29 March 2012

Manguinhos Beach

For a lot of people, the burning question to us has been, "If you two don't go to the beach, why on earth are you living in a beach resort?" We were even rather aggressively challenged years ago by an Israeli, married to a Brazilian, who insisted that non-beachgoers should move to the mountains, period. (Lucky for us he has since moved himself. He was getting a bit strident and tiresome.) Anyway, I wish I had a snappy answer, but I don't. We like it here. We like the easygoing beach resort lifestyle. We like to look at the water from our veranda. We like to hear the tide rushing in. We like to walk on a beach in the early morning, or late afternoon. I can't see any reason we have to log in some minimum number of hours per week "going to" the beach in order to justify our being here.

I admit, beaches are Búzios's bread and butter. They're what the hordes of tourists mainly come here for. The official beach count — the count appearing in the tourism promotion literature — is 27. But if we don't have house guests whom we want to treat to the grand tour, there are a dozen or so beaches that we don't even see from one year to the next. Still, each of the Búzios beaches is somehow unique, and they're not just about beautiful scenery and stunning geography. Each beach has a history. In the coming year I will travel around the peninsula of Búzios and post a blog on each beach, my way of reconnecting with the beaches around me.

Mark and I have the privilege of living on Manguinhos Beach, so that's where I'll start. This is the beach where the first summer vacation homes were built, so our neighborhood has an older, more settled feel. It's anything but a touristy beach. With its narrow strip of sand, large clumps of algae, and fairly unclear waters, it might even be said that Manguinhos repels tourists. Lucky for us, because we enjoy a peace and quiet unknown to so many other Búzios beaches. Windy Manguinhos Beach is home to the nautical sports that keep our view lively: there's a constant tableau of wind surfing, sailing, kite surfing, kayaking and the newest addition, stand-up paddle boarding. The beach's history? Almost directly in front of our house are the remains of an old rock pier built by slaves, and used for loading bananas during the period in which all of Búzios was a banana farm.

Quiet, untouristy . . .

. . . rocky, muddy, pebbly, perfect

The old banana pier at twilight

Still a working fisherman's beach

And a wind sports beach

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