I have always associated my birthday in September with the onset of fall—crisp air, colorful foliage, homemade apple butter, warm tea and cozy fires.
It was sort of strange, then, to spend my birthday this year on a retro sailboat gliding along on Lake Paranoá, snacking on tropical fruit and sipping champagne. Strange, but wonderful! I have to admit, one of the best things about living in Brazil is the climate. On average, temperatures are in the 70s or low 80s and it is normally quite sunny. There may be some gray days during the rainy season, but they never tend to last very long. Sometimes I feel like I am in a bit of a time warp, without having the seasonal changes to signal the passing of time.
I mentioned this to a friend last week and she explained to me that the change in season is much subtler here, but once you have lived here an entire year, you begin to tune into the changes and rhythms of the seasons. She’s right. At the moment, it is springtime and if you pay close attention, you will notice colorful blossoms popping up everywhere and the trees are a bright, vibrant green as their new leaves begin to form. The mango trees are chock full with fruit on the verge of ripening. We have technically entered the rainy season, but this past Sunday was a miraculously beautiful day with white puffy clouds, blue sky and a balmy breeze. Perfect for a day on the lake.
We booked our boat excursion through Experimente Brasilia, a company that organizes alternative, creative tourism in the city and beyond. They do an outstanding job at providing a chill, relaxed and fun atmosphere for their guests. My husband and I had been on two previous boat rides with them before and loved both experiences. The wooden sailboat is a one-of-a-kind here in Brasília and the crew is highly professional, yet very laid back. Their bar is stocked to make caipirinhas and other tasty cocktails, and they have a great selection of fresh fruit and snacks. The boat sails directly under the iconic JK bridge and out into the north side of Lake Paranoá, where you can gaze at the fancy architecture along the shore. As the sun begins to set, the captain turns off the motor and invites everyone to take a dip in the lake.
We spent three fantastic hours on the lake. Being away from family and close friends at home is sometimes difficult, particularly on holidays and birthdays, so I was even more grateful for the friends who were able to join us for the afternoon. It was definitely a celebration to remember and one of my favorite memories in Brasília to date.