Wednesday, June 24, 2009

4 Days in Natal

After returning from São Paulo on Sunday night, June 7, we left on Monday evening and headed towards Rio de Janiero. We stopped for the night in Juiz de Fora and then early Tuesday morning continued on to Rio. We went to the US Consulate to get Gabriela's Consular Report of Birth Abroad and also apply for her US Passport. Later in the day we visited our friend, DRL, and her precious new baby (exactly 3 weeks younger than Gabriela). That night we met up with one of Eric's college friends, Justin, and his girlfriend, Amanda, who came to Brasil for a couple weeks. Then the five of us hopped a late night plane (Gabriela's first) to Natal.

Natal is in the state of Rio Grande do Norte located on the coast in the northeast of Brasil. Fabulous beaches abound and pretty much all we did there was play in waves and lounge around on the sand.

We stayed in a hotel on Praia de Ponta Negra. The water there was a gorgeous clear blue-green color with great waves.

Our set-up down on the beach wasn't too bad either. A huge umbrella, lounge chairs, and Gabriela's new beach tent we bought just for the occasion. And the guys that were waiting on us hand and foot was rather nice too.

The weather played with us all four days we were there. Each morning we woke up to an overcast/rainy day which left us debating just staying in bed. But we'd drag our butts out of bed and go have breakfast. By the time we finished eating, the clouds rolled away to reveal a bright blue sunny sky!

While most of her time was spent hanging out in her beach tent (and keeping an eye on/talking to the fish and crabs that decorated the sides of it), Gabriela did put on her swimsuit, slather on the Baby SPF 50, and pose for a photo shoot on a couple occasions.

She drew quite the crowd of onlookers whenever she hit the sand!

I think she's ready for Baby Sports Illustrated. ;)

And she even went out into the water and got her toes wet. (Although I think she would have swam off with the fishies if we'd let her. The kid seems to love water!)

Besides spending time on Praia de Ponta Negra where we were staying, we rented a car and drove south to Praia da Pipa one day and north to Praia de Genipabu another day.

Gabriela got hungry on the drive back from Praia da Pipa, so we pulled off to feed her and stumbled upon a really pretty beach. And got to see a rainbow!

We really enjoyed ourselves at Praia de Genipabu. The beach there is really wide and flat, surrounded by huge sand dunes, and had big waves to play in (and get beat up by).

Praia de Genipabu is known for having great dune buggy rides and there was no shortage of people offering them to us. While I would have loved to go on the wild ride if Gabriela wasn't with us, she was. So we thought it would be best to keep our feet on the sand. I thought I had a pretty good excuse (a seven week old baby) to turn down all the offers and figured the guys selling the rides would leave us alone. But no such luck. Every single person who came around tried to convince Eric and me that it would be no problem to take Gabriela along. Of course, since there were four of us adults there wouldn't even be room to buckle in her car seat, but we could just hold her in our lap . . . it was safe they assured us. One guy even added that she would be perfectly safe unbuckled since his buggy had a roof on it. But hard as they tried, no amount of smooth talking was convincing the safety-police-parents. So Gabriela did not get to go on a buggy ride.

We also had to argue on a couple occasions that we needed 5 seats in vehicles (or more specifically seat belts) when we were arranging shuttles to/from the airport, supper, etc. Everyone kept telling us we could just hold the baby or, if we wanted her buckled in, we could hold the car seat in our lap. Nobody we dealt with could understand why we refused to let Gabriela ride in a vehicle without her car seat being strapped in. (I've had the same response from taxi drivers in BH when I make them wait for me to buckle her car seat in before I let them drive off.) Based on my experience and the number of kids I see jumping around in cars here, I would dare say Brasil needs to do a little work still on educating people about the importance of keeping kids safe in vehicles! Almost every adult I see driving is buckled up, but yet their kids aren't . . . strange.

Anyway, we had a fabulous trip to Natal - our first visit to Brasil's northeast. It is really gorgeous and we can't wait to get up that way again!

This is how I found Eric and Gabriela after I came out of the shower on our third day in Natal. I guess all that time on the beach wore them out!


Anonymous said...

That's where I am from!
Glad to see you had a good time.
And Gabriela is so cute in this yellow bikini! haha

Amanda said...

Em, the Lord knew exactly what kind of baby you and Eric would need your first time around!! What a blessing!! Gabriella is too cute in her teewny weeny bikini's and I cannot wait to see her in a few weeks!!!

Amanda said...

oh and I LOVE the water spout she's sporting now too!!!