Finally, we got some rest! Our beds at Villa Chic are comfy, and we have aircon enough to fix global warming. Both happy chappies again, we’ve settled into the quaint little town of Jericoacoara. It’s not a bustling town, nor a one horse. But rather, it reminds me of a combination of Tofo in Mozambique, Koh Panghan in Thailand and Tangier in Morocco. It’s had the influence from the colonisers of Europe, and Spanish speakers flock to this idealistic town, situated far east of Brazil. As I mentioned earlier, it’s quite the effort to get here. But in every sense, it’s worth it. The town is situated on the edge of sand dune, next to a 160 km beach. At most the water comes up to your knees, for about a kilometer out from the coast. But you can expect the freshest of food, delivered to you with the biggest grin you can witness. Oftentimes, people try to talk you, but unfortunately, due to the lack of Portuguese, or Spanish, the exchange is usually short-lived.
Jetlagged, I got up at 6am this morning to explore the town. As I opened the door to our room, I was met with a harsh glare that could have blinded a blind man, struggling to see I squinted down the stairs. I couldn’t believe the sun was up so early. And it was hot. Our room had led me into a false sense of comfort. As I staggered down the road, I noticed that people were already up and about doing their daily grind, opening stores, washing down stoeps, getting rid of the rubbish, that sort of thing. I happily snapped away, slowly making my way down to the beach front.
When I got there, to my bewilderment, there were people already out tanning. Hey? I thought, how is this possible at 6am? Anyway, keeping to myself, I took a few more photos of the sailing boats strewn across the beach, of people getting their early morning exercise in. What a life, why would you care about what was going on elsewhere in the world, if you could have this? I decided to take a dip in the glass like water. After all, it was about 30 degrees already.
A refreshing dip, woke me up somewhat and off I went to find out what time the kite lesson place opened. Hmm, 9am? Still another 2 hours! And in the midday heat! How on earth is my British milky ass gonna survive in this heat? I would be burnt to a shrivel! I made my way back to the hostel, just in time for the breakii. My first taste of Brazilian food. Tapioca pancakes, made from the root of the cassava plant. Delicious. Throw in some fruit and scrambled egg, and we were fueled up and ready to take on the day.
The wind was perfect for kite surfing, in fact a tad stronger than recommended. I gleefully booked my class. I had only experienced kite surfing once, but the wind wasn’t strong enough to do any sorts of manoeuvers, let alone get up. The lady at the Kiteiscool shop said to come back at 1pm, as that would be the best time to go. Yikes, I needed something stronger to battle the sun. luckily they sold zinc at the store, to which I thoroughly lathered myself up.
Ben’s first lesson!
The 4×4 soon arrived and I jumped in the back. There was an Italian lady who would also be doing kite surfing lessons. She was somewhat negative about Jeri. ‘Simple people, don’t have a sense between them’, she snarked. Well what do you expect from a tiny idyllic beach town, and it took you 4 years to realise that (she had previously lived here for a while)? Not letting her get to me, I said perfect day for kiting isn’t it. ‘Not really, they said the wind isn’t strong at the dunes’. Ah gosh, this woman is clearly is a bit of a negative nancy.
We finally arrived at our kiting spot, and I was met by a rather eccentric French dude called Leo! My friend, today we’ll learn to run and then to fly. You ready? Okay let’s go. First, we’ll do some kite control, I want to see you move the kite from 3 to 9 to 12 o’clock in the air (here’s a bit of an explanation). Stabilize the kite so that it’s sitting directly at 12pm. Okay check did that. Okay then bring it down, and start doing figure 8s. Okay, here it goes figure 8s…
As his English wasn’t great, and he tended to gloss over the important bits, I understood that a figure 8 was meant to be horizontal and not vertical. I pulled and brought the kite to the left. That’s a big no no… and I subsequently took off. NO VERY DANGEROUS, VERY DANGEROUS! YOU PULL TO MUCH! He was constantly on top of me, making sure I wouldn’t make a mistake. No you pull little, do more. No you pull too much, do less. This went on for ages.
Finally, I made it to the water for some body drags. I had control over the kite, and I thought it was a piece of cake. You good man, he kept on saying, you learn quick. I was strong on my left, keeping the kite under control, all the while dragging along the water. But for some reason, the right was weak. I got it a bit, but it frustrated me. I was getting annoyed by the fact that I couldn’t do it, and the constant do more, do less, do more, no less (reminded me of this scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshall).
Anyway, he seemed confident that I could get up on the board. Okay, let’s do this. I got the kite under control in the 12 o’clock position and mounted onto the board. I soon realized that it wasn’t at all about the board, but rather how you could handle a kite. I was up and away. But my instinct was to pull on the bar, downward. Of course this crashes the kite. But it was my first day! I was happy with the progress I made, and today, I do more (or less, no more)!