Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Taste of Green Corn

I returned from Easter holiday vacation with a couple of surprises. 
  • Solid internet connection
  •  Access to my blog
Since my move, the internet has been pretty tricky and I have had difficulty accessing my blog page. There has been so much that I’ve wanted to share about my travels so hopefully I can pull up some fond memories from my journal and share a relived experience with you lovelies. But now, I want to share with you my most recent adventure.

During Easter holiday, I spent time in a “tourist” town relatively untraveled by natives and quite unknown to foreigners. The town is called Milho Verde and it lies in center of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Following the reaction of several of my friends, I didn’t really know what to expect from this “country, antiquated, nature-town”, as it was more or less described to me. Surprisingly, from the moment I turned onto the rugged dirt roads, said goodbye to my phone service and internet access, it turned out to be nothing I’d expected and everything I’d hoped.

My days were spent hiking, wandering the natural terrain full of rivers, cliffs, and an abundance of beautiful rushing waterfalls. After hours of hiking I would recuperate in the natural pools and munch on the most delicious vegetarian pastels made by some of the local children. It was so liberating to trek shirtless, shorts less, and often barefoot in search of my own private waterhole that I could bask in without noise pollution, interruptions, or the natural discomforts of sharing a desirably personal space with unfamiliar people.

Although Milho Verde was the perfect destination for self reflection, it did not completely suppress my lingering social side. My nights were spent making friends from all over Brazil, singing loudly in broken Portuguese, and dancing until my legs gave out. I moved to the sounds of the most soulful samba singer. Her head full of dark curls bounced and swayed to the rhythm of her guitar strings as she sang with a voice smoother than pudim de leite condensado. The town seemed to come alive at night with joyous people spilling out of the bar and moving the dance floor to the dirt ridden streets. There were no rules and no dress code. People arrived in everything from swimwear to dashikis eager to build bonds without care and without judgment.

When I grew tired of the bar scene I escaped into the silent night where I sat atop the nearby mountain and got lost beneath the galaxy. There wasn’t heavy lighting for miles and miles and that was apparent in the night sky. I have never witnessed so many planets, shooting stars and constellations. I thought I knew the sky from various nights of camping in my backyard as a child but this southern sea of stars told a completely different story. Lightening struck off in the distance all around me but there didn’t appear to be a single cloud in the sky and no sign of rain. It was truly wondrous.

On Sunday morning, I opened my window and was greeted by more than the fresh morning air. There was a startled donkey that quickly fled the scene followed by a herd of cattle being directed by a young man in a buggy. Meanwhile, in the backyard, there was a tree full of monkeys, stealthy swiping bananas, and roosters from the neighbor’s yard that had become somewhat of a natural alarm clock since I arrived.

I began my Sunday with warm, homemade sweetbread from the local baker and went to the Sunday market to buy and sell some goods. The market, like the town, was full of amazing artisans. I discovered beautiful crochet and macramé pieces and my taste buds were reawakened by the different flavors of jams and marmalades. I befriended some of the vendors around me as we ate, sold art, and listened to live bossa nova.

My time in Milho Verde was nothing short of lovely and it demonstrated that exploration in the face of uncertainty can lead to beautiful results. The sites were memorable, the cuisines were delectable, and the people were amicable. Milho Verde is a rustic town built on peace and tranquility and the town dwellers openly accept all those who wish to respect and participate in the harmony that they have maintained. I encourage all those daring enough to escape the beaten path of Brazil’s hot spots to get a taste of the delicious Milho Verde.

With infinite love,
The Frohemian

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