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Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Barra Grande, Finding Peace on Brazil'™s Hidden Islands - Page 2

Written by Nathan Slavik
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Everywhere we went it was the same story. The young girl working the desk at the palm-tree draped inn, the weather beaten ex-hippie selling coconuts out of a beachside cooler, the chiseled surfer napping under the afternoon sun, they all found paradise, in Barra Grande, a remote island off the northern coast of Brazil.

As far as we could tell a sizable portion of the island’s meager population had arrived the same way we had. Driven by some unnamable need to chase the next horizon they had stumbled upon Barra Grande and became hypnotized by its quietly swaying rhythm, they never left. Jackie and I were both work driven to a fault, yet somehow just a few days walking the island’s beached perimeter has inspired amnesia. I had forgotten about my job, appointments, the broken water heater, and began to notice how Jackie’s shoulders were slowly turning cinnamon brown. As we walked she talked about putting aside some money every month to buy one of the brilliantly painted houses hidden among the palm trees. I’d never heard a better idea in my life.

barra grandeFor all its splendor Barra Grande is not heaven, it is a real and tangible place. Shipments from the mainland were infrequent and occasionally non existent, if the store was out of bread they were out of bread. And yet there was a strange beauty in sitting down to a lunch of cheese and saltine crackers. We didn’t need expensive bottles of wine and four course dinners to find each other again; we needed sunburns and afternoon naps. We needed to ration our water and brush sand from our hair. In that scarcity we found the wholeness we were looking for.

All good things must come to an end. At least that’s what they say. We eventually began our trek home where we found schedules and endless numbers of TV stations waiting for us. Only now we have a different sound tucked somewhere inside us. If we can only shut out the noise of the rushing world and hear Barra Grande’s swaying orbit, the peace we felt there is not lost. We carry it with us, at least until we return and buy the small orange house lost in a maze of palms. Then when travelers find us we can say, “You see, we came here on vacation seven years ago and never went back.”

barra grande

© Nathan Slavik

(Page 2 of 2)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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