Doug McLean World Tour 1999-2000
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Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2000 9:17 AM
Subject: Mar. 9-13, 2000: Lencois...LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE!

Current Date/Location: Tuesday, March 28, 2000. Recife, Brazil...on the NorthEast Coast of Brazil...almost the farthest East point in all of South America.

Current Itinerary: Staying in the area for another week or so...see notes below. However, I am planning to visit Porto de Galinhas and Jao Perssoa this week (local beaches)...and will be moving on to Fortaleza next week...I
think.

CORRECTION to HEART CONDITION:
I think I confused quite a few of my friends in my silly attempt to be witty in my last journal. I am not suffering from a physical heart condition...but rather have met a special girl (who happens to be a doctor...beautiful, funny, smart, witty, and 6 feet tall! (180cm for all of you silly people still using the antiquated metric system)) who has caused a sort of emotional heart condition. While I was trying to allude to it in my last journal, I got a few concerned e-mails from friends hoping that I am doing well and wishing me a quick recovery...so don´t worry about me...I am
doing fine. Infact, I am currently doing much better than fine...and am staying here in Recife for another week to spend more time with her...doctor´s orders! (smile)

JOURNAL:
March 9, 2000 (Thur) -

Arrived into the city (um...correction...make that the pueblo) of Lencois at 4am...ugh. We hadn´t known that Sally was headed to Lencois, but she was on the bus with us...small world, eh? Anyway, she was waiting for friends off
the next bus. Long process, but finally checked into Albergue Helia. Agustin was soooooo happy to go to bed...was basically the Walking Dead by the time he fell into bed and the last thing he said was...Doug, I´m soooo HAPPY...thanks for getting this room!

I woke in a few hours and got up. Found a note from Sally saying that she was going on an overnight hike and would be back tomorrow night and would have dinner with us then. I met some Israeli´s (surprise!) who invited me
to go hiking with them around some of the hills and streams nearby. Lencois is in the heart of the area called Chapada Diamantina which is a large region consisting of rocky hills, cliffs, streams, and waterfalls...really a
lovely, outdoorsy area...very peaceful...and devoid of Raggae music!

We went walking up the hills which had lovely streams running down them. The streams had carved out channels in the rock and also had opened up some holes large enough to swim and relax in. We all went swimming in a couple
of these water holes, looking down the hill at the town. Also, the locals use these holes and flat rocks to wash and dry clothes, so down the hill below us were many of the town´s women (men don´t wash clothes here) washing
clothes. Then, we hiked upstream to a small waterfall which we all enjoyed! Returned to town...had a snack at a wonderful sandwich shop called Beija Flor...great sandwiches...slow service, but cést la vie...we are certainly
in no hurry.

Back at the Hostel, Agustin had recovered. We rallied and went out to dinner with the group of Israeli´s to a food by the kilo restaurant (buffet style, where you weigh your food and pay for it by weight). After dinner, we went to a bar on the square and relaxed and talked. Agustin and I were at a table with Haddas (a nice Israeli girl) in the corner. There happened to be various books on a shelf there, including country picture guidebooks to lots of counties. We grabbed the Mexico, Israel and United States books, and took turns doing show and tell about our countries...it was really interesting and amusing.

Talked about best festivals in the world...my vote absolutely goes to RUNNING OF THE BULLS IN PAMPLONA, SPAIN! (see bottom of JOURNAL for Mar 5-8 for more info). Another guy was adamant about Burning Man estival in Nevada, USA. (Hmmmm...any other nominations from my friends?). Met a Scottish girl named, Marion...she was very nice.

Long story, but sometime that night, Agustin and I bet that he couldn´t go without a cigarette until we saw Sally (who had left us the note to have dinner with tomorrow night).

Crashed late.

March 10, 2000 (Fri):

Sometime around 7am, our room gained 2 more people. We would later learn it was Colin/Scotland and Danielle/Australia. Woke late (like noon or 1pm...feeling very useless...Carnival had been VERY rough!)...sat in the
room and read (still reading Wild Swans...big book) until hunger finally motivated us to leave our cave. I also desperately needed to have my clothes washed (had gone through the entire Carnaval without washing (everything was closed) and now my clothes would be considered a bio-hazard in most civilized countries!) so I took them with us into town . I dropped them at a laundry place that promised to have them done today...ahhh...a promise of cleanliness. We went to have lunch at Beija Flor...but it was closed...sniff sniff. I bought a big bag of cookies (...can you guess what kind???), and we ate them while sitting on the square (yes, surprise, coconut).

Won the bet! This was because Agustin finally gave up thinking that we would see Sally...maybe she fell off a mountain or something...who knows...but anyway, he had a cigarette around 7pm and I claimed victory!
Needless to say, I was estatic to win the bet...and was even more estatic to hear that our group of Israeli friends wanted to go to a really nice STEAKHOUSE for dinner! I told them that money was no object, and that we
should go to the most expensive place in town. I ran into town and recovered my clothes from the laundry place...I was as proud as a new father, and carried my bundle of joy back to the hostel as carefully as a baby...ahhhh...clean clothes!!! I almost danced the Meposian dance of joy and happiness!!! (Reference old Taxi Reruns...Latka rules!)

Had dinner at the steakhouse...it was great! They brought out the steaks on big platters (heated underneath with fire...it was cool). We had chicken, Brazillian Beef, and Argentinian Beef...fortunately for us, the Argentinian beef and the Chicken was served (and devoured) at our end of the table...mmmmm...Agustin was a great sport and bought my dinner (with a couple of good natured grumbles of protest and mild cursing about Sally).  We were going to go dancing...but really couldn´t be bothered...our day of lethargy extended it´s slothful hand into our night...and we found ourselves excusing ourselves from the group to go back to the room...read for awhile...and slid blissfully off to sleep...

Ahhhhh...LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE!!!
March 11, 2000 (Sat) - Woke up absolutely pissed! It had rained quite a bit last night, and the water had flowed in under the door! Colin, Danielle, Agustin, and I all woke to a half inch of standing water on or floor!

Needless to say, most of our stuff was soaked...but the worst thing was that many of our precious books were soaked! Wild Swans was drenched (I had been reading it, and placed it open on the floor beside my bed)...I was just 50 pages short of finishing it! I was more than a little livid! The only thing that saved me from personally exploding was that my precious clean clothes were actually up on something and did not get wet...otherwise, I would have erupted! Anyway, we went to discuss matters with the management...grrrr...I was in a mood to kill...but to their credit, they were very apologetic and quickly cleaned up the room and did all possible to help.

Oh well...I guess into every life a little rain must fall...I had just not expected it to fall into our room...but nevertheless, we moved rooms, laid everything out to dry and hoped for the best. I did not know if Wild Swans
would be ruined, so I sat there and read the last 50 pages while meticulously (sp?) turning each soaked page. It was a great book about 4 generations of women living and surviving in China. I highly recommend it to anyone. I don´t have any great quotes out of it, but it is a moving story and gives a great insight into conditions in China, rise of communism (Chairman Mao), and the treatment of women in that society.

We (Agustin, Colin, Danielle and I) eventually headed out to see the area (around 3pm...the morning being shot by the water in the room crisis). We had heard of a local natural waterslide, which sounded like a good way to spend the hot afternoon. It was lovely...water cascading down large smooth rock...allowing people to slide down it. We enjoyed it for awhile...each of us went down the slide atleast once...Danielle loved it and went atleast 3
times. After we had been there for a couple of hours, guess who walked up...Sally! Needless to say, Agustin gave her a ration of shit for not being around the night before to help him win his bet...but cést la vie, she had enjoyed her day hike and returned late the night before.

We (Agustin, Colin, and Danielle) all went to dinner at the steakplace again that night...again, they came through with wonderful steaks and we were all happy...very happy.
 

March 12, 2000 (Sun) -
Agustin and I decided to be somewhat productive today...and embarked on a somewhat ambitious 3 hour hike up the valley to a waterfall we had heard about. We were not exactly rocket scientists about preparations for this
hike, and ended up doing it without aid of water...this would later prove to be a problem. The hike was nice...but unfortunately found that the river was too high to cross to go to the waterfall...just about 15 minutes short
of our goal...cést la vie. We walked back...but I was pretty dehydrated. Arriving in the town, I got some water and drank it...but in retrospect, I don´t think it was enough. Went back to the hostel and collapsed. Sat in
bed reading...and noticed that my lymph nodes under my jaw were swelling...hmmmm...danger Will Robinson! Finally headed into town to get some more water and to have dinner around 10pm...but I think the damage was
done...my lymph nodes were being attacked by something (Bacteria, infection, simple dehydration...don´t know...I´m not a doctor...thought maybe I should go find one...(note, this is obvious foreshadowing...))...went to bed hoping to be better in the morning...we scheduled to go on a guided tour with Haddas to see a huge waterfall...one of the largest in South America.
 

March 13, 2000 (Mon) -
Woke...lymph nodes under the jaw each swollen to the size of a ping pong ball on each side of my throat...not exactly a good thing, eh? Anyway...when our friend Haddas knocked in the morning to have us get up for the tour, I decided it was better to stay in bed...Agustin also decided not to go. Anyway, we did nothing all day...lymph nodes inflammed and mouth dry as a bone...I guess I was worried ofcourse...but but cést la vie...not much I could do. I took some antibiotics that I had brought on the trip for stuff like this, drank probably 5 liters of water during the day, and hoped for the best. We decided to head out of town...Lencois was getting old...we wanted to go up the coast to Maceio. We had dinner, stayed up late, and got on 2:30am bus to Maceio...swollen nodes and all...when you are travelling like this...health is sometimes secondary, you need to keep moving...onwards to Maceio!

Doug
Texas Nomad