Cooking With Kurma

Kurma Dasa

Kurma's South American Tour

Cooking With Kurma > Travel Diary > South America

Part Six: Pindamonhangaba, Brazil

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Day Seventeen

click for larger imageMadhava (one of the Gopala Restaurant ladies) had kindly offered myself, Avyakta and Mahabhakta her appartment to stay while we are in São Paulo. It is a comfortable but small place, so she has moved next door to stay with Nrihari (the other Gopala lady, just in case you're getting mixed up with all these names!) But very early this morning we left 'the big smoke' early for the countryside, and specifically our next destination, Pindamonhangaba, a north-easterly drive of appoximately 150km.

click for larger imageAs we sped down the highway, the sun rose through the morning mist. We passed a sign which read "You are now crossing the Tropic of Capricorn". This parallel marks the farthest point south at which the sun can be seen directly overhead at noon. As well as southern Brazil (where we are at present) this imaginary line 23 1/2° south of the equator also runs through Australia, Chile and northern South Africa. Brazil is the only country that passes through both the equator and a tropic. Technically speaking, the area between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn is known as "the Tropics".

click for larger imageAvyakta pulled over at a roadside gas station and as Mahabhakta and myself got out to stretch our legs, I noticed a big pile of large, fresh immature coconuts ready for juicing, just like in India. An employee with a machete was efficiently ('careful with that axe Eugene') lopping off the tops and popping a straw inside for a cooling and healthful drink for a small price. Who was I to refuse? This rare treat is available to all who are fortunate enough to reside in, or visit the tropics. The verdict: the juice was as good as the best I had tasted in India.

click for larger imageWe arrived in the town of Pindamonhangaba late in the morning. Affectionately known as Pinda, it is situated 150 km from São Paulo and 270 km from Rio de Janeiro in the region also known as Pindamonhangaba in São Paulo State (SP), of which São Paulo is the capital. (Are you getting all this?!) We didn't stop in the town, however, but rather drove a few extra kilometres to Bairro de Ribeirao Grande, home to the famous Hare Krishna farming community known as Nova Gokula. The area is lush and subtropical, and the clear blue skies were a stunning backdrop to the road sign annnouncing that we would soon be entering the environs of this remarkable place.

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