Sun in Santos

Monique learning to surf for the first time!

Monique is a great friend of mine from San Diego, and also one of the most adventurous people I know.  Every time I talk with her she is on another adventure, whether it be giving up everything she has and moving to Canada, breaking into the theatre scene in Portland, Oregon, or giving screenwriting a try.  When I asked her what her favorite travel memory was for her contribution to our traveler page, this is the memory that she included.  She was so specific with everything she loved about Santos, that I asked her to write a post about it.  Thanks Monique!

This is a story about one of my favorite trips to Santos, Brazil.  Several years ago I played capoeira and my teacher took a few of us to his home town in Santos. We stayed at a cute little hotel run by one of his friends. We got breakfast every morning complete with fresh fruit and juices. It was right around the corner from an arboretom, Orquidário de Santos and a short walk to the beach.

We went to the beach nearly ever day. I’d always have to stop for fresh squeezed sugar cane juice from a vendor parked next to the beach bike path. We felt spoiled laying out in the sun, with vendors getting us anything we needed: food, drinks (alcohol included), umbrellas, and chairs. One of my teacher’s friends was a pro surfer that started the first surf school in Santos. People would donate old equipment so kids could have something to learn on. He also made surf boards at the school. We had a couple of lessons and I learned how to surf for the first time!

The main purpose of the trip was to visit his teacher’s studio as well as a couple of other studios, but we hardly spent any time playing. Instead we were at the beach, shopping, sightseeing and just enjoying the people. My teacher is well-known in his city and we couldn’t go anywhere without someone calling out to say hi to him. That also meant we met a lot of fun people who took care of us and showed us around. I started getting recognized and people would wave hello to me. I was becoming a local.

One Saturday night we went to an amazing fish dinner. We crossed the water in little ferry boats to favelas on an island.  It took place in this large backyard of a family. They sold tickets which included the meal, as well as live music and dancing. In the back were a few vendors selling jewelry. I bought one of my favorite bracelets from a nice lady that made it by hand. The next week I saw her as we came out of a little shopping center in Gonzaga. She greeted me as if I was an old friend she hadn’t seen for a while.

We did quite a bit of sight-seeing, including visiting São Vicente.  We got in an ample amount of dancing, videoke, and live music. On my last night there, we danced the night away at a club on this small island just off the coast. The view was amazing!

The trip was just so much fun. I could easily see myself staying there. Did I mention how beautiful it was and the abundance of fresh fruit? Needless to say I cried when I boarded the bus to come home.

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