Standing on the cliffs of Florianopolis, Brazil in spring is just the time to record a “picture postcard” image.
How do you write about a boy playing on the beach in southern Brazil without resorting to cliché? I’ll have to tackle it, in any case. Summer is ending, weekends at the beach are numbered, and I wanted to make a weekend post just to show this photograph that so effectively conveys the feeling of being the last person at the beach. Even when it’s time to go home, we can still hope for one more wave.
Granted, I don’t speak Portuguese—but if I studied the signs correctly, I believe this building is a recreation of the sort of shack used in converting sugar cane into raw sugar. From the outside, it has just the right Brazilian charm. From the inside, the dichotomy at the heart of modern Brazil is even better represented: traditional cane processing equipment, including massive grinding stones, spend time alongside comfortable couches and a television.
Geometry of Agriculture: Brazil
On a jet high over central Brazil, the cropped, divided, and cultivated land has a strange organge and purple color to it. Some fields are the broad circles of modern irrigation equipment, while others are odd heptagons nestled next to rivers and streams. From above, the landscape is alien. As an awesome side-note on Brazilian airlines: checking luggage is free and encouraged (so the overhead bins are empty), the airlines serve ham and cheese sandwiches instead of pretzels, and no one speaks a word of English.
Sand Fortress IV
Another in my ongoing series of sand castle photographs (see I, II, and III), this shot comes from the gorgeous coast of southern Brazil. While everyone else is off playing in the surf, these two boys stayed behind on the beach to construct this complex of truly epic sand castles. (That sand castles are as wondrous and short-lived as childhood is perhaps too trite a metaphor for me to acknowledge in any way beyond the parenthetical.) I just love the universality of building sand castles on the beach–from the east coast to the west, and the from the northern hemisphere to the south, it’s a worldwide past time.
As a child, I held on to the fantasy of discovering a secret island all my own–one stocked with secret forts and pirate treasure and relaxing fishing spots. During our trip to Brazil last fall, I was entranced by the rocky but just-the-right-sized islands off the coast of Florianopolis. If I could have only gotten out there, I know pirate treasure awaited me.
Crashing Wave Path
I’ve previously spotlighted the gorgeous shades and cinematic landscape of southern Brazil, but in this particular photograph I feel I’ve captured the truly epic feel of the place. Rocky islands dot the coastline and comic book clouds drift through the gold-and-pink hued sky. I can’t imagine anything more gorgeous.
Cliffs of Brazil
The Brazilian Fisherman
On the southern coast of Brazil, not far from where I took this shot, this older gentleman was fishing as the day came to an end. He was perched at the end of this rocky outcropping, gently casting every minute or so. He was there for quite a while, but I never saw him catch anything.
No Dark on the Beach
The beach at Costão do Santinho is as bright as day, 24/7. In the winter, it was eerily empty (save for a few roaming packs of wild dogs, later on…) I’d like to imagine that the warmer weather brings all-night volleyball tournaments.
Either way, the mist-capped waves, black rocks, and bright bits of algae make the lonely beach even more alien.
Flying high above Brazil, I got a feel for the strange contrasts of the country. Over the interior, I saw mostly mountainous jungle and farmland; as we neared the coast (as in today’s shot), I got to see more of the urban side of modern Brazil. In the southern part of Brazil, where the climate is Mediterranean (much like California), the same pattern of “intense urbanization adjacent to vegetation-carpeted hills” seems to predominate.
Jet Set Hotel
Costao do Satinho fills almost an entire end of Florianopolis’s island, and the hotel pictured here represents just a small bit of it. There are villas and beaches sprawling out over acres. Still, this part (at night) was one of my favorites, with its 1960’s style and very jet-set-minded architecture. This is a place that caters to a group from the past.