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20 July 2013 / leggypeggy

One must maintain some standards

Monte Pascoal

Monte Pascoal from a distance

We hoped to spend part of an afternoon at the Parque Nacional do Monte Pascoal, on the coast of Brazil, but things don‘t always go according to plan.

Danny had called ahead—twice—to let them know we were coming and to ask for an English-speaking guide. Yes, yes, that would be fine!

As a national symbol to Brazilians, Monte Pascoal (Mount Easter) is worth a visit. According to history, it was the first part of land viewed by Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral, who is believed to have been the first European to arrive in Brazil, on Easter Day in 1500.

When we arrived all those years later, about two-thirds of the group put their hands up to go on the hour-long guided walk that led to a point where we could get good views of the 536-metre, hump-like mountain.

Brazilian scenery

The landscape near the Parque Nacional Monte Pascoal

But there was a hitch—or three. The guide at the visitor’s centre didn’t speak English, he wanted almost twice the price agreed on the phone and he had spent the morning drinking.

While Danny and Colin went to find a substitute guide (guides are compulsory) at the right price, a no-nonsense woman, with a baby perched on her hip, marched along and gave the tipsy guide a good finger-wag and talking-to. Perhaps it was his wife telling him off for drinking on the job.

As it turned out, there weren’t any other guides available, so we could go with the drunk, who we might have to carry there and back, or we could pass.

We all agreed it was right to pass, rather than encourage such behaviour in future. So sometimes you just have to pile back into the truck and drive away.

Colin pointed out the saddest aspects in all this. In 2000, the Brazilian government handed the national park to the Pataxó people to maintain and run. There are fewer than 3000 Pataxó still living in Brazil and the park gives a community of them employment and prosperity, and allows visitors to see how the Pataxó live.

Even though the Pataxó missed out on our monetary contribution, we didn’t miss out on a bit of ‘luxury’. The visitor’s centre had working toilets with toilet seats and toilet paper. Woo-hoo!

Plus we saw great scenery as well as Monte Pascoal from a distance as we drove in and out.

Brazilian pub

The local watering hole where our would-be guide may have spent his morning


Leave a Comment
  1. skippersy / Jul 20 2013 5:15 pm

    Of all the great places you have visited in the past year, this one seems to have not been a big deal to have not seen (a guided tour). Not like if you had missed the ship to see the Antarctic or not have seen Whales in the ocean… You mentioned it is very hot in Brasilia… so hope it gets a bit cooler for you, poor John and co-travelers.


    • leggypeggy / Jul 20 2013 7:11 pm

      You’re right Sy. It wasn’t a tragic miss, but still worth the story.
      As for the weather, it may be hot during the day, but it’s beautifully cool at night.


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