-- Story by Erin --
Monday, Nov 19th: We drove back down the
long, twisty road from São Joaquim to the main highway headed for Florianopolis and Santa
Catarina Island. After a half hour visit to the nice and friendly tourist information
office, we got directions to Joaquim beach on the east coast -- The sand is white and
baby-powder soft. Surfers abound on this beach.
We were on our way to meet some fellow overland bikers staying here, Anne and Jason
from the UK www.2wheels1world.com. We've
been communicating via email for several months now, and were anxious to meet each
other. They have been in Latin America (started in Mexico) for a year now. Both are
on their own bikes, new model BMW's. After we arrived and were standing around the bikes
in the parking lot of the hotel chatting to Anne and Jason, another biker on a BMW pulls
in whose name is Sterling. He's obviously a traveller like us because we recognized all
the gear on the bike. Turns out he's an American guy from Long Island, about 36, who fell
in love with Brazil many years ago. He keeps a bike here now in Sao Paolo and returns
every year to spend about 4 months traveling around. For eight months each year he has a
tree spraying business in Long Island. What luck to be in the company of kindred
spirits! We spent that night eating a great seafood stew and beer on the beach and
swapping tall tales.
Tuesday morning and we are still swapping stories over a long, delicious breakfast with
our new friends, enjoying the quiet of the beach. Took a long walk down the beach with
Anne and Jason while Sterling went out scouting the island. Chris and I got very
sunburned! Sat around the pool on the roof of the hotel for a short while then went off to
find Stoppa, the tattoo artist that Gabriel in Buenos Aires recommended to us in the small
fishing village of Barra da Lagoa. Chris wants to get a tattoo from him. We met Stoppa and
his wife at their beautiful home, across a little waterway used by the fishermen. The only
way to get to their house is by swing bridge (which is currently being refurbished) or by
little ferryboat for free. He has an old Harley Davidson motorcycle on top of his house
and at night it's all lit up. Very interesting guy. That night met Stoppa, his wife Preta
and their daughter for dinner in the town of Barra da Lagoa where they live. They
recommended a top-notch seafood restaurant and we gorged on shrimp prepared five different
ways, salad, rice and chips all for just US$4pp including beers.
On Wednesday, Anne, Jason, Chris and I decided to leave and find a campground near the
resort where the upcoming BMW meeting will be held. Tourist information recommended one in
particular. We found it after much effort and pitched our tents. A bit disappointing as it
had little grass and big horseflies that ruthlessly bite you. At night we had to fend off
the mosquitoes. During the day we pulled into the resort to make an appearance at the BMW
meeting but no one was there yet. Sterling found us at the campground and shared our pasta
dinner together, while he told us of his luck in meeting some great surfer-dudes who
invited him to stay in their house for as long as he wants.
Thursday, Nov 22nd: Thanksgiving back home. Didnt sleep well the night
before because it was hot and humid. Also, the horseflies were at us again this morning
and all through breakfast. We tossed around the idea of leaving the campground and finding
a hotel. Didnt take long for all of us to agree that was the best thing to do. Now
we are sharing a nice room in a hotel right on the beach (cant get much closer to
the surf!) and near the resort where we will go to meet fellow BMW enthusiasts.
The next morning Chris and I make a run to the resort to
make contact with the BMW club president and meet some of their members. We were
greeted warmly at the reception area by the president, Mr. Diogenes, and another member
named Walter. They generously gave us t-shirts, hats, and stickers for our bikes,
and then Walter escorted us down to the pool to see more of the place. The resort is
huge and obviously the most posh on the island. We arrive at the pool just in time
for the aqua-aerobics session, but alas we forgot our bathing suits. We opt instead
to take cover in the shade under a thatched umbrella and watch the whole scene incognito.
Several members recognize us and come over to have a chat. We manage pretty
well speaking Spanish and understanding their Portuguese when spoken slowly. The
president's wife (Adriana) greets us with open arms (literally) and enthusiastically
invites us to dinner that night. We say we have two other English friends on BMW's
with us and she says to bring them along.
Getting ourselves invited to dinner is becoming a habit now
in Brazil. We'll certainly miss it when we leave. We all dressed up in our
best clothes (which isn't saying much unfortunately!) and Anne and I dug around for some
old makeup we had been carrying "just in case..." We arrive and the
president and his wife greet us like old friends. Diogenes is in a dapper white suit
and black had and she in a lovely black evening dress. Most of the women were
dressed to the nines and so were the men. The buffet dinner was much like being at a
wedding with the usual fair, but the entertainment was pure Brazilian. The first
band was a famous (so we were told) Brazilian gaucho folk band with the leader playing the
squeeze box (accordion), with 3 guitar players and a drummer. They were all dressed
in typical gaucho style with the baggy pleated pants and sash around the waist----very
distinctive. The second band was a typical wedding-style band playing oldies and
popular songs you can dance to. After midnight we called it a night.
Saturday morning was the big ride around the island with the
club. At 11:00 a.m. we pulled up to the resort and met the others. It was like
being in a new model BMW motorcycle parade. Most of the bikes were new K1200LT's,
R1150GS's, R1150RT's, and few R1100RT's. To round it out there was also an R1100R,
an old BMW with sidecar, and a Harley Davidson. The riders were fairly conservative
and didn't make it into a race (like some other rides we've been on.) Jason and
Sterling were the two pranksters in the bunch popping wheelies and weaving in and out.
The ride included the BMW cars as well, with one car equipped with a built-in
cameraman filming the ride through the roof of the car. We stopped at a lookout
point about three quarters of the way through the ride and had an ice-cream. The
rest of the group got on their bikes and rode off to the lunch spot (which we thought was
at Joaquim Beach). We got to spend some time with Roberto and Irene, a lovely couple
we first met last week in Torres. Since we knew our way to that beach we
lagged behind a few minutes more to finish our ice-creams. When we got to the beach
we found no one there so that was effectively the end of the group ride for us.
Jason, Sterling, Chris and I had lunch in Barra de Lagoa.
Chris had wanted to get a tattoo from Stoppa whilst here but
unfortunately Stoppa mother had taken ill and was in the hospital. The tattoo was
just not meant to be, at least not now. Tonight we have one last meal with Anne and
Jason and take our last notes from them on where to go and what to see in Bolivia, Peru,
Ecuador, Central America and Mexico. We'll catch them again in Argentina, and spend
Xmas together in Ushuaia. Tomorrow they will go south and eventually see Richard, Tania
and the Moto Café crowd in Porto Alegre. We go inland in the direction of the Foz
de Iquazu on the border with Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.
|Stoppa showed up
at the campground with 2 trikes
Stoppa, Preta, and their daughter
Adolpho outside the club meeting
A fair number of BMWs in Brazil!
|Pool aerobics at
The very friendly Mr & Mrs President of BMW Clube do Brasil
Anne and Jason having a go on the dance-floor
View from the room we shared in Dos Ingleses
A typical drink stand on Brazilian beaches