Do you agree with the phrase “beware the kindness of strangers”? I don’t, especially after yesterday.
Rewind to Porto Alegre at the start of my time in Brazil and during a media interview I found myself saying that during my cycle adventure I’d often need to depend on the kindness of strangers, and I felt a bit naive for saying it – but my goodness the hospitality and generosity of the Brazilian people I’ve met has amazed me, so actually I was right to think that way, and my journey so far wouldn’t have been half as good without these hitherto strangers.
Yesterday I only cycled about 30km, so by far my shortest daily distance of the #SambaCycle so far, but it was for three very good reasons…
1) On Monday night I couchsurfed at Douglas and Leonardo’s house in Caraguatatuba. Once again superb hosts, but as well as making me feel welcome in their home, they also invited me to visit the school where they both work the next morning. I thought I’d be telling a class of kids about my trip for 15-20 minutes, but it turned into a fantastic 2 hour Q&A with this lot:
Thanks to everyone at Etec, I really enjoyed meeting you all and I hope you’ll continue to follow my journey on this blog!
So I left the school feeling great, then cruised along the seafront and zoomed up a big hill that led out of town. Half an hour of cycling later I stopped to take this photo of a classic beach footy pitch:
2) As I was about to set off again a guy approached to say hello and beckoned me towards the nearby beach bar, which it turned out he and his son own. They kindly gave me a fresh juice to drink and asked where I was cycling to. When I told them my plan they were shocked/impressed (like most locals!) and kindly invited me to join them for lunch and more juice, then later even gave me a T-shirt with the bar logo on it! They saw a passing cyclist and within minutes treated me as if family – wow.
3) I can’t have got more than a couple of km up the road before a passing car pulled in ahead and the driver flagged me down to ask about my cycle journey. He was really enthusiastic and told me he owns a beach house 10km further along the highway, and asked please would I call in to speak to his son who’s a keen sportsman? I was slightly bewildered but said yes.
After several checks of my GPS I found the house and Abraham (the owner) invited me to the beach as his son was on the way back from surfing. Believe it or not, this was my first swim in the sea of the trip! I’ve not had time to stop long enough at beaches for a dip before this. It was so nice to relax in the warm sea, and in a really beautiful location too. When we returned to the house his son Raphael and two mates were there and I had a good chat with them (they speak fluent English) over a couple of beers.
When I said that I needed to get back on the road Abraham offered that I stay there overnight and that he’d be making a churrasca (BBQ) later on – hmm let me think… already drinking beer with a fun bunch of guys, no accommodation sorted in my planned destination of Ubatuba, and the offer of bbq’d meat; yup I accepted the offer to stay! It was top evening, and even more so as Abraham’s brother-in-law and wife showed up to join in the fun, all such lovely people. I can’t believe that once again, from seeing a guy on a bike to offering such hospitality, the kindness of strangers personified. Oh and here’s some pics of stunning Praia Lagoinha:
What a day! Thank you Brazil for so far proving the doom-mongers wrong and showing me nothing but welcoming kindness.
PS. as I finished eating the damn tasty BBQ, I checked my phone to see that Watford had won 1-0 back home – boom, what a day.