A buggy, a boat and a dromedary: A tale of a day in the dunes of Natal, Brazil.
And a monkey. Yes, there`s also a monkey in this story.
But first things first.
I don`t know if I`ve mentioned before, but if you don`t know me, nice to meet you, I`m from Brazil. I`ve been living in Barcelona for almost 8 years now but every year I come back to my home country, searching for some family love and white sandy beaches (why do all the Mediterranean beaches have rocks instead of sand? Not very comfortable on my back side…). Not every place in Brazil is always warm – yes, we do have winters there, pretty cold ones in the south – but I`m a smart girl so… I only go on February when is winter in Europe but summer in Brazil, yeah!!!
So one of the times that I went me and my mom decided to go somewhere nice, she was on holidays. We chose Natal, a city in the northeast of Brazil, famous for its paradisiac beaches, white sand dunes and amazing food. I love traveling with my mom because you would think that you can`t really do crazy things when traveling with your parents, and my mom is usually this super responsible down to earth person, but I found out that when we are away from home she can just let go of this and have a lot of fun. So we did.
After spending the first day eating all the different local things we could find, drinking litters of água de coco (coconut water, wish I could have a tap with this in my sink) and relaxing on the beach/swimming pool/hotel`s jacuzzi, the next day we decided to explore.
We bought this tour through the dunes of Genipabu in a buggy (a small convertible car commonly used in the beaches of Brazil). The first signal that this was going to be a memorable day was when the driver asked us if we wanted the ride “with emotion or emotionless”. I immediately screamed “with emotion!!!” only to find out a few minutes later that this means going for a maniac-hold-on-tight-high-speed-buggy-ride up and down giant hills of soft white sand. Definitely a lot of adrenaline!
In Natal, you have km and km of dunes, almost like a small desert, except that they are by the sea. To get to the center of it we had to cross a river, in the middle of the dunes. Definitely not something I was expecting. The locals have those mini ferries built out of wood so cross the buggies, no engine, just a guy paddling. We had to do the same thing on our way back.
You can notice the immensity of the dunes and how powerful they are when we run into some (now abandoned) villages that were taken by the sand. The battle men x nature has a clear winner in this part of the world…
But we are talking about Brazil here so even under the most extremes weather conditions, life thrives. There is an “oasis” in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees and the most beautiful lake…
So dunes, sun, an oasis, all very Saharan like… All we needed to have the perfect desert experience was a camel. But we were in Natal… Wait, they do have camels there, and camel rides! Actually, they are not camels, they are dromedaries, and before you google it, the difference is that those only have one hump. But they are as grumpy as the camels, and a little lazy too… I got to ride this really nice lady called Sherazade.
If you think that after that we had enough of unusual animals, well, you don`t know me… I grew up having a farm and surrounded by all kinds of animals (not only the domestic ones) and I love animals. So somehow while riding the buggy we managed to find a monkey. No, he was not alone, he belonged to a man. But looking at those pictures you can see who was in charge of the situation. Just to be clear, he wasn`t on chains or any ties, and he was the sweetest thing, not scared or threatened (I`m against animal abuse). He was ok with me, but he totally fell in love with my mom, giving her little “kisses” on the cheek like you could see in the picture of her!
…So I had to find another animal to love, Felicia style…!
Our ride back on the buggy was more to the emotionless side, or at least that`s what I thought. Until we made one last adrenaline junkie stop at this place: A natural swimming pool tirolesa in the middle of the dunes! Talk about an exciting day…!
For more adventures in amazing Brazilian landscapes, check this post about hiking in the most beautiful (and totally unknown!) waterfalls here!
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