Part Six: Pindamonhangaba, Brazil
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(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.
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
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.
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.