42. Never a number that bore much meaning to me. Whether on sports jerseys or being a lucky number, 42 was always an afterthought. When Michael Jordan switched from 23 to 45 after coming back to the NBA from a short baseball career, his stats plummeted. Surely enough he switched back to 23. Yes, yes, 45 isn’t 42, but I’m sure things would’ve gone the same way.
Brazil, however, has given actual meaning to this number.
Having spent 1 month in Brazil, I’m seeing firsthand the connection that exists between Brazilians and beaches. Being from San Francisco, beach life should be considered an oxymoron. In San Francisco a conversation about going to the beach would go like this: “Guys, let’s go to the beach this weekend?” Response: “What’s a beach?”
That’s why Brazilians are so lucky when it comes to the beach. As for Floripans, they’re borderline spoiled. They have 42 beaches to choose from. Yes, 42. The number I associated with nothing more than an afterthought. I therefore apologize to you 42, you will forever be a representation of the postcard-like beaches that Brazil has.
Up until now, I’ve only seen 2 of the 42 beaches that Floripa has, and one word comes to mind: disbelief. Whether it be the texture of the sand, the smell of the water, or the cool breeze that brushes on your face, the beaches are overwhelmingly pleasing. And to imagine that Floripa has 42 of them.
It’s hard to say what differentiates the beaches so far; the protruding landscape that runs along the ends, the Brazilian bikinis, the juice carts, bottles of beer fitted with plastic casing, and the ongoing battles of paddle ball sprawled all over. Yet it makes sense the beaches don’t differentiate, as all the things mentioned are features of the Brazilian beach culture.
It’s all very Brazilian.
Recently after having done a two-hour trilha, or hike, I recall one instance best. Reaching the end of the trilha there was one hill that stood between me and the unknown. I ran up the hill and then laid my eyes upon what seemed like a deserted beach. There were no people, no bars, no surfers, nothing. All I could manage to do after was put my hands on the top of my head and say “wow”.
With 40 beaches left to see, I’d say I’m pretty spoiled myself.
*The government of Florianópolis actually conducted a study and found that there are 100 beaches. However, if you talk to people in the city they’ll tell you that there are 42 beaches.
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