Jericoacoara in Washington Post (1987)
|Beauty and the Beach|
The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext) – Washington, D.C.
|Date:||Mar 15, 1987|
|Text Word Count:||4393|
|In the instant that I reach the beach, every inconvenience seems insignificant. Huge beige sand dunes and coconut trees seem to stretch as far as the horizon while waves lick brown sand so smooth and clean the sun glints off it as brightly as if it were ice. A boy gallops bareback into the breeze on a powerful horse and I feel as if I’ve stepped into a fantasy. But as I walk closer toward the men with brown leather skin and straw hats who grunt as they push ashore their jangadas-crude sailing canoes-I see the reality of life in Jericoacoara: thick veins on the back of hands, straining muscles, deep crevices plowed into faces. Dreamers do not live here. To survive one must sweat and work the mathematics of the moon and the sun and the wind.”You know the story of my father,” says Dona Isabel, nodding in the old man’s direction as she rests another plate of shrimp in the center of our table. “More than 50 years ago, when he was young and single, he went to a festival in a village called Parazim. It is inland, in a farm region, about 100 kilometers away. He rode the distance on a white horse, dressed in a suit, with a guitar strapped to his back. As soon as he arrived his eyes met those of a girl named Francisca and immediately they were in love. My father wanted to impress her, so instead of admitting that he was a poor fisherman from Jeriocoacoara, he told her that he was a traveling businessman from a large city. They barely knew each other when they decided to marry. And what a wedding it was! A procession wound its way through the streets of Parazim to the church, led by a town crier making toasts and drinking from a large glass of cachaca. After the wedding my father put Francisca on his horse and took her to Jericoacoara. When they got here, Francisca started to cry. `You lied to me,’ she said. You see, she hated the sea and wanted to live in either a city or on a farm.”Cal Fussman travels the world looking for adventure and the meaning of life. His last piece for the magazine was on a region of Peru that few Americans have ever seen. CAPTION:A beach like no other: From the air, Jericoacoara’s majestic, shifting dunes bring to mind continental-drift theories, as if the sands of the Sahara had moved thousands of miles and come down to the sea. Villagers caught in a time warp: Tourists have brought T-shirts and a sense of what money can buy, but most Jericoacoarans still live simply, taking their daily bread from the sea. Like a Martian seascape: At Morro Branco, on Brazil’s northeast coast, sun bathers find the smooth sands of the South Atlantic bordered by craggy hills made of 24 different colors of sand. Out of the sea in ships: The colorful little Brazilian jangadas, shallow-draft fishing boats with simple sails, are cast in and out of the surf each day by villagers who sell their catch on the beach. Snaring in serenity: A retired Jericoacoaran fisherman nets a night’s dinner amidst the awesome natural splendor of this sparsely populated and isolated area of the Brazilian coastline.|