2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Lost Theory July 2014

On Monday 21 July we headed out of Modem Festival towards our next destination in Croatia, which would be the Lost Theory festival and about 100km drive. Again our friends had sent us GPS coordinates, which made it easy for us to track them down.

It was still quite early to arrive at the festival seeing the music only started on the Wednesday evening, so we setup camp along with Eric & Miriam as well as another couple Marcos & Angela. After we setup our tents and shade we decided to go and stay at a local “Pension” aka backpackers or self-catering.

The Pension was a real blessing in disguise, we had all sorts of facilities and could cook ourselves dinner. Then after a fair bit of drinking and merry chats we all crashed hard in comfortable beds. There was heavy rain that night, which also added to the feeling that we made the right choice to stay in the Pension. The best part of the pension were the kittens, there were three little critters that I bonded with. I started putting them into my zip up jacket one by one and eventually had all three in my jacket sleeping. So cute!

In the morning I slept in late, then had a bath and realised I was totally on holiday! Until then I had been missioning with no breaks or time to think, we were just driving, partying, eating, barely sleeping and jolling hard!

We eventually headed back to the festival, but made a quick stop at the supermarket beforehand. We were well and proper stocked with food and booze for the party. As we arrived our campsite was of course already setup, so all we had to do was unpack a few items and move the cooler boxes into the shade. We promptly started a braai (BBQ) and started to cook some awesome Croatian beef, this became a real theme for the next few days along with Karlavakov Croatian beer.

There was no music on the Tuesday, so we didn’t do a whole lot other than get excessively drunk, swim in the river and talk shit. It was early to bed because I knew that this would be the quiet before the storm. Wednesday during the day seemed like deja vu as we did practically the same as the day before.

Wednesday evening was the start of the festival, the music kicked off at 8pm on the main dance floor, until then none of the normal festival goers were aloud through the gates to the main area. As we (myself and the 6 Germans) walked down to the main floor we fetched the Danish peeps and got ready to have a phat party!

The floor looked amazing! The decor was spectacular! Everyone was excited! It looked to me like the entire campsite had walked down for the start of the main floor music. You could see the energy was electric. We all partied late into the night and crawled back at different times.

The first full daytime mission on the dance floor was super. Stephan and I prepared by having a braai, eating more than we should have and  packing a back full of whatever we needed so we wouldn’t have to walk back to the tent. Music was perfect and we had a blast!

At 5pm approximately every day the music was turned off on the main dance floor for about 3 hours. This was actually perfect because it forced everyone to go back to their tents, relax, eat and recharge for another evening session. That evening was more of the same, good music, psychedelic colours and mates having it on the dance floor!

Before we knew it Friday was upon us and I was starting to feel a little tired. I decided to relax some more during the day, the campsite was the perfect place for relaxation, we had food, booze and awesome company…. That night I decided to sleep a solid 12 hours after the afternoon stomp session.

Saturday day we partied as per usual, but that night the heavens opened up on us and it rained like there would be no tomorrow. Somehow we managed to still have fun and enjoy some of the music. Sunday the rain continued, but luckily it did ease up for the last night of the party. I made the last night count and crawled back into my tent just before sunrise.

Stephan and I decided to pack up on the Monday because the weather was looking pretty dismal. We had a camping trip planned for after the festival, but it wasn’t looking like we would be able to go camping. Our German friends all were packed up and we headed out of the festival kinda sad to see it go. What an amazing week of fun and music.

Thank you to everyone who made my Lost Theory an unforgettable experience!

Momento Demento July 2014

After our incident with the local dick Croatian police we went to get our wrist bands for Modem Festival. Our friends had saved a camping spot for us in the camper van area, so that was our end goal!

We drove into the campsite with GPS coodinates and found Eric & Miri immediately. I cannot begin to describe the relief and excitement I felt when we found them. At a large festival it can be practically impossible to locate people! Woooohoooo…. Let the party begin!

We quickly setup our campsite and began excessive drinking! I couldn’t believe that I had arrived at this festival with my friends, it was too good to be true. It was lovely to be around long time friends, chatting, talking about old times and catching up on all sorts.

I kept introducing myself to random foreigners with the phrase “Hello, my name is Ash and I am from Cape Town, South Africa”, people were quite surprised that I had travelled so far for a festival. Then I introduced myself and the people responded that they were from Denmark. I thought to myself, I know these people and asked the woman if her name was “Michelle Miller”. Turns out I knew our neighbours from a Thailand new year festival. Epic!

After setting up our campsite, we started a braai (BBQ) and started getting well greased we decided to to head up to the main dance floor to see what the festival looked like while there was still some sun light. I headed up with Stephan, Eric, Miriam and my Danish friends.

The walk to the main dance floor was a long and steep journey. The campsite was strung out over a long thin route next to a river.The chill / alternative stage was next to water falls with crystal clear water. I was blown away by the beauty of the campsite!

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The stairs were killer, they went straight up, in the beginning this was a novel and pretty experience, later I would learn it was much better catching a lift with the shuttle bus.

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The main dance floor was totally covered with trees, the decor looked great and the DJ booth was incredible! Our Danish friends had a small second campsite at the main dance floor, so we setup there and started a groove session on the dance floor.

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I have gotto say that I can’t remember being as excited as I was the first night at Modem fest. I was chatting to all sorts of new people using my “catch phrase”, it worked a charm for getting random conversations going!

The night time started to set in, but we realised that Stephan and I were poorly prepared for the evening that was ahead of us. The night was cold, we didnt have warm clothes, we didnt have a torch, we didnt really plan at all…

I suggested to Stephan we make the long journey back to the campsite, he reluctantly agreed (I don’t blame him as it was a 30min walk both ways) and we started our walk down. Things looked quite different at night without a torch to how they looked in daylight. We kept thinking we were almost there because we found multiple camper van campsites, but these campsites our campsite.

Eventually we made it back to our tents and car, grabbed our supplies, a torch and some warm clothes. Then we started our half hour journey back up the to the main dance floor, but luckily as we walked out of the camper van area I asked somebody for a lift. We got a lift up to the top in a brand new top of the range Porsche Cayenne! Oh my hair fuck! That was the most epic car ride I have ever had, so epic I left my torch in the guy’s car! Shit!

We arrived at our second campsite to join the rest of the peeps and the lighting was full power on the dance floor, quite a psychedelic experience!

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The night was a blur and I lost Stephan, somehow he found his way back to the tent barefoot due to loosing his shoes. No clue how he walked home without shoes or a torch, the road back was lethal.

The Sunday morning we started with a braai first thing, got ourselves well fed and prepared for another trek up to the main dance floor. This time we were a lot better prepared! We even packed swimming pants along with whatever else we thought we needed, there was no chance I was going to trek back and forth to the campsite.

The day party at the main dance floor was quieter than expected, seeing we had arrived towards the end of the festival a lot of the people had started leaving already, but was still a fun day.

Before it got dark we decided to go back and cook some dinner before the night session. It was pretty awesome cooking 2-3 meals a day at a trance festival, back at home I would just buy food, but we were fully kitted and prepared for this!

I was pretty tired by the evening, so didn’t last long and crashed hard in slumberland. Monday the festival went on, but Stephan and I decided to head over to the next festival Lost Theory.

Despite missing most of the Modem festival we had an absolute blast and were super happy we fitted in a quick stomp before the next party!

Arrival in Europe and road trip to Croatia

I had been planning my Euro trip for almost 6 months, the trip seemed for ages like it would never arrive. Time stands still for nobody and before I knew it I was boarding a plane to start my euro trip.

I flew on Emirates from Cape Town to Dubai. As I left the plane I met a South African, both of us had to wait about 8 hours until our next flight, so we thought it would be a good idea not to sleep and rather drink through the night. Was pretty cool hanging out, but admittedly not one of my brightest ideas, it was both tiring and expensive!

My next flight took me to Zurich, Switzerland. On arrival I used my British passport, it was so disappointing as they didn’t stamp my passport.  My SA passport has loads of stamps from all over, thats part of the travel experience…

My long time buddy Stephan fetched me from the airport and we headed back to his flat. He has been living in Zurich for the past year while working at an marketing agency, so after a brief visit to his Zurich flat we headed to his flat in Munich, which was our destination for the evening.

As we drove from Switzerland I was able to get a glimpse of the Swiss lifestyle, architecture, agriculture and more. Next we drove through Austria briefly and into Germany. What a whirlwind experience in my first few hours in Europe!

Before arriving at Stephan’s flat we stopped off to stock up on supplies for Croatia at his local supermarket. It was interesting walking through a foreign supermarket looking at brands of different products. The beer section was most interesting. We stocked up on various types of Munich beer, Stephan assured me that this was the best beer I would ever drink ;)

In the evening we grabbed some take away pizza, drank a few too many Munich beers and hit the hay early. Before we knew it we had to wake up again at 4:30am to start the long drive to Croatia. The road trip would take us from Germany into Austria, then through Slovenia and into Croatia.

I was blown away by Austria’s beautiful mountains, as well as their impressive roads and tunnels, it was like nothing I have ever seen. The architecture of the houses was interesting to see, I always love to absorb other cultures.

Slovenia went by quite quickly, i did however get to observe lots of farming and country side. I took over driving from Stephan at this point, which was a scary concept seeing I had to drive on the right side of the road, but I adapted fairly well ;)

As we entered into Croatia we were stopped for the first time at a boarder post and asked to produce our passports. After crossing the boarder the Garmin GPS decided to direct us off onto smaller roads towards the Momento Demento festival, we skipped the highways and tolls, which was a bonus.

The GPS directed us along a funny route, we kept getting taken onto smaller and smaller roads until the point where we were on a single lane for both directions of traffic.  I think we were driving on tarred farm roads or something. We suddenly found ourselves at the festival, the GPS had taken us via a back route and we ended at the end of the bottom of the festival.

We had to find our way to the gate so that we could get our tickets, but this is where we had a pretty serious fuck up occur. A scooter driver was flying down one of the narrow roads right near the festival entrance. There were loads of cards parked on the right hand side of the road, which forced me to drive in the middle of the already narrow road. The scooter hit the side of the car and crashed!

Personally I feel the scooter was riding too fast, but I admit that I was in the middle of the road, which meant neither of us were in the right. Problem was the scooter guy’s brother was a Croatian policeman from the local town called Slunj. He called his brother, two policeman and his brother rocked up. They blamed us and fined us 1443 Kuna or 2790 Rand. They held us for for quite some time while they wrote their police report.

Stephan and I remained calm, we knew if we argued these guys would make things really bad. I did a alcohol test and pass with 0.0 level. Croatia has a zero tolerance for alcohol, so if I had failed the test I would have been thoroughly screwed.

We then had to follow these dick coppers to the local town 20km away and wait for them to finish the report, after which we paid the fine. The whole process took almost 4 hours.  What a way to arrive at a party!

Fuck those coppers! Waste of our time and money!

Last week in Brazil

Barra Grande

After the UP festival we arrived in Barra Grande with no idea where we would stay. There were a bunch of festival people on the bus / boat trip, mostly they were Brazilians, but we happened to meet an Indian couple who we teamed up with. All four of us were in the same boat, we didn’t have accommodation and we didn’t speak Portuguese.

As the 4 of us walked into the Barra Grande town center we found a buffet restaurant and decided to eat some food, drink some beer and regroup. After an amazing buffet lunch, Karan (Shaneez’s husband) and I went walking around the area to find a Pousada. We walked up and down every possible within a 1-2km radius on the west side of the island, we asked about 15 different Pousadas, but got a negative answer from all of them on availability. It was however useful to ask for prices, we found out that the going rate was between R$200 and R$350 per night for a double room.

We circled back round to where our wives were sitting at the buffet restaurant and reported back that so far there was no available accommodation anywhere. The sun was starting to set and I was getting concerned that we wouldn’t find a place to stay. Karan suggested we try walking in an Easterly direction, so we headed off down another road. This time we split the task of asking for a room, Karan worked the left side of the road and I worked the right hand side.

We found a house with a lady outside, I asked her for help and she spoke some English, what a score! She said that she had a niece who spoke much better English and that she could walk with us to help translate. Rubero walked around with us for about 20 minutes, we kept asking and we kept getting turned away, it was now almost dark, I was worried…

The last place we got to was a holiday apartment block, we walked in and spoke to the owner about possibility of a free apartment to rent… We were lucky, there was one apartment available, the cost was R$500 per night, but there were 2 bedrooms (both with their own aircon), a lounge (with aircon), a self catering kitchen and a balcony. We decided to take the apartment as we were not going to find anything else! The next few days would be spent in luxury, just what we needed after staying in a tent for 9 days.

Karan and I walked back to the girls, when we arrived back it was almost dark, but we broke the good news and all was good. It was a bit of a walk, so we got going and hiked our bags to the apartment. We were all pretty shattered, it had been a long day of traveling and all of us had partied hard for the duration of the festival, so we were more than happy to unpack and crash early.

Barbs and I intended sticking around the holiday apartment for the next few days. We intended maximizing on reading, sleep, sunsets, food and generally get some rest and recovery in after a seriously festive festival.

We woke up after a solid 12 hours sleep and decided to head down to the town square for some breakfast. We found the perfect little breakfast spot with incredible coffee, great egg/bacon/burgers and the best Sucos I had drank all holiday. This would definitely be our breakfast spot for the next few mornings in Barra Grande.

Some of our new friends, Pandelis (aka Pando) and Jill from San Fransisco, had said they would be on the island, so I contacted them and we made plans to meet up. It was another story trying to explain where we were, the streets didn’t have names and the place we were staying was new without any name. I downloaded an app to my phone and sent Pando our GPS coordinates. He responded that they would come for a visit.

The GPS coordinates worked perfectly and they found us. We all hung out for a while in the safety of our air conditioned lounge, we chatted about the good times at the festival and generally swapped stories. A little bit later we decided to grab some lunch, so I took Jill and Pando to the buffet lunch place we had found the day before, we gorged ourselves on yummy food!

Barbs and I spent the rest of the day relaxing and reading at the apartment, our Indian friends were on a mission to explore, but we had no interest in doing anything. The evening arrived and the heat had subsided somewhat, so we decided to head towards the town center for some Caiparinhas and dinner.

As we walked along the beach, we saw a small bar spot and some people called out at us, they were on the boat the day before and invited us to join them for a drink. After the drink and a nice chat with the UP festival peeps, we headed onwards down the beach. We found a small stall on the beach selling Caiparinhas, so we made another stop, after this second drink, we were both feeling mildly drunk and very merry.

We walked back through the town center looking for a suitable restaurant and spotted a quaint little Italian spot. The menu looked good, so we ordered ourselves a spaghetti bolognaise pasta dish for two and a third Caiparinha each. The Caiparinha tasted like pure alcohol, it was bound to push us over the edge to the extreme side of drunk. We watered down the drink repeatedly with ice as we waited for our food. The spagbol was probably one of the best dinners of the trip. After dinner we stumbled home to our apartment and promptly passed out.

On our 3rd day, we grabbed some breakfast with Karan and Shaneez, then the 4 of us went searching to find a travel agency that could assist us finding a boat directly to Morro de Sao Paulo. A direct boat would be in excess of R$1000, so we investigated alternative options.

With much difficulty, mainly due to the language barrier, we investigate how to get to Morro. It turned out that we had to catch a boat back to Camamue, then we would catch a bus to Valença, then a taxi to the ferry and finally a boat across to Morro de Sao Paulo. The rest of our day was spent relaxing at the apartment reading.

We decided to catch a sunset at a river mouth, so the two of us took a slow walk along the beach to a view point. Luckily there were some clouds in the sky that helped make a memorable sunset and allowed us to snap some incredible photos. This was our first sunset of the holiday due to the fact that it was raining for the early part of the holiday and the rest of the locations we were we visited caught only sunrises. After sunset we grabbed another meal at our Italian restaurant, another delicious meal, but this time we skipped the Caiparinha.

We spent one more full day at Barra Grande, as per the previous days we relaxed back at the apartment and read before heading out for another Italian dinner. We bumped into various people we had met that evening and said good bye seeing we were on our way the next morning.

We settled up with the owner of the apartment block and headed town to the pier to start our journey to Morro de Sao Paulo. After about 5 hours of traveling we reached our end point, we were lucky and managed to get to each transition point just in time to catch the next transport.

Morro de Sao Paulo

When we arrived on Morro, it was great to see familiar surroundings, I didn’t expect to be that happy to see Morro, I guess we were in a different headspace. We knew roughly where we wanted to stay, it was called Che Lagarto Hostel, they luckily had some double rooms available with aircon, a comfy bed and clean bathroom.

After settling in Barbs and I headed off to find some Lobster at a restaurant I remembered, no lobster, but opt hey did serve us one of the best deep fried Calamari dishes I have ever had. We headed back to our accommodation for some Caiparinha drinks at an amazing R$10 for 2, needless to say we took full advantage of this special offer.

The two of us were looking forward to our morning session, we got up early, had some breakfast, check out and headed off for a beach mission at our spot on Quatro beach. It was about a half hour walk to our spot, but it was worth it. We setup our hammocks in the trees in front of the ocean. I went for a run along the beach, then came back to the hammocks to relax and read with intermittent swims in the sea.

We packed up around 1pm and started the long walk back to where our favourite local restaurant was, we had our usually Carne de Sol dish. Unfortunately we had to rush a little bit to get back to Che Lagarto Hostel, where we fetched our bags and headed down to the pier. Everything on track, we caught our ferry without any issues, happy days!

Salvador

We arrived in Salvador after an extremely bumpy boat trip about 2,5 hours after leave Morro. We knew exactly how to get back to Bahia Café, from the marina we walked across to the Lacerda and caught the lift up a level, then we walked a short distance to our accommodation for the night.

We had already stayed at Bahia Café twice before during our Brazil holiday, so we felt like we were in familiar suroundings. Our room was on the 3rd floor and we had a massive bed, with a super little bathroom.

After settling in and taking a refreshing shower, we headed out to grab some dinner. We felt like something different, so we found a Crepes spot and ordered something totally different. I had a Mexican crepe and barbs had a vegitarian one, we supplemented this with a couple of Caparinhas each…

We kept telling ourselves, these are the last Caiparinhas, but when we got back to Bahia Café we had another Caiparinha, so delicious and they kick your ass. The third drink always puts us down, so shortly afterwards we went to bed.

In the morning we had our last breakfast, the buffet at Bahia Café was awesome, so we took full advantage of the tasty spread of food, strong coffee and delicious fresh fruit juice. Straight after breakfast our taxi driver picked us up and transported us through to the Salvador airport where we caught a domestic flight to Sao Paulo. Before leaving the airport Barbs and I did a little shopping with our left over Reals, we specifically aimed to replace the sun glasses that were stolen at the UP festival.

Back in South Africa

Despite having an amazing time in Brazil, it was good to see the kitties, our home with garden, the big screen TV and being able to use our kitchen again to make smoothies, food and juices. Back to normality and work, traveling is wonderful, but it always seems to end so quickly.

My first sleep in my own bed was bliss, all 13 hours of it. Back to reality, but times are changing, this holiday inspired me for huge change…

Universo Parallelo 2013 / 2014

Day 1 – 27 December

A couple of days before we were due to leave Morro de Sao Paulo, we came across a travel agency / tour company with a hand written sign about a bus to the UP festival, so we bought tickets immediately. On the 27th December 2013 we started our journey to the festival. First we had to hike all our bags to the pier on Morro, then we boarded a speed boat to Valençia, after which we caught a bus to the festival.

The bus was not able to drop us off at the gates of the festival, we need to hike our bags close to a kilometer down the road. We arrived at the area where the gates were and saw a massive queue of people. First you needed to get your arm band aka festival passport, luckily foreigners who had bought their tickets online could go to a special queue, which was not hundreds of people and hours waiting. After getting our wrist bands we moved to the gate queue, which was unavoidable and pretty long.

It took us a couple of hours before we got through the gates, once we got through the gate we had our bags searched for alcohol, they didn’t try very hard and we managed to smuggle in a couple of liters of vodka and rum. We were allowed to take water into the festival, so I brought along a 10liter bottle. The drawback of bringing all this liquid was it weight a lot on top of our already heavy backpacks. So I had to carry about 30kg of weight to our campsite.

A friend of mine from South Africa had been to the festival many times before and he had suggested we try find a camping spot right next to the beach. I was determined to find a good spot, so Barbara and I kept walking, we must have walked another couple of kilometers or maybe more before we found the beach. Sadly it looked like there was no space anywhere, the front area was packed like I had never seen at any festival.

We lucked out and found a spot about 5 meters from the edge of the beach, we could feel the cool breeze off the sea and there was a lovely chill out stage about a couple hundred meters away. We had found our home for the next 9 days.

We were told that the heat during the day was almost unbearable and we should look around for guys who helped build shade structures at your tent. We found two guys wearing UP staff shirts who were building the structures. They helped put up our tent so that we could build the bamboo structure with palm leaves on top.

The festival has its own currency, so to buy food, water and bar stuff you needed to purchase tickets that you could exchange for what you needed to eat or drink. Being the start of the festival everyone was queuing for tickets, so we joined the queues… We were starting to realize that queuing patience would need to be managed carefully, no point in getting frustrated, we were on Bahia time which seemed slower than African time.

After grabbing some tickets we decided to get some food. There were queues are certain stalls, for example the pizza place, but they had an organized system for the pizza queue. We really needed to get the hang of the festival, Barbara and I were quite overwhelmed at first by the sheer number of people and the size of the festival.

We walked around for a while, but it seemed like there were no English speaking people… Then we heard some Aussies chatting to each other, so we introduced ourselves to them and they were really friendly. Great to be able to speak to people and understand what they say.

We had an early night because the day had been long.

Day 2 – 28 December

We woke up fairly early due to the heat, there was no chance you could sleep in the tent after sunrise, which was about 4:30 to 5am. Once the sun pops out it starting getting hotter and hotter, by 6am it was fairly hot and by 9am is was almost unbearable.

There was not any specific music we were keen to see on the first day, so we decided to relax next to the chill stage, which had some really interesting music playing. Luckily we bumped into the Aussies near the chill out stage and decided to spend the day with them getting drunk and talking shit. What an epic day, from swimming to relaxing in the shade, we worked our way through the day. We were extremely happy with our camping spot, it had an ocean breeze and was close to both the chill and 303 stages.

The main stage opened in the evening, but there was not too much we were keen to see.

Day 3 – 29 December

We went down to see Juno Reactor around sunrise, but it was only a DJ set and pretty crap, so we went back to the chill out floor that was playing really awesome swing music. It was quite disappointing because Juno Reactor is one of our all time favorites.

We had ear marked some music on the 30th December that we wanted to see, so we just decided to relax on the beach, we were loving the beach and the sea, the waves were so friendly and beach was a beautiful long white beach kilometers and kilometers long.

During the day there was little chance of sleeping properly due to the sun and the shade moving constantly, so by the time the evening came around we were shattered and decided to just sleep early. Barbara slept in the tent, but I decided to try out the beach, which turned out to be a fantastic idea, I slept like a baby until the sunrise around 5am.

Day 4 – 30 December

Today was the first day that Barbara and I saw music on the line up that we wanted to see, despite the main stage being open, we decided to stick to the 303 Stage, which was right next to the sea, so every half an hour we dashed over from the dance floor 50 meters to the ocean for a quick dip.

We stuck around the 303 stage for about 5 hours and caught 4 incredible sets:

  1. Solar Spectrum
  2. Flip Flop
  3. The First Stone
  4. Hujaboy

After the sun dipped down Barbara and I decided to grab dinner, then sleep on the beach. We got. Comfortable on our mattresses around 7pm and listened to Circuit Breakers, which sounded amazing. We were really enjoying the fact that we could party for few hours and walk off a short distance to our camp site to relax or sleep. We felt like we were at a beach paradise.

Day 5 – 31 December

It was strange being at a festival for 5 days already before the highlight which was change over to the new year. It didn’t feel like a new years party, it felt like a laid back festival with some activities.

We didn’t have much on the agenda for the day. We knew that the new years night would be long, so we decided to avoid the sun and sleep as much as possible before midnight. We woke up around 10pm after a fairly decent sleep and got dressed in our white clothes. In Brazil it was customary to wear white to the new years parties as a symbol of a clean or new beginning.

As we walked down to the main stage we noticed that most people were wearing white, so exciting, this is what we had been planning for so long, the moment was finally here. The main stage was closed for a break until about 11pm when Etnica in dub started playing so very chilled out beats. The main floor filled up really quickly and it was no time until the final count down…. 10, 9….. 3, 2, 1 and HAPPY NEW YEAR or Felis ano nova as the Brazilians say.

Day 6 – 1 January

At the Main Stage we stayed to watch two of our favorite acts called Atmos who played from at midnight and then Cosmosis who played a little bit later. This was the first time we had really enjoyed the music on the main floor, wow, what an experience.

We got some rest in becuase around lunch time on New Years day we went to the 303 stage to see Cosmosis again, the floor was small and not to busy so we could stand up close to the front and watch him do his thing. He played all his old school music thatwe loved so much and played a guitar with classic for at least every second track. We were hanging with the Aussies and they were also loving the music! I can say that Cosmosis played the best set I have ever seen, he engaged the audience, he even came down off the stage with his guitar and played for us on the dance floor, incredible!!!!!

Rinkadink played an old school set after Cosmosis and he is a South African living abroad, so I went up and introduced myself to him, he sounded just like a saffa. Once Rinkadink started playing we decided to take a break and go for a swim. The Aussies were sitting in the shade, so we joined then for some much needed sitting time.

I saw Cosmosis walking down to the beach, so Barbs and I decided to go and introduce ourselves and thank him. His name is Billy and he turned out to be super down to earth, so I took a gamble and invited him to sit in the shade with us. He joined us and sat around talking for over an hour. Then Rinkadink, whose name is Werner also joined us and the Aussies, Barbs, myself, Billy and Werner all parked off for a further hour.

Hanging with the artists really made our day! The music was incredible, what more could we have wanted. After a long afternoon Barbs and I went off to get some dinner, which was followed by bed. Luckily our neighbor had moved that morning meaning we could move our tent and sleep under our bamboo and palm leaf shelter. Not so important at night, but in the morning it would be a blessing.

As we were falling asleep we had the privilege of listening to the chill out stage where Etnica in dub was doing another set, what a lovely way to fall asleep!

Day 7 – 2 January

The day started extremely slowly, we were tired and seeing we now had space at our campsite with shade we decided to stick around the camp site and just take periodic dips in the sea to cool off. When we were hungry we would buy fruit from the stall near by and Açai from another stall, nutritious and healthy sustenance.

A friend of ours from San Francisco who is living in Cape Town introduced us online with two of her good friends from San Francisco via Facebook before the festival. When we got to the festival and saw how big it was and how many people there were we were convinced we would never find Jill and Pandelis.

Late afternoon we headed Main floor to go and watch Rinkadink, when we got to the dance floor somebody I didnt recognize walked up to me shouting ASHLEY and it was Pandelis! How awesome was that, we actually found them! We then met Jill and a bunch of their friends. We all ended up having a phat boogie to Rinkadink’s new music and then after that Burn in Noise.

We said good night to our new friends and headed back to our campsite to go and sleep, tomorrow was another day!

Day 8 – 3 January

The 3rd of January signified our last day of music, so we decided to make the most of the our time with our new friends from Sweden, US, Australia and many other countries. We went down to the main dance floor after a hearty lunch. We specifically went to see the following acts:

  1. Shiva Shandra
  2. Headroom
  3. Ital

What an amazing way to end off the festivities, when the sun dipped down and dark was upon us we said good bye to our new friends, then i took Barbara to go and sleep. That evening after Barbs went to sleep I walked to the band stage to watch a Brazilian band, they were incredible.

My last stop was to watch D-Nox at UP Club Stage, which was pumping, he played an awesome set. What a way to end my festival!!!!!

Day 9 – 4 January

We decided to wake up early and pack the tent before the sun started scorching us. We needed to catch a bus at around 9 to 9:30am. We grabbed our last festival pizza and açai as breakfast before boarding the bus. The bus drove us out of the festival and then dropped us off, just outside the festival gates, we were confused as to why we were stopping, well it seemed we needed to disembark.

We boarded another 3 busses and packed on then unpacked our bags, not quite sure why because the entire discussion was happening in Portuguese, this was highly frustrating. We eventually got on a bus that drove us to Camamue. Next we boarded a slow boat that was took us to our final destination which was Barra Grande.

When we arrived at the Barra Grande pier we were told the area was quite fully booked up with holiday makers and festival people. Barbs and I met an Indian couple Karan and Shaneez who also needed to find accommodation, so we teamed up. First things first, we grabbed a bite to eat where we could leave our women and then go hunting for a Pousada.

Karan and I walked around the entire area, we must have asked over 25 places if they had accommodation, but we got the same answer from all of them = NO! The sun was started to go down and we were loosing faith, but then we met a young woman who spoke English and offered to help us find a place.

The wonderfully helpful woman walked around with us for almost half an hour before we found an apartment that was available. The apartment was huge, it had a living area, big balcony, 2 bed rooms each with their own bathrooms, 3 airconditioners and a self catering kitchen. It was R$500 per night for the apartment, split four ways was not to expensive.

Karan and I went to fetch the women who were getting worried by this stage. We headed off to our new home for the next four days, where we could all have a decent shower and nights rest in a comfortable bed. We were all looking forward to a few days of relaxation and recovery, which was great way to end off after our incredible Universo Parallelo festival experience!

Getting into the swing of Morro de Sao Paulo

We walked from Bahia Café to the Lacerda and paid 15 cents to catch the lift down to the bottom. On the bottom floor, we exited and walked across to the marina. At 9am we caught the catamaran from Salvador to Morro de Sao Paulo, we had been warned that it could be bumpy and most people got sick, so we popped some sea sickness tablets, which was a great idea.

On arrival at Morro de Sao Paulo we were treated by wheel burrow taxis, this was because there are no vehicles allowed due to the streets being too small and narrow. We paid a fee of R$15 each to enter the island and another R$15 to the wheel burrow taxi guy who helped us transport our gear to the nearest camping site.

We had decided to camp for the first night, because that is what we had planned in South Africa. What we didn’t realize that the combination of the rain, the heat and our tent would make for a sweat factory inside the tent. During the day we walked around the island, because we couldn’t bare the thought of sitting in the tent.

The rain came and went, while walking along a path it start pouring down, we were invited into a house that sold food and beer aka cerveja. The lady running the restaurant didn’t speak a word of English, so we used the phrases in the back of the Brazil Lonely Planet book to piece together some dialogue. We ordered a meet dish and about 4 big beers while waiting for the rain to die down. A local guy popped in called Luiz, he spoke some English. Luiz explained that we had walked through the non tourist part of the island and that we had picked a local restaurant. Barbs and I prefer experiencing the local vibes, so it was a perfect way to spend the afternoon.

We walked down towards the beach after lunch to do some more exploration and grab a coffee. The rain started up again and we were forced to buy an umbrella for the journey back to the campsite. It was still raining when we got back to the tent, so we waited for the rain to subside inside our hot tent.

We didn’t last too long in the tent before heading out for some dinner at a local tourist restaurant. We had yet another incredible steak dish, the meat in Brazil was mind blowing! With full bellies and a cloudy night sky above we decided to go and sleep before going out to Toca night club. The club only opened at 12am that night, so we decided to get 4 hours sleeps before going out.

Toca seemed to be the only night club open in Morro de Sao Paulo, so when we arrived we saw that most party people on the island were at Toca. The music was not to bad when we arrived, the DJ was playing bands like Killers, U2, Depeche Mode all with an electronic mix ontop. The drinks were quite pricy, so we paced ourselves.

I saw a number of people we had met on the boat over, so that made for an entertaining night. Barbs and I did some people watching, as the night progressed, the music changed, mostly it was badly mixed, but sometimes the DJ played more Brazilian style music, this meant the local people danced their style, was awesome to watch.

In the morning we went for a long walk along the beach scouting for places to go over the next few days. We found the perfect hammock and chill spot along a quiet beach with trees that provided shade, we would definitely return to this spot!

While walking back to the campsite we bumped into Luiz, who we had met the day before. He offered to help us find a Pousada called Papagai, because we couldn’t stay in the tent any longer. We found the perfect little room with aircon, shower, toilet and comfy bed, which would be our home for the next 6days. The cost for 6 nights with breakfast included was only R$585, which was only marginally higher than camping if you consider the breakfast that was included.

We could finally relax, we had a place to stay, we had scoped out the island and we had some awesome plans for the next few days of beach life.