April 24th, 2011 – Rose early and walked the empty town streets – what a ton of trash everywhere! Unbelievable! But, a little later on when life started happening street-side, one by one people came outdoors and cleaned it all up sparkling new.
VISA signs are everywhere – they hang from every street sign and are on every shop. They’re even on benches lining the streets. It appears as though this town is owned by VISA.
Walked through Praia do Forte to the Turtle Project, and took about an hour going through it. It is very tourista, but there are quite a variety of turtles and lots of information, so definitely worth it. After reading how it was started, it appears that it started out as a Good Samaritan effort that was then capitalized on, making some of the original principals quite wealthy.
After visiting the Turtle Project, I walked the beautiful beach, which is stunning and has cove after cove of gorgeous beaches and reefs. On the return walk, I rented some snorkel gear and spent an enjoyable 30 minutes in relatively shallow water watching fish and reefs.
The fellow who’s business it was to rent snorkel gear – Junior – introduced me to a cocktail vendor who was perched up just behind him with his umbrella covered drink stand. I purchased a Pina Colada, not the best I’ve ever had, and he totally skunked me – charged me DOUBLE what he should have! I had a strong feeling I’d been totally ripped off, so I planned to find out about it later on.
While sipping the Pina Colada, I met a lovely young engaged couple from Sao Paulo, and we got into an interesting conversation. Paula, a lawyer, and Cleber, an engineer currently working with an energy company, are both of Asian ancestry but were born in Brazil.
They’re both very concerned about the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the very few here in Brazil, and the mono crops of soybeans and cattle in Pantana (a western central state in Brazil). Brazil is starting to face an energy shortage, and Cleber was talking about the options of wind power they’re looking at. Unfortunately, here as everywhere, those who currently own the energy systems are not interested in seeing it change, according to Cleber. And the population and energy needs just keep growing!
Junior passed by us and invited us to his house, which is just back from the beach where his snorkel stand is. We joined him and had a tour of his home and upper deck with a fabulous view of the ocean.
I was very tired this evening, and crashed early. The rest of the dorm room girls didn’t show up all night long, so I finally got a pretty solid night’s sleep.