Our American Dream // Argentina into Brazil

When we departed in October 2012, we felt part of our journey was a personal reexamination of “the American Dream.” A little white picket fence appeared in the grass along the Atlantic Ocean, it called to us in a simple and profound way.

It also brought to mind this quote from the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, when asked what surprised him most about humanity replied:  “Man.
 Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
 Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
 And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
 the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
 he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

25 km south of Mar del Plata where the highway runs parallel to the sea is a stretch of coast called Chapadmalal.  We peeped our heads in the camouflaged 10’ x 10’ box to see who we could talk to about camping just there.  It turned out to be a lifeguard station, and the guys waved us in with a friendly smile and offered us a steaming gourd of caffeine-fueled bitter mate.

Over the course of a week, we made friends with the lifeguard crew, enjoying parilla on the patio (ok, mostly watching them eat meat- Adam resisted and stuck to his 4 month adopted veg diet).  They poured kalimoxho also spelled calimocho also known as cocavino and as the last nomenclature would imply, is coca-cola and red wine, but Adam preferred his wine straight-up.  Colette played in the sand with 3 little boys who belonged to a lifeguard at left, Alé, as we all listened on in delight to their happy screams.

These salvavidas, lifeguards, are seasonal employees of the state, working 6 months of the year, finding other seasonal work the remaining months… Alé works training polo horses & José teaches malambo, traditional Argentine gaucho dance. 
Adam and Alé set off early one morning on a hunt for waves; at the end of his road, 4 small burrowing owls sat on the street sign- a good omen for the day.   
Up the coast, Alé gathered wild acelga (chard) growing abundantly along the bluffs which Emily later sautéed up with garlic and a balsamic reduction. 
Another welcome gift was the big swell that was hitting the area. The Mar del Plata region is a seasonal summer escape 4 hours from bustling Buenos Aires and is the main surf zone in Argentina.  We arrived in the perfect time as April is the best month for consistent swell.  The coast beyond ‘Mar Del’ sees a huge influx in the summer hustle, but outside of the city proper turns into a ghost-town for most of the remaining 9 months. 
Across the street from Alejandro and Francisca’s house these two blue buses were for sale for $5,000 USD each.  Any takers? 
5 year old Ramon, 3 year old Fermin and  2 year old Santos were great company for Colette.  Their bounty of toys, scooters, and small skateboards was almost overwhelming to Coco, who dug into their toybox with relish, pulling out the costumes with a squeal.  Donning furry tiger hats, Zorro hats & capes, and puppets as gloves, the 4 blondies ran amok inside and out.   
Tana doggy.
Their backyard was a perfect haven for adventure with overgrown plants, a swing-set built into a tree house and a hammock for getting vertical.   
We gabbed in the kitchen while Francisca made tarta de zapallitos, a savory tart made with small round zucchini, sautéed onion, egg as binder and oozy muzarella.  I brought in the pressure cooker and we steamed up some calabaza moscada (butternut squash) for both sweet and savory versions: corn, squash, honey and cinnamon for the sweet (a surprising combination) and butternut squash with muzarella for the savory.  And if three wasn’t enough, a fourth of fresh corn in béchamel was made. 

This coastal stretch was abundant with multiple birds- it seemed every time Adam stopped to snap a shot, there was more than one there, we swear they aren’t hired extras!  Here a pair of Chimango Caracara.    We camped up and down the coast, which was filled with tranquil spots to pop the top. 
The swell really picked up and Adam headed out to catch some brown barrels! 
In Miramar, the swell hit big.  Surfers gathering courage and a crowd of awe-filled onlookers gathered at the piers end, watching the sets roll through as the brave few jumped off the pier to paddle out into the cold, heavy pounders. 
Timing is an important part of accessing the waves, as an ill-timed jump can wash the surfer into the cement pylons below the pier, the rocks further in and if lucky enough to avoid injury, have to cycle around, paddle in and start afresh.  One guy timed his leap wrong and returned 45 minutes later, exhausted and with bloody feet.  Adrenaline is surely part of the equation… you could feel the tension at the piers end, as surfers hyped each other up to make the leap of faith.   

Most swell in this region is wind based; the howling offshore gale hit the faces of the massive waves, folding the heavy walls into cavernous barrels, granting surfers a most welcome gift.   
These rare big waves were so celebrated, it turned into a bit of a free-for-all out in the water, guys dropping in on each other with wild abandon.   
On the road, we have to play many roles: husband and wife, driver and navigator, lovers, parents, photographer and writer, and in this instance Emily spouted what Adam would’ve heard from one of his buddies.

Adam, a bit intimidated by the growing crowd in the water and without his buddies at his side to rally, Emily stepped in, told him to grow a pair, knowing he would surely regret it if he didn’t paddle out… he smiled a knowing grin, took a deep breath and walked to the van to suit up and get out.  He kissed us goodbye, “have fun, daddy!” and  “be safe my love”… Adam leaped from the pier and surfed until the full moon rose gloriously over the purpling sky.

In Mar del Plata we had a doctors visit and an ecografia to peek in on little miss ‘baby spider.’  Colette looked up at the screen in wonder, pointing out the parts of the body she could identify with the proud assurance beyond her mere 3 years. As in most things she does, she exudes the confidence that marvels us.

Normally Colette changes her spirit animal daily, but has been ‘baby froggy’ for some time now.  Baby froggies, she tells us, don’t know how to go pee-pee by themselves, need to be fed by mommy froggy and carried by daddy froggy much more than big sisters or little girls.  It is a slight regression, but one that seems like an experiment in exhausting her last hurrah as the only child.  We love her so and know she will be a wonderful big sister. 
Here, the sweet (and slightly smashed) face of our new love.  It is a magical experience to grow life, to feel a child beneath your heart, no longer an individual, but a body cohabitating.  My very consciousness is as a dual awareness, for each (shortened) breath is for us both.  It can be exhausting, it is infinitely rewarding to feel each (strong) kick, hiccup, roll and wiggle.

I have wondered what it will be like to have another child, surely the love we feel for Colette will not decrease, but how will it be possible to love another as much?  I mean we love her SO much!  When discussing this with a friend the other day, I remembered my mothers’ words on this very topic: “love is not like a pie with only so many pieces to go around, it multiplies and expands to infinite dimensions.”  So it seems the infinite dimensions of our hearts will expand and our lives will surely change with the arrival on the outside world of this welcome soul.   
Monk parakeets in flocks of hundreds deep spread over the grass and into the pine trees on the side of the highway as we worked our way back towards Buenos Aires along the coastal route.  It was nearly Easter weekend, and we were headed in the opposite direction of the stream of cars.  
Usually quite skittish, Adam has been trying to capture the regal beauty of these Southern Crested Caracara since our arrival into Argentina.   
Up the coast, a rough camp between sea and reeds.  It “certainly” (one of Colette’s new favorite words to use) does help the budget to stay in wild camps with no fees to pay.  When people ask how much to budget for a month on the road, we ask how often they require services like flushing toilets, hot showers and internet. 
Punta Rasa is the furthest reach of the Rio de la Plata, the point at which the wide mouth of the river officially meets the Atlantic, where the land ends its eastward course and drops south.   
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”- the 14th Dalai Lama

Without 4wd, finding a camp spot that would stay dry through the night without rendering us stuck in the sand is a bit like a game… 
We sat witness to a seriously breathtaking, over-the-top, holy-crap, better than ice cream, am I really seeing this kind of sunset. 
“Daddy, throw me waaaaaaaaaay high up in the sky !” 
Outside of San Clemente del Tuyu was a sprawling complex set on the coast is Termas Marinas.  Apparently on Good Friday, we were among the other million or so people who thought this sounded like a relaxing way to spend the day. 
Along the dirt road-less-traveled following the river inland towards Buenos Aires, miles and miles of fence guarding private riverfront estancias separated us from the glimmering slivers of water we would catch through the trees.  When after hours wondering when a public access point would present itself, we spotted a hand painted sign for camping and quickly turned right into the rustic campground.  Cows openly grazed among the low growing trees, fisherman waded out to set their nets. 
Colette located her bucket and sand toys, enjoying her favorite pastime as the sun slipped away for the night.  “Bye, bye light-day!  See you tah-mah-whoah!”  
The moon slowly pulled itself from the Rio de la Plata into the cool embrace of the clouds, where above, the stars flashed their brilliance from so many millions of miles away.   Perhaps before fire was ‘caveman tv’ stargazing filled our early human nights with thoughts of wonder, it surely has that power still.   
Morning harvest. 
Back into Buenos Aires we visited the stunning Recoleta Cemetary, which when built was on the outskirts of town, but now sits squarely in the hustle and bustle of it all.

Founded in 1732 by the Our Lady of Pilar order of Catholics who disbanded in 1822, at which time it became the cities first public cemetery.
As much a place to honor and mourn the dead, Recoleta is a gallery of amazing sculpture.  

Amongst the intricate mausoleums, 18 Argentine Presidents are buried.
Disrepair and decomposition amongst the mausoleums are as prevalent as those well-maintained, which seems an apt correlation to the general state of the city at large.  Walking down any city street there is a beautiful mix of preservation, modernization and time-worn weathering. 
Endlessly inspiring are the art deco, art nouveau, neo-gothic and baroque architectural stylings, mainly made of materials imported from Paris and Milan between 1880-1930.
Organized like the city in neat rows, blocks of marble and brass faded in their splendor are covered in cobwebs and ferns cling perilously to the adobe set between bricks where the plaster has fallen off, the humidity of the city allowing the continuance of life in a place of death. 
Also buried within these revered walls is Eva Perón.  In 1946, her husband Juan Perón became president of Argentina, where she soon managed the Ministries of Labor and Health, as a champion of trade unions and womens suffrage.  At a monumental rally of some 2 million union workers (!), they called for her to run for Vice President, but due to failing health, she declined and died of cervical cancer 10 months later at the age of 33. 
After hours of walking Coco is suddenly recharged upon seeing this row of brightly painted cement balls, climbing over every one en route to the heladeria (ice cream parlor). 
Literally ‘on the other side of the tracks’ is a ramble of buildings pressed against the boundaries of the train station, a confusion of brick and wire with disarming disregard for structural support, littered with electric cables and laundry lines- this is the other side of Buenos Aires.

For Emily’s final college portfolio in fashion design, she designed a speculative collection if Cirque du Soleil had a show based on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, namely The Inferno.  When we heard about Palacio Barolo in Buenos Aires- a building inspired by this same book, we knew we had to take a visit.  
Eclectic Italian architect Mario Palanti was commissioned to design and construct the palace by Luis Barolo, an Italian immigrant to Argentina who made his fortune in knitted fabrics.  Impresario Barolo’s hope was to have the building serve as a giant mausoleum for Dante; this hope never realized and he remains buried in Ravenna, Italy, where he passed in 1321 perhaps of malaria. 
The 22 floors are divided into 3 sections: the basement and ground floor representing hell, inferno, 1st floor (what we would call the 2nd floor) – 14th floor symbolize purgatory, purgatorio, and 15-22 are heaven, paradiso.
Architect Palanti was studious in his efforts: the building is 100 meters tall, one meter for each canto of the Divine Comedy.   Completed in 1923, Palacio Barolo was the tallest building in the whole of South America until 1935.   This view overlooks the Argentine Congressional Palace and surrounding park.
The lighthouse still works.   
Relics from the 1920’s… 
Pretty sure our tour guide has posed 1,000 times with his pipe. 
Anyone with vertigo should steer clear of this staircase.   
“You haven’t been to Café Tortoni?  Then you don’t know Buenos Aires…” So we went to the coffee shop that opened in 1858 for some evening sweet treats- chocolate mousse pie and a milkshake.  Buenos Aires is all about sweets- there are ice cream shops on every other block, and bakeries on the alternates! 
At Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo, the Sunday antiques fair is world renowned. Vendors sell their goods, sip mate, taking in the sunshine and company of old friends while chatting with new.

Pizza is as much a staple to Porteño life as the sweets are.  Queso cremoso or muzarella, green olives with pits are the staple and we really added some ‘health factor’ (haha) with arugula.  Adam and I have joked we don’t understand how people here survive on bread, cheese, sweets and caffeine (but it sure is fun for a few days).
Tango is a dance born in Argentina, which reflects the diverse nature of immigrant filled Buenos Aires in the late 1800’s – combining African rhythms and European music to birth a new beat. 
Tango music is as old and wide a genre as jazz is… the style of dancing a revolution as it introduced the concept of improvisation to couple dancing. 
Outside of the city, we stayed in the green expanse of the Andean Roads headquarters, which doubles as a campground for overlanders.  If you are in the market to do a bit of overlanding especially to Patagonia, but not interested in driving all the way here- they can set you up in a rental, from compact vehicles to motorhomes, so you can hit the ground running.    
Our time as three wanes, the tide of change nears.  It feels such a magnificent gift to have had this time we have had together… to really be together. We give thanks for the time. For our family, our trio.  For the transition near at hand, our blossoming core, a quartet soon.

We speak excitedly about what life will be like when “baby Spider Rainbow-Rainbow” comes to join us on the outside world.  “She will say ‘Oh, Coco I want to play with your toys’ and I will share my toys with her!”  Coco will spontaneously grab Emily’s belly, lifting her shirt and whispering her secrets to little sister, which she just repeats the word “secret, secret” over and over, looking up mischeviously and giggling.  She has been a fountain of sweetness, a river of syrupy toddler energy, overflowing with the excitement of the new arrival. 

Andean Roads is family owned by 3 brothers and their father, here is Cris & wife Jackie, their 14 month old daughter Sol and 1 month old son Nahuel in front of their Doka Synchro VW.   We really enjoyed their company, watching the little ones play and even sharing a few tasty meals together!

To put it mildly, Cris is a VW enthusiast… living part of the year in upstate New York, where he worked as an architect, he has a Westfalia stateside too.
Near their camp is the town of Tigre, which was so named because of the jaguars that once resided there before they were hunted to extinction by European immigrants.  At the mouth of the lower Paraná Delta that empties into the Rio de la Plata sits this hub of boat and water culture.   
We dined at Époque de Queso… Argentina has some serious cheese culture, which is a welcome change from the mild cheeses occupying every country between Mexico and Argentina!  Gouda, parmasean, manchego, gruyere, provolone…
Also had a major sausage selection, which we skipped.
The change from two to three years is such an interesting one… suddenly aware of her individuality, Colette can choose to do what we ask… or not; she can smile for the camera… or not.  It’s fine though, no pressure for her to always do as we ask, in matters such as these, we welcome her asserting herself and hope to raise a confident, intelligent woman, whose worth is not based on her beauty.  Go ahead you little funny face-maker, we love you just as you are. 
Upon sighting this very confused bee, we were overcome with laughter… between belly laughs we joked the bee must’ve been stoned “whoaaaah mannnn, something seems a bit off today” and that his friends were over in the real flowers laughing at him “Oh, geez, look at Larry again, trying to get high on the wrong supply!” 
Part of the boat culture are these boat-stores that drive up and down the waterways tooting their horn to alert the residents of their arrival, some deliver fruit and veggies while others offer gas tanks, paper goods and dried pasta.
We loaded onto a restored mahogany collectivo for an afternoon tour.
Near one of the multiple marinas, a group of young kayakers paddle in the murky waters.  
An intricate network of islands and wetlands, the ecosystem of the lower delta has been heavily modified.  Now the inlets and tributaries are mainly residential, boasting structures ranging from ornate Belle Epoque era mansions to dilapidated dwellings, hotels, guest-houses, restaurants and a few camping locations.
Museo de Arte Tigre regally sits watch over the rio.  
Back on land, we wandered around trying to find a place that served vegetables. 
Lights along the river turn the waterfront into a wonderful place to stroll while watching the traffic float by.
Parked on a residential side street, we popped the top for the night & set out the next day to do a bit more exploring, which led us to the Naval Museum of Argentina.  Colette loves airplanes, and points in awe whenever one passes overhead and she was thrilled to be close to so many.  
Inside the museum were hand crafted artifacts documenting the long history of water exploration.

The first rooms felt romantic and nostalgic,  filled with gorgeous old maps and detailed replica ships, summoning our desires to sail around the world, after first learning to sail of course!

“Papa, papa, papa!  This is boat is MYYYYY size, it’s just for little girls!  I wanna get in it!!!” As we looked deeper we saw rooms of canons, missiles & guns, which led to our first real conversation with Colette about what they were used for, why people kill each other, what war is and how it doesn’t make any sense. She stared wide eyed at us, her questions slowing and losing their normal enthusiasm as she heard our answers, she got very silent & said “I need a hug because that’s so sad.”

Back at Andean Roads camp, zucchini and potato fritatta with charred broccoli and pickled peppers for brunch.

Our life on the road is not about having our ducks perfectly in a row, it is about celebrating the gifts of this life.  People often email us asking, in not so many words and sometimes many more, for our recipe for ‘success’ on the road.  It always astounds us that people think this way.  Our ability to stay on the road is possible because of many intertwined factors, paramount our dedication to do so.  What has worked for us may not work for them (you?).  It has been a deep searching of and exploration of our best skills and a sprinkling of good luck, and not always an easy path.

Our ongoing issue with the ECU has been a plague following us and developing into a far worse situation… Even after 3 motors (!) it’s come to light that this ECU is a major problem, causing us to drop from 4 cylinders to 2, frequently pulling over so Adam can poke, prod, twist, pull, shim, tap, and solder  something on Plug D on the ECU until 4 cylinders magically pop back in so we can get on our way.  Needless to say it has been a stressful element to our daily venturings.  If you need your ‘ducks all in a row’ this life probably isn’t for you…

When heading out from camp one day, the van simply refused to reset, even after Adam’s usual trickery…  he pulled out the ECU and between some connecting cables discovered a well-hidden spiders nest.  Using a small air compressor, he blew the spider and web out, something shorted and the van would no longer start at all.

Cris towed our non-driving Westy to an electrical mechanic to address the funky situation.
Oh, just a horse hanging out at the rear of the electrical mechanics shop- standard operating procedure, right?  
We left the ECU with the mechanic and towed the van back to the campground.  We had an *exciting & important* business phone call which we enjoyed with a French press of coffee, a side of bizcocho cookies and notepad ready to go…
Back at camp Tarmo was there, last time we saw him was 7 months ago in Lima, Peru.  Since then, he’s driven through the muddy Peruvian jungles, parts of Brazil, Suriname, & the Guianas.  Departing from his home in Estonia in 2011, he has adventured in his 2wd Mazda E2200 van through the middle east, across Africa, and has just about circumnavigated South America.  He has been some pretty incredible places and we enjoyed an afternoon discussing his travels… an interesting snippet of which he made a notable arc out of his path to drive to South Sudan “to witness the birth of a nation” as the (now war plagued) country celebrated its independence.   

We discussed routes and travels in Brazil- our next country to visit!
Autumn leaves are changing, but this classic remains…
Cris went to college in the USA, and in 2002 made the overland journey to Argentina.  He just got back this awesome camper of his own design, which includes a bathroom and shower, full kitchen and two beds.  It’s pretty sweet & we would be lying if we didn’t say we are the teensiest bit jealous of the 4wd+ VW + bathroom setup.    
He also designed and built his home, inspired by his time in Oregon.
Before we got the diagnosis from the electrician with the horse at the rear of the shop, a friend of Cris’ rolled into camp with a sweet VW van running a Mega Squirt ECU system, which got Adam’s mind running in a whole new direction.  We had planned on rebuilding a new harness when we are back in the States come August, but since our system ate shit- it was time to sort something out- and quick!   Just south of Buenos Aires is a shop specializing in the installation and tuning of the systems, so we ordered up a flatbed tow truck (once again).
We towed it to PSM .  They waisted no time dismanteling our entire electrical harness from the engine bay while splicing in a brand new harness.
Through AirBNB, we rented a small, furnished apartment in San Telmo neighborhood of Buenos Aires for the few days they would need to complete the upgrade of the system.

At Yauss we enjoyed a delightful waffle brunch.

Waffles three ways: Carmelized onion, scrambled egg, and brie; hummus and spinach; chocolate mousse
All over Argentina are these little adventure-mobiles.  You don’t have to have your ‘dream machine’ to take the leap for life on the road, we think a ride like this would do quite well for a single traveler or cozy couple.

After 3 trips, we finally caught this vintage camera shop open.  Its been run by a family for 3 generations…. an analog wet dream ! 

Once a sketchy neighborhood, San Telmo is now a mix of refurbished modern buildings, tourist hostels, a bounty of tasty restaurants, a few sketchy looking folks and rusted out cars.
Walrus Books offers a great selection of new and used books in English, offering 30% selling price for trade-ins.
In 1985, Don Jorge bought a decrepit building in San Telmo with plans of opening a restaurant.  When the construction crew discovered vaulted bricks below the ground, he asked them to proceed carefully, and soon revealed they were on the top of a tunnel.  Investing his personal fortune (made as a chemist developing formulas for the treatment of leather goods) into the urban archaeology of what they discovered.   El Zanjón is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, which in the past 30 years has revealed a fascinating history of the city in which it was built.
A seasonal creek meandered through the city, draining towards the Rio de la Plata, which in the 1830’s was just 2 blocks from the site, but 15 blocks today.  The ‘new’ blocks were ‘reclaimed’ when the river was re-routed to its current location. Individual families built a tunnel over the creek, allowing access to both sides of the creek when the water ran high.  Inside the tunnel, we noted the different styles of brick, placement methods and heights- each marking the property lines of the building family.  Modern day Buenos Aires is much the same in that sidewalks are individually maintained and the variety in quality and decoration vary widely.

Here, we stand above a cistern, which indicated the family residing here was quite wealthy as they would have fresh water at their disposal, as opposed to trekking the 2 blocks to the river and hauling it back.  The cistern was a rain catchment and storage system kept purified by turtles, whos poop was eaten by frogs. 
Here our guide points to where  Don Jorge first discovered a hole looking into an mysterious underground world from the past.   This house, just across the street from El Zanjon, is apparently the narrowest building in Buenos Aires. 

Street art dots the city, bringing modern flavor to the antiquated structures that they adorn. 

Crossing the street, we spotted these friendly Franciscan friars and chatted with them for a few minutes, Colette at once shy & intrigued by their ‘costumes.’  We departed and then pondered if they knew the radical (for the Catholic Church) Pope Francis, who is from Buenos Aires. 

The lunch special at Naturaleza Sabia was as filling as it is healthy & tasty- we had house-made veggie patty with a zingy sauce & melted cheese, brown rice with shredded carrots and a salad, it came with a small appetizer soup, crostini and a delightful more spicy than sweet ginger lemonade.  Stop in if you are around & in the mood for a change from the usual meat heavy options. 

Old banyan trees with magnificent roots in Recoleta… 
Museo Participativo de Ciencias in the Recoleta cultural center, has a motto prohibido no tocar meaning it’s forbidden not to touch. Us adults enjoyed this museum as much as our curious three year did! 
A duet by Adam & Coco.
This wave pool exhibited how waves function… Colette just asked “where are the fishies?”
Downstairs, a retrospective of a BsAs architect that we had to pass through quickly… after the ‘touch everything’ museum, it was baffling why Colette wasn’t allowed to touch all the fancy ‘dollhouses’!
Within the meandering corridors of the Recoleta Cultural Center art exhibitions of emerging artists are showcased.
Here the guys at PSM are tuning the new system on a DYNO.  We are now able to connect to the ECU (brain of the computer) via blue tooth on a laptop to view all the various inner workings.

The starter was toasted as well,  so they brought it to a shop to be rebuilt.
Ohh- they even painted it gold!  Excited to have it back & ready to install after several delays.Locked & loaded, we excitedly departed Buenos Aires with our sights on Brazil.  Somehow, Florianopolis had called to us. People ask “why there?  It’s so far.”  We don’t exactly know in explainable terms, it is a following of the heart.  We can tell you that every person who has been there looks at us jealously and replies “Yes, that is a great idea!”

We drove 1,000 miles in 3 days camping at gas stations along the way, the new ECU performed perfectly, the smoothest we have ever heard the motor purrrr.  With all the hiccups and headaches of the last month or more, we were unsure if baby Spider Rainbow Rainbow would be an Argentine or Brazilian.  Finally, we crossed the border into BRAZIL with huge smiles across our face!  Coconut water, pao de queijo (Brasilian cheese bread) and Havianas sandals were in the first gas station market we encountered.   Across the vast stretches, in the pampa-like lands of Rio Grande do Sul state, we spotted to our chagrin these rheas, the largest birds in South America!  Expected & not expected… all good so far!
This dreamy scene is Praia do Rosa.  

Adam was tempted to paddle out for a quick one, but he knew there would be plenty of time to surf later.  Priority #1: find a little home for the fam & very pregnant Emily to rest up and be ready to welcome baby girl when she comes.
After a day and a half of driving around Florianopolis, stopping to inquire about rentals and peeking out the options, we walked down this trail and saw an aluga se (for rent) sign in the Campeche neighborhood.  It was everything we had been asking the universe to send us.  At 11am we talked to the landlord (who thankfully spoke some English and Spanish), who agreed to meet us at 8pm.  With a deep gratitude filling our hearts, that very evening we were settled into our little house on the beach.

Do we call this the front yard or the back? 
A little trail over the sand dune leads right to the beach.

Just offshore is Ilha do Campeche… after 19 months in Spanish speaking countries, Portugese speaking Brasil is a major change for the ears.  Thinking that Argentine Spanish was a challenge, moving into a country that we do not speak the language is a much bigger challenge- but hey- Adam & I have traveled around Thailand and Japan, as well as in Xhosha speaking Namibia (a tonal language with 48 unique clicking sounds) so at least we are working with the same alphabet and phonetic rules!

Right in front of the house is a long beach break- and now is the best season for surfing.  Score!  Each morning we wakeup at Casa Campeche and pinch ourselves… this place is truly a dream come true.  

This is what 16 Reals (or $7) will get you from the local veggie truck!

The house is just right for us- a kitchen with window to the grassy yard, open living room with lots of windows and cross vents, bathroom with hot water, and even has 2 bedrooms, one of which Adam transformed into an art studio!  

We will be returning for a visit Stateside mid-August; Adam is diligently and excitedly working on an art exhibition for October!

Sunrise over the Atlantic.

As the early morning rays climb from the horizon, a fisherman throws his net out for tainha (mullet) which are seasonally abundant off the coast of “the magic island.”  

Colette’s bed even came outfitted with this tent, little CocoNova is stoked on her very own big sister bed!

Settled in the house, we now patiently await the next chapter with open hearts.  The ‘due date’ is just 9 days off now…




A BIG thanks to these companies that have helped outfit our journey!
Go Westy Campers
Goal Zero
Raen Optics
Danner Boots
Foam EZ