FOREWORD: Two nights of unsupervised uploading later, all my videos are now public on Youtube. You can see all 47 of them in their grainy glory here.
Here is my friend Eric sliding down a natural waterslide in the Chapada Diamantina National Park. At this same swimming hole I bruised my tailbone, imbedded a sharp pebble into the sole of my foot, and upon our guide’s “Yeah, dude” response to my “Is it deep here?” jumped onto a boulder from a 30-foot cliff.
Footage of a typical Brazilian family ranch. This video is much too basic, its simplicity too subtle, to compete with Fat Kid Falls Mario Brothers-style but for me it brings back memories of a humble place that grows more special the more South American cities I visit.
Me jumping into icy water. This waterfall, along with the hiking/bouldering/swimming trek to get to it, was the most adventurous part of the Chapada Diamantina National Park backpacking trip. In this narrow corrider to these hidden falls I felt poison-tipped arrows would whiz by my ear at any moment.
Itaimbezinho Canyon, some 150 kilometers north of Porto Alegre, is touted as “Brazil’s Grand Canyon.” Having now visited both I think the comparison is unfair: Arizona’s red-rock valleys are Mars-like compared to this sliver in the sidewalk. As you can see in the video though, it’s beautiful in less monumental ways.
Interesting side story: I met another cyclist inside the national park. Kevin is a German-Bolivian biking South America for an undefined period of time. Twenty-one thousand kilometers to date. We chatted routes and plans for a solid hour before I got the strange sensation that I had met him elsewhere. “Did you ever go to a mountain bike race outside of La Paz [Bolivia],” I asked. His face lit up with recognition. Over a year ago we had spent an entire day together watching bikes bullet down rocky trails! Check out Kevin’s German-language blog here.
Panaramic beach footage of Praia do Forte, just north of Salvador da Bahia. Eric and I survived the day on a beer and Subway sandwich after our ATM cards were rejected by all the town’s machines.
Eric and I hired a guide for a short backpacking trip in the Chapada Diamantina National Park. The morning of, motorcycles brought us to the trailhead, zooming through forest and crossing full-blown rivers at full speed. My driver—the craziest and fastest and therefore the first-est—came across a snake lazily lounging on the path. This video shows what happens when snakes don’t heed distance motorcycle sounds.
I’m not condoning the capture and display of wild animals, nor their use as playthings to scare hungover guides and tourists, but this Boa Constrictor had the last laugh: as a self-defense mechanism it shat a smell that so penetrated my driver’s hand that it would not wash away despite many attempts in mountain streams.
Panoramic view of the main plaza in colonial town, Diamantina. It’s just as peaceful as it looks….
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