By Michael McMullen
December 12, 2012

This is an excerpt from The Brasilia Machinations by Michael McMullen. This is Michael’s debut novel, highlighting the strangeness of his new city, Braslia. A business manager, photographer and world traveler, he now works as a private English teacher, and like the main character Randy, lives a daily high-speed squeeze between the cars in Brazilian traffic on his little motor scooter.

The biggest revelation was that the traffic rules he was accustomed to, no longer applied. The motorcycles rode between the lanes, so at any traffic signal, he could pass all the stopped cars and go to the front of the line. The only thing holding the motorcyclists back was their fear of death, which, the delivery motoboys didn&#145t appear to have.

Randy liked the fact that Brazilians were much more comfortable with closer distances when they drive. No one freaked out when he got close enough to swap paint. He chuckled to himself when he thought that car side mirrors seemed so benign at home, whereas here, riding in the narrow space between the cars, there was a real danger of hitting the handle bars on a mirror and falling. Mr. Carlos had told him that in São Paulo the motoboys kick the side mirrors off cars that don&#145t drive in the middle of their lanes. Randy wasn&#145t ready for that yet.

He drank half of the bottle of cold water in a few gulps. Only three weeks left, he thought. Have to enjoy it while I can. He drank the rest, gave the empty bottle back to the woman and got back on the scooter. A loud bus spewing hot exhaust cut close to him, making him jump a little. The buses here were aggressive, accelerating hard and braking hard. He had clearly gotten the idea that there was some animosity among the motoboys, buses and taxis. Apparently, the relaxed Brazilian demeanor didn&#145t extend onto the streets. That was okay, a little competition didn&#145t scare him.

He thought about his sister as he drove home through the massive city park. Until now she had only ventured as far as the pharmacy on her own, about 50 yards from the apartment building. And only with a note written by Betania asking for clear nail polish. She wouldn&#145t have done that without his insistence that she learn to be a little independent here. Betania wasn&#145t helping by offering to run errands for her. He had to push his sister or she would panic when he left. And if she didn&#145t panic, there was a real danger of her losing it from living in isolation too long. She needed to get out and about.

Waaaaait a minute.” He stopped the scooter abruptly at the curb in the park. Ten yards away, a couple of girls in short shorts and bikini tops were inline skating along the asphalt pedestrian path that wound through the park. Hidden by the full face helmet, a big lopsided smile crossed Randy’s face.

The Brasilia Machinations is available from Amazon as a Kindle eBook.

By Alison McGowan
December 11, 2012

You can’t always tell from the photos but I had a feeling I would love the Pousada Sagi Iti and I was not disappointed. This place is simply beautiful – a small 4 suite pousada just a few steps away from Sagi beach, a place where you get a constant refreshing breeze and have the sound of the waves to send you to sleep and wake you up in the morning. In the background there is gentle Brazilian music playing; on the menu fresh fish and seafood, and in the ice bucket a lovely bottle of chilled white wine. I felt enormously privileged to be here.

Sagi Iti does not sell itself as a luxury pousada but owner Jares is extremely well travelled and he knows what guests want. Suites are not huge but they boast super comfortable beds with top quality linen; a fabulous bathroom with twin solar powered showers and Brazilian amenities; a minifridge, flatscreen TV with Sky cable TV and wi-fi throughout. The design is chalet type with high sloping ceilings and for those that need it there is both split airconditioning and a ceiling fan.

In the pousada itself everything is done in accordance with sustainable tourism so as well as using solar power for energy there is discreet rain collection and recycling of all rubbish. All permanent staff are local and trained and it shows. Service is first rate, friendly, attentive and welcoming in every sense – a total delight.

At the time of my visit work was still being done on the area beside the infinity pool and bar just above the main pousada, and once that is finished it will add yet another place to chill out and savour the beautiful views across the bay! I’ll definitely be back to appreciate them!

About the Location
Praia do Sagi or Sagi beach is not an easy place to find! With a population of only 800 and an economy still heavily weighted towards traditional fishing it has not made it into Google maps, and the only tourism is largely due to the 2 small pousadas here – Sabambugi and Sagi Iti. But then that is one of the glories of it. A place where 20 years from now you’ll be able to say “You should have seen this place 20 years ago, before it was discovered”.

An hour and a half drive southeast of Natal you take the turn off for Baia Formosa and then veer off to the right down a dirt road to the village. No buses come this way except the school bus (3 times a day) so this is the one you get a taxi transfer or a buggy down the beach from Baia Formosa (only possible at low tide). In the other direction from Paraiba state northwards there is no transport at all!

In the 2 road village itself there are a couple of churches, a couple of beach front bars and a couple of restaurants which only open during the day and/or on holidays and weekends. There are also some unfortunate eyesores, buildings put up on the dunes which are totally out of place. Otherwise this is somewhere which hasn’t changed in half a century. Definitely worth of visit for anyone who wants to find the real Brazil and has time to appreciate a more relaxed pace of life.

Not to be Missed
– Boat trip down the river
– Buggy trip to Baia Formosa along the beach
– Kitesurfing on Barra do Cunha
– Surfing on Sagi beach
– Snacking on seafood in the thatched bars of Barra do Guaj which divides Rio Grande do Norte from Paraiba in the south

Starpoints
* Sea front location and views
* Great lounging spaces on the front veranda and by the pool
* Laid back atmosphere and the
* Constant roar of the waves
* Gentle efficient service

Try a Different Place if…
… you want nightlife or you want to eat out at night during the week; this is a very quiet fishing village.

Alison is a British writer, musician, and marketing consultant, based in Rio de Janeiro. She can be contacted on alison@hiddenpousadasbrazil.com. Visit her site at http://www.hiddenpousadasbrazil.com/.

Previous articles by Alison:

Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Praiagogi Boutique Pousada, Maragogi, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casarao Alto Mucuge, Arraial d&#145Ajuda, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Calypso, Trancoso, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Capim Santo, Trancoso, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Maris, Paraty, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Guesthouse Bianca, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Cool Beans, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Aratinga Inn, Ilha Grande (Abraao), Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Chez les Rois, Manaus, Amazonas
Five Exceptional Beach Destinations in Brazil
Brazil: Relaxation and Rejuvenation in Bahia’s Eco-paradises
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Taruma, Conceicao de Jacarei, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Tanara, Itacare, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Encanto da Lua, Marau, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Vila dos Orixas Boutique Hotel, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Baia Grande, South Pantanal (Miranda), Mato Grosso do Sul
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa da Carmen e do Fernando, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Palafitas Lodge, Rondonia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Lagoa das Cores, Chapada Diamantina, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mangueira, Boipeba (Morere), Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Naturalia, Ilha Grande (Abraao), Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Cote Sud, Porto da Rua, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ilha de Toque Toque Boutique Hotel, So Sebastiao, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Spa Casinha Branca, Bananal, nr. Paraty, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Eco-Rio Lodge, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Castelinho 38, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Amazon Tupana Lodge, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Capao, Serro, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Luar do Rosario, Milho Verde, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada d&#145Oleo de Guignard, Tiradentes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Chal Oasis, Galinhos, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Bela Vista, Novo Airo, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijo do Vento, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Agua de Coco, Ceara
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Artjungle Eco Lodge & Spa, Itacare, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Alcino Estalagem, Lenois, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada 0031, Cumbuco, Cear
Brazil: Maguire’s Guesthouse, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Casa do Amarelindo, Salvador, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel BeloAlter, Alter do Cho, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Santa Marina, Santana dos Montes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casaro da Amaznia, Soure, Ilha de Marajo, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Mila, nr. Ubatuba, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Beleza, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Bambu Bamboo Pousada and Spa, Parati, Rio de Janeiro
Random Ramblings on the Weather in Brazil
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijamar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel 7 Colinas, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada dos Quatro Cantos, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Estrela do Mar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Vivenda, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Terra, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mirante de Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Caju, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Amendoeira, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Estalagem Caiuia, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Lagoa do Cassange, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ponta do Muta, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Santa Clara, Boipeba, Bahia