May 23rd, 2011 – This was to be my last full day in Brazil. Breakfast was a little late being served at Hostel Che Legaro, but finally it was all on the table by 8:30 or so. After breakfast I set out for a walk in a contemplative mood – this would be my last relaxing day, as the following day would be all about traveling back to the U.S. I would be leaving Paraty in the morning, taking several buses to get to the Airport in Sao Paulo, and catching a flight at 9 p.m. for Dallas, where I would connect through to Los Angeles, and be picked up by a shuttle service to arrive back in Palm Springs. I decided not to think about it, and to focus on my last day in Paraty.
I crossed over the waterway footbridge and walked up the beach to a kayak rental shop where I checked on the price. He didn’t have the type of kayak I was looking for, so he suggested I try the shops over the hill along the beach to the north. It was a short walk up the cobblestone street over the hill – stunning views – that descended down on to beach town of Jabaquara. The beach was quiet – no one out on it yet. The main street running along the beach was lined with many Hostels, Hotels and Pousadas.
The Hostel that rented the kayaks had the style of kayak I was looking for, and I rented it for 2 hours. I paddled out to and around an island where I watched fishermen setting out their nets, cormorants drying their wings, and a large heron eyeing me closely. From there I paddled a long stretch of water to a distant, privately owned beach. Leaving the kayak above the wave break, I explored the beach front a little, then ate lunch – apple and nuts. On the property just back from the water was a stone home, driveways and paths that spoke of an era my grandparents would have known. It was idyllically serene.
From there I paddled back to the beach I had launched from at Jabaquara, and returned the kayak. Oozing with calm and peace, I spread myself out on the blond sand beach and baked in the sun awhile.
As I lay there I was thinking how pictures cannot capture the texture of the sand, the scent in
the air, the sensuousness of the breeze on the skin, the warmth of the sun penetrating to the bone, the brilliant green of the hills, the vibrant abundance and euphoria emanating from all the surrounding plants, trees and flowers. No picture I could take could capture what I was experiencing – you will simply have to come to Paraty!
Later in the afternoon I walked back into Paraty, checked my bus ticket for the next day to see if there wasn’t a later bus I could take that would still connect me on to the Airport in time – there wasn’t – and back to the Hostel Che Legaro for a shower and later on, another evening walk before bed. It had been the biggest gift of the trip, to have spent those last two days in Paraty. I could not think of any other place in Brazil I’d been to that I’d rather have been for my last days. The trip to Brazil had turned out better than I could have dreamed. Now I just had to make all the proper bus connections to get back the States.