For those of you suffering the wet and stormy weather in England …… look away now!
Down in Cananeia, when the water in the swimming pool is too warm to be refreshing, you might think one would head out to a beach in a boat. Here the sea was equally warm, maybe even too warm ….. but you have to grin and bear it just the same!
Have just come back from a week in Sāo Paulo and Cananeia, two contrasting places. Sāo Paulo is the largest city not only in Brazil but also in South America with a population of about 11 million; Cananeia is a small coastal town on the border of Sāo Paulo and Parana States. It was founded in 1531 by the Portuguese and lies 300 kms to the south west, sitting on an island in the middle of a tidal estuary – population? 12,000 except during the holiday period when it goes up enormously!!
Celina’s cousin Teresa has an apartment in Sāo Paulo and a beach house in Cananeia. In Sāo Paulo we ate in Japanese and Russian restaurants, visited the large covered market where I tried to eat a Mortandela (see note below!), went to the Bikram studio three times and generally enjoyed our time there. The city, famous for its horrendous traffic and mixed weather, was sunny and the traffic flowed (for us). The part where Teresa lives, Jardins, reminded me of Sydney in Australia although there is no sea!
To drive to Cananeia, you take the main road that runs to Curitiba; it is heavily trafficked with lorries, lorries with trailers, coaches and lots of cars. For a 30km stretch they are building a fourth lane to complete the dual carriageway nature of this arterial road. It should have been finished 3 years ago; the money was granted … but this is Brazil, and not all the money made it to the construction company, hence the delays ….. maybe another 2 years!! It was a long drive to Cananeia and an even longer return!
Cananeia is one of those coastal towns that begs investment ……. but you sense it would spoil it. What price progress for the holiday hideaway where the pace of life is extremely slow, Main Street is a collection of colourfully painted shop fronts, old Portuguese naval canons guard the town hall and the fish shop, in addition to selling all sorts of fish, sells shells, model boats and nautical stuff, all ‘Made in China’!
How do you spend your time in Cananeia? You have a late breakfast, take chill bins loaded with drinks and snacks down to a motor boat, head out to an island offshore or negotiate the inland mangrove channel between the mainland and the Ilha do Cardosa …….. and find an empty beach; there are many to choose from! The water was warm, the sun strong and hot, the sky that beautiful blue that makes one feel good to be alive. Later you watch pink dolphins playing in the estuary as you head back for a very late lunch; so late that supper is a help-yourself!! On one of the islands, in a little cove that rumour had it had been used by pirates, we found a small crocodile. Teresa’s son Henrique, aged 13, decided to lasso it, hold it up for the photograph (!) before he was persuaded to let it go. When we got back to the beach house, it was about 3 seconds before he was pestering me to email the photograph to him to show his chums – wonderful street cred, I guess, especially if you’re 13!
Some of you may remember me mentioning that my maternal grandmother Grace Corbett’s father was born in Recife, in the North East of Brazil, in 1850. Some of his brothers and sisters married and stayed here. Celina found a Corbett Moreira in Sāo Paulo, who is indeed a relative; there are others. It had been our intention to have lunch with her on Monday, but for some reason she’s staying with her son in Rondonia, up by the border with Bolivia …… a three day camel ride maybe. So we didn’t!!
We trust you’re well and enjoying life.
Richard Yates – email@example.com
P.S. Mortandela is probably the largest ‘sandwich’ I’ve come across. The bread bun must be 15 cms diameter and the filling? 20 pieces of thinly sliced processed meat or turkey interlaced with cream cheese. I struggled to eat half!