and pack for our trip to Parachi about three hours from Rio. We will be hiking the Atlantic rainforest and visiting the sugar cane colonial town. Im unsure if I will internet access (probably will) but if I dont, ciao until Sunday!