Campos do Jordao: Not What I Was Expecting

18 11 2007

on an elephant


Dear Diary,

Yes, that’s me. On an elephant. In Brazil. Turns out that Campos do Jordao is a little more exotic than I’d thought. “Exotic,” that is, if you consider gigantic concrete elephants as such, rather than as corny and silly (which, by the look of utter excitement on my face I clearly do not. Good Lord. An elephant?! Does it get more exotic than that? I think not.)

My trip to Campos do Jordao was, for all intents and purposes, quite like how I would imagine a trip to Aspen, Colorado, or Switzerland. I say Aspen because of the mall called Aspen Mall, fashioned, I’m sure, after a mall that exists somewhere in that town.


And I say Switzerland because of the architecture: A-frame houses. In Brazil. You know, to keep all that snow off the roof. Because I’ll tell you, never in my life have I seen so much snow in a tropical country. Check it out!

I also say Switzerland because just about every other store in town was a chocolate store. This is not even remotely a joke. On our first night, we went to dinner at Baden Baden (the famous beer place in town where I got to have my first Red Ale in a year and a half!) and then had dessert at a chocolate shop. I ordered a hot chocolate, which was basically pure chocolate sauce, and Dennis ordered a crepe which was hidden entirely from the light of day by a pound and a half of chocolate syrup. I’d love to joke about it, but I can’t make that up. I will say that Dennis almost ate the whole thing and I almost gagged watching him try.

We spent a lot of time outside on our second day. The weather was beautiful and would have made for great beach weather, by the way. But it was nice and cool, which I guess is what I needed. It got so cold I even needed to buy a scarf! This is a picture of me at the Italian restaurant near our pousada. We ate a lot of food and drank some pretty crappy wine, but I was happy and woke up this morning with no regrets, which after a bottle of crappy wine in a foreign country, is the most you can ask for I guess.

Italian restaurant, CJ


What I thought was really funny was how cold people thought it was. Sitting next to us at that same restaurant was a woman all wrapped up in furs: fur jacket, fur hat, gloves with the little fur details at the top. In reality, it was about 60 degrees, and Dennis and I figured we’d have a pretty good time watching if we just picked up that woman and transported her to a cold Vermont winter day. She would probably die. Not that that’s funny at all. Guess you had to be there. What made it funnier is that at the same time this woman was all wrapped up in PETA-friendly fur, a kid my age walked by in shorts and a t-shirt. This proved to us that this town, Campos do Jordao, is pretty much a novelty town, where Brazilians come to wear sweaters and buy gloves and t-shirts that say “Ski” on them. They’d never survive a full day and night in the real cold in New England.

the trail

We got to go hiking in the State Park of Horto Florestal. Here there are a bunch of trails that go all over the place and we did two of the “difficult” ones. At the trail head was a map carved into wood of the trail, showing its 2600 meters of trail length. Next to the trail map, also carved into the wood, was a picture of a stick figure guy hiking up a hill with a frowny face on and the word “difficult” next to it. If that’s not a way to deter people from a trail, I don’t know what is. I had my flip-flops on and Dennis was carrying my sneakers in his backpack just in case. He asked if I wanted to change into my shoes and I told him I’d hold off until I felt I needed to change. Let’s just say that I had my flip-flops on the entire day. We did two frowny face trails in flip-flops. Meanwhile, back at base camp which is where the shops of handmade knick-knacks and cantina was, there were people wandering around in–get this–gold lame (that’s la-may, not “lame”) tops with leggings and heels on. At a state park, people. Let’s get out and enjoy nature a little bit, step outside the parking lot if you will. Needless to say, we saw absolutely no one on the trails we did. It was a shame.

There were many more wonderful things that we saw and did but now it is approaching 11pm and quite frankly I am a little tired. All-in-all it was a great trip. Now Dennis is giggling to himself like a little girl while he’s reading “Catch-22” and stopping every so often to ask me questions about word meanings. It’s a little annoying because I can’t complete a thought and so I keep pinching him to make him stop, which only drives him to be more annoying. We clearly have a very mature relationship. Have I mentioned yet how lucky I am?

Anyway, it’s off to bed.

Love, Gina




8 responses

18 11 2007
Tina (akaMom)

I was so confused when I tried to read your blog this evening – there wasn’t a new entry, but there were new pictures of you and Dennis – in Switzerland !!! What the heck ??? I know you guys like to travel, but really …… Anyhow, welcome back, and I’m so glad you had a great trip (by the way, you’d be wearing a lot more than fake fur tonight if you were here at home – it’s going to be around 15 degrees… 😦

19 11 2007
Nilsa S.

All I can say, Gina, is you look incredibly HAPPY in your pictures. Guess it doesn’t matter what you’re doing – drinking wine, hiking trails or sitting on fake elephants – so long as it’s with Dennis, you are one happy girl. Sounds like a great trip!

19 11 2007

Looks like you guys had a great trip despite no beaches. Its about 60 here in Arkansas and you would think by the way people are dressed that its a blistering 80 +. We are expecting wintry mix Friday of this week so I can’t wait to see how people will react. The world stops here in the south when it snows.
Have a great week!

19 11 2007

We had a great time! It made me so homesick for snow and cold, though! I can’t wait to go home!!!

20 11 2007

Sounds like you two are having a wonderful time. And here in Saskatoon, we’re expecting 10 degrees (farenheit) and snow flurries overnight. Bundle up, it’ll get much colder soon enough.

20 11 2007

How exciting!!!!! I haven’t seen snow in SO long!!! I’m so excited for it! (Although I wonder if Vermont or New England, for that matter, will have any, what with all this crazy warm weather.)

20 11 2007
Ana Borgonovi

hey ms. c,
its good to know that u enjoyed campos. i always go there and i just love the hot chocolate……..i also like it cuz it’s really cold!!

21 11 2007

Campos de Jordao was invented as an excuse for the middle and upper-classes of Sao Paulo to have a place to go to show off their winter clothing!

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