Before arriving in Bahia, I did some research on Chapada Diamantina, the glorious national park in Bahia. After my WWOOFing gig in Seabra, I had plans to visit Vale do Capão, a measly hour and a half bus ride southeast.
Vale do Capão … Where the earth is red, the people are green and the water is free. You read correctly, several times I was told that many of the residents do not pay for water. That’s how it used to be, remember? Just like the rest of Brasil, the tap water is not potable but at least it doesn’t come with a price tag. It’s pumped from a river called Rio do Purificação (if i remember correctly … I forgot to write it down) There are a multitude of rivers, hiking trails, canyons, and waterfalls in Capão (sort of pronounced like Capone, the gangster).
After checking out three different BnB’s, I opted to do work exchange at Lothlorien, a wellness center and pousada (B&B). My first night in Capao, my two new roommates, Rosane e Tereza, invited me to come to a full moon celebration. First, we meditated then we gathered around a bonfire for food and drink. We were on top of a small mountain eating the most scrumptious beans and stewed vegetables. I remember whispering to what I thought was myself, “How did I get to be so lucky ?” A singer named Christine was sitting next to me and said, “Because you deserve it.” I was startled for two reasons: 1) I had no idea she understood English because we were speaking in Portuguese earlier and 2) I don’t believe any one deserves anything (however I chose to keep my mouth shut and accept another moment of good fortune).
Within context, it was a a bit creepy, that’s all.
The home cooked meal was just what my spirit needed after my dance with solitude the week before. In Capão, my diet was ideal mainly because at Lothlorien, we ate the food grown in the garden plus I made effort to stay clear of alcohol and cheese — except that one time we went for pizza and beer. I needed it after seeing two different penises on the exact same day. Many men and women wear only their birthday suit while enjoying an afternoon at the waterfalls. Two Penises and A Pizza, that could be a funny film title. I digress …
The following morning, I began work exchange at 9 am in the garden with Leutim. I know I’m spelling his name incorrectly but let’s continue. While pulling weeds, he went down the list of veggies that require seeds when planting … carrots, beets, ginger, yams, almost any root vegetable and most tropical fruits … papaya, mango, jackfruit, avocado. Many other vegetables and herbs can be transplanted and do not need seeds to grow, just roots, healthy soil, sunlight, and water.
The entire week was full on … yoga and mediation at 7am, breakfast, work until 12:30, lunch with the staff and other work exchangers, then hike and swim the rest of the day until about six o’clock when darkness crept in. Walking the streets alone at night is not a problem; nor is hitching a ride (corona); there hasn’t been a violent crime reported in Capão for more than sixty years. There is also a ban on mobile or cell phones which makes for a mellow and fully present town.
At Lothlorien, Recycling 301 is the pre-requisite course. It took me the majority of one week to understand the garbage rules there. Toilet tissue in one basket, clean trash in another, dirty trash in the smaller bin, AND another for q-tips, condoms, and empty toothpaste tubes, etc. Amateur recyclists beware; these people are green and lean to the core.
Simply walking around Capão is dreamy. Grand mystical mountains. Fierce during the day or night. More powerful than any office building or airport. My camera did a poor job at capturing the awesome beauty and the feeling of being surrounded by such magnificence.
Capão is a valley; and if you dare, you can get lost and never return home. Each time I asked someone if they lived there, they responded … “well, no just passing through … or … maybe for a little time.” It’s a mini-mecca for free-spirits, artists, healers, and hippies. Strictly Peace and Love people.
Almost caught up with blog posts. It seems that when I have plenty of time, I have little internet access and when I have less time, I have access to a fast speed connection. Such is life … All is well in Itacare, I had my first surfing lesson early this morning and now I must go to bed. Walking 8 km to a beach called, Jeribucaçu in the morning. Boa Noite!
Happy Weekend Friends and Family!
Sending love, warmth, hugs, and sunshine.