The next day during a scary (now funny) event I wished we had left.
I was alone in the motorhome enjoying the peace and quiet with a good book and a cup of coffee. I had had quite enough sun and sand. Everyone else was on the beach. Suddenly my peace was shattered.
BAM! BAM-BAM! Gil pounded on the side of the motorhome. “Mom, Mom come out and look at this,” he whispers through the open window.
Coffee cup in hand I stepped out the door.
Wandering up the beach was a gigantic black man. The man’s appearance was so out of sync with the rest of the scene that we couldn’t help stare at him.
He looked up. Paused and peered at our red white and blue motorhome. The big head shook in wonderment and he scuffed through the sand directly towards us.
“Gil, Go get your Dad - Quick! “I whispered.
My hands tightened on my cup. Gil scooted behind me. I pushed at him. “Go on, go find Dad.”
I looked up as the man approached me. He had to be seven feet tall. His skin was the black-gray color of charred wood. His huge head was almost bald. What hair he did have was sticking up in tufts of varying lengths here and there. His shirt so tattered and faded that it had no color; the sleeves had been ripped off at the shoulder seams. It was too small, had no buttons and was tied in a knot above his waist. His pants didn’t quite close over his big belly and were held up with a fraying rope. They ended in a jagged fringe just below his knees. His broad feet were bare; legs dirty and scabbed. In one oversized hand he carried a filthy rag. He halted about two feet from me.
Gil was suddenly energized. He squirmed out from behind me and headed for the water at a run. “Dad, Dad” he shrieked. “Mom needs you. Randy. John. Hurry! Get Dad. Mom needs him!”
The black face broke into a big toothless grin. I relaxed; then I saw his eyes. The had the empty look of windows in a dark, deserted house.
He bent over and stared directly into my face. I recoiled at the smell. Gasoline?
“Café?” a grubby finger prodded my cup, and then touched his mouth.
I quickly hand over my half-full cup. The cup seemed to disappear in his enormous hands. He tossed the coffee down his throat. Looked in the empty cup and shook his head. He held it out to me and pointed into it and raised it to his mouth again. He wanted more
“No,” I shook my head. The grin disappeared. He moved closer to me.
The empty cup touched my arm. Then his mouth. His fingers brushed mine as he shoved the cup back into my hand.
He shrugged; put his filthy rag to his nose and inhaled deeply and loudly. Then he rubbed it back and forth over his head and face. Now I knew where the smell of gasoline was coming from. The rag was saturated.
I saw Bill, Paul and John coming up the beach towards us. They reached the motorhome. The boys silently passed behind the giant going into the motorhome.
Bill who was now behind him spoke in Portuguese, “Hello, what do you want?”
The big man grinned and turned towards Bill.
“I said, 'What do you want'?” repeated Bill.
Still grinning he strutted to the front of the motorhome and gestured at the big front window making wiping motions with his rag. He pointed again to the empty cup in my hand. He'd clean the windows for coffee. Effortlessly he reached towards the window.
Bill hollered “No, stop!” Too late. The giant took hold of one of the windshield wipers to pull it out of the way. It broke off in his hand. He turned it over and over in his hand inspecting it; walked to the open camper door and laid the broken piece inside.
SLAM! CLICK! The door closed and locked before he could turn around. Paul and John gaped out the window.
He crouched and stared at Bill; their eyes locked. He raised his hands.
“Noooo!” comes from the camper. Bill braced for what ever might come next.
His thumbs went in his ears, his fingers wiggle-waggled. A big pink tongue emerged from his mouth and wiggled.
He turned and ran back out onto the beach. A wild crazy laugh followed as he disappeared into the crowd.
“Did that really happen?” I asked Bill.
We saw him a few times after that. Usually at the gas station shaking the nozzle over his rag. He never approached us again.
I turned 40. It wasn’t as traumatic as I thought it would be. If you have to turn 40 Rio’s not a bad place to do it in. Bill and I caught a taxi and went to dinner and a samba show at the Hotel Rio Nacional. It was an excellent and very romantic dinner and the Samba show was spectacular. The dancers and costumes were incredible. Bright colors, bodies to kill for. And the guys were even better.
The next day it was raining and everyone was inside grumbling. Tomorrow we would leave - heading south again on the costal Rio-Santos highway.
We left Rio around noon. We only drove 130 miles and stopped at a resort. They had a campground of sorts where we could park. When we checked in we exchanged money for a string of pink and yellow plastic beads. These were to be used to purchase food and drinks while we stayed there. This was one of the first Club Meds.
The beach was white and clean, the water clear and warm and the weather perfect. We all enjoyed our stay.
The next day the scenery some how surpassed the day before. This area is known as the Green Coast and I can see why. On one side of the road climbing up the mountains was dense rain forests. The vegetation was of every shade of green imaginable. On the other side were white sand beaches flowing into ocean water colored a deep turquoise. Here and there were small green islands. We were told that some of the islands were for sale - what a place to retire. We also passed through many picturesque fishing villages. The excellent highway would quickly climb a mountain and as we reached the top the panoramic view would be breathtaking. Then we would go down to the beach area again. Some of the beaches would be small surrounded by rocks, others would stretch for miles.
We stopped for the night at Caraguatabua right on the beach. A river flowed out of the mountains into the ocean here. The kids spent the rest of the day and early evening swimming in it.
After three marvelous days for a one day drive we turned inland again, back to Sao Paulo. We arrived there in the evening and spent the night in the University parking lot. Met a lot of nice students who were curious about us. They would walk around us then some would knock on the door and introduce themselves. We would invite them in to look around and of course show them the newspaper from Curitiba. Most got a kick out of that.
Rio Land of the Giant and Samba Show