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May 29th 2009
Published: May 29th 2009
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Hello friends, I hope this blog finds you in good spirits and good health!

In 1963 the sleepy fishing village of Armacao de Buzios was nothing more than an out of the way and unknown paradise, a small jetty of peninsula extending into the Atlantic ocean surrounded by picturesque beaches and sea cliffs. At that point the population could not have been more than 500 a number that was mostly made up of small fishing huts and a few pousadas. There was no running water or electricity and only one phone. Since its “discovery” (post indigenous habitation) Buzios was inhabited first by Jesuit missionaries who were displaced by a more disreputable population of pirates. Finally, before turning into a quiet fishing village the peninsula served a slave trade hub during the tripartite atrocities visited upon three continents.
Then came 1964 and a visit by one of the world’s most glamorous silver screen princesses - Brigitte Bardot and her Brazilian boyfriend Bob Zaguri (not to mention inviting a corps of press to come along and snap some photos). From then on Buzios would never be the same. The sleepy fishing village was immediately transformed into a hub for rich tourists from all over the world and for good reason, Buzios boasts over 300 days of sun per year, pleasant temperatures, unpolluted and clear Atlantic waters as well as over seventeen beaches scalloping a peninsula about a kilometer and a half wide and seven kilometers long. With posh homes, numerous expensive botiques and a nightlife that bumps, the population increases from 8000 to over 100,000 during the summer.

The trip to Buzios was…AMAZING! Since it is moving into winter the massive summer population has significantly dwindled (though the beaches were still packed every day) evidenced by the large number closed businesses on the main street along the water. The main street is lined with beautiful shops selling jewelry and fine clothing as well as another of Buzios’ famous attributes, ice cream! The majority of the visit was spent eating, strolling along the beaches and basking in the warm and invitingly buoyant waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Friday evening was spent enjoying cerveja and caipririnhas and vodka tonics in restaurants overlooking the Atlantic at sunset. We even found a great bar that served huge pizza pockets - pizza fillings (sans marinara) wrapped in a crust somewhere between pizza dough and crepe dough - and had a ping-pong table! Heaven! Saturday night was spent drinking beers and vodka tonics while playing euchre and a game called banana-grams, a scrabble-like word game without a board where one forms a crossword will letters picked at random.

Buzios was a welcome relief from the sensory accosting nature of Rio. Everywhere I go in life I find that cities can be exciting and filled with amazing people, events, smells, tastes and sights. While small, out of the way, former fishing villages turned chic hotspots may have less going for them on a daily basis, I would often rather have less to do. Do not get me wrong, Rio like most amazing metropolis’ is wonderful, but it is an amazingly harsh city with severely detrimental realities of poverty, crime and pollution. I know that living on a small island and pushing these realities out of sight and out of mind does not diminish their frequency but I do not enjoy the fact that two people I have met have been mugged at rusty-knife point. Having to be constantly on-guard of ones valuables, money and, most importantly, safety wears on ones psyche and their ability to truly relax. Why would one pick to live in such a place when you could live where the only masked invaders are the raccoons whose nefarious activities extend no further than your trash can? Or for that matter, why would one not pick to live in an out of the way fishing village surrounded by seventeen clean beaches with pristine Atlantic waters?

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