Road tripping always seems better and shorter – regardless of the 11 hours in one day (round trip) I spent driving – in a foreign country. There’s something about new roads and cultures that makes me pay more attention to my surroundings. We ended up in an area called Paraty, got on a boat, and sailed to some islands near Ilha Grande… this is a work trip:
No trip to Brazil is complete without visiting MORE Project.
Meet Leondro. I photographed him about 5 years ago when he was just a little guy and just starting out at the project. He still is little I guess but it’s amazing to see how much he’s grown and progressed during that time. It’s proof the MORE Project is making a difference there in the favelas. Who knows where he’d be right now if not for the project.
Jo, the art teacher, and a few of the kids at MORE Project in Niteroi, Brasil. Jo is an amazing artist with a huge love for the kids.
[He’ll never know but this is my favorite photo from this trip]
I was sitting near the beach on a rock, right after sunset, thinking about my travels over the last two weeks when I saw this old timer. He was just sitting, thinking, taking in the beach and waves and sky… just like me. When I approached him to take a photo I used the international symbol for photo – thumb and index finger shaped like a C, moving my finger in an up and down like motion, saying “photo?” and pointing in his direction – this always gets the point across. He nodded slowly, smiled slightly, removed his hat and brushed his hair to the side with his hand- a very respectful gesture by him even though the hat was pretty great. I didn’t argue. I took a couple photos and was grateful he had allowed me to take his portrait. He then wandered off back up the hill seemingly in slow motion. Our paths will most likely never cross again but these are the things I remember. These 2 minutes of interaction made my entire trip.
After the first man wandered off, I wish now I had gotten his name, another old timer with 100 years of character and history in his face sat down. I didn’t quite make the connection as I had with the first man. Same approach, same result. He gently nodded and I captured a couple images.
The perfect way to top off the trip.
[black rock volcano beach on Stromboli]
Lipari became the next stop on the Calabrian adventure. I’m not sure how or why this came about but the choice was made. And it really doesn’t matter because it’s done and I’m there (the best part of the drift). After a short boat ride from Tropea, it stopped at an island… not Lipari and not expected. I don’t always catch every piece of Italian being thrown my way. So Stromboli it was, the first stop – volcano island. That’s pretty much the whole thing – volcano rock going right into the sea. The beach is black rock, very hot, and at times you can see smoke coming from the core. Pretty cool really.
[the view from my room in Acuacalda]
Eventually, the ferry pulled into the marina in Lipari. This place is a little throw back piece of Italy. Nobody speaks English, a good thing most of the time, with a small town feel. It’s laid back and peaceful. At any time you can see old timers shootin the bull on the corners, fishermen catching their dinners, and little old ladies wandering the skinny corridors. The night before I booked a B&B that looked pretty decent. It was 10 km from town. I didn’t know that at the time and wasn’t happy when I found out. There are pros and cons to booking a joint before hand – that’s a discussion for another time. This time I thought it was a con but turned out to be a great thing. A taxi offered to take me there for 30 euros. I don’t think so. Much too high for my taste. Next option: scooter. A mere 50 euros for 3 days. Done. They wanted 60 but I talked them down. I’m not traveling as light as usual but I was forced to (work obligations made me do it). I have an enormous Ogio bag and my pretty good sized camera backpack. Jokingly, I asked them if it was ok to load up my new ride, the HD 125cc Evo, with all my gear and the rental guys complied. Before I knew it my giant bag was balancing precariously on back with my backpack strapped to the front of me. No sweat. Once I got the 125cc’s rollin’ I couldn’t help but laugh for the next 10 km until I found the my new home.
[just another amazing sunset]