Thursday, March 01, 2007

In São Luis toward Jeri

I liked Belém and its bustle and indifference to tourists. I liked that the sidewalk of our street was lined with small shacks or semi-permanent carts which had for sale every imaginable item, all manner of clothing and shoes, jewelery, handicrafts, costumes, toys, office supplies, tools and hardware, CDs and DVDs, books and magazines, drinks and snacks, cell phones and computer gadgets, and let's not forget the windchimes, religious trinkets and lottery tickets...

I wound down my visit to Belém with a trip to the botanical gardens and zoo. I especially liked the tapirs (hog-like creatures with longish, flexible snouts) and manatees (which I wanted to see ever since a fellow traveler -- hi Philippe! -- described swimming with them in rivers in Florida and how they would nudge his hand so he would tickle their underbellies).

I'm now in São Luis, the capital of the state of Maranhão, Brazil, I arrived here this morning. It is on the northern coast, about 300 km east of where the Atlantic Ocean receives the Amazon River (but longer in distance by pothole inflected roads). I was expecting a bit more than what I've seen so far and was thinking to stay a couple days, but now that I've seen the little town, I'm thinking to move on tomorrow.

I want to go to Jericoacoara (a.k.a. Jeri) because of the expansive, immensely duned Atlantic beaches despite more road problems especially coming from the west. It seems it will be easier and faster to go further east to Fortaleza, then double back (so far as I can tell by what I've read in multiple guidebooks and on Portuguese internet sites). Another day, another bus!

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