UBATUBA - BRAZIL AT ITS BEST ( Feb 2011 )
Around 1552 or so a young German mercenary named Hans Staden in the service of the Spanish crown was on his way to La Plata province ( today Argentinia ) on a Spanish ship when it shipwrecked near the Brazilian island called Ilha Bela and near the Portuguese fort of São Sebastião, a basically nonimportant incident which eventually would have catastrophic consequences for all indigenous people of the Americas.
In those times the French and the Portuguese fought over the possession of Southeastern Brazil ( Rio de Janeiro, when captured by the French, would for a short while be called Henriville after the French King Henri II ) and both would be backed by local indian CANNIBALISTIC tribes, the Tupiniquim and the Tupinambá ( the latter being the "friends" of the French ). Hans Staden survived the shipwreck and became a commander of a small Portuguese fort. One day, while outside the fort, he was captured by hostile Tupinambá warriors and abducted ( in a small boat ) to a Tupinambá village some 75 km northeast named UBATUBA, where he would stay a prisoner for almost a year. He was soon supposed to be sacrificed and eaten by the tribe but was able to delay this event. An epidemic plague ravaged among the tribespeople, the chieftain survived and Hans Staden's status as healer and shaman saved him his life.
During his following months in Ubatuba Hans Staden had to witness on many occasions the brutal and ritual murder of various Portuguese and their subsequent eating by the tribespeople ( liver and heart were eaten raw, the rest was "grilled" on a "BARBACOA", go figure ), until, one day, he was freed by the captain of a French ship. ( One of the common theories about his "escape").
He immediately returned to Germany where he wrote the book "True Story and Description of a Country of Wild, Naked, Grim, Man-eating People in the New World, America"(1557). As the printing press had just been invented shortly before this book became widely read, the very first bestseller of all times in Europe but Staden's description of New World Indian "Behavior" led to the "common" prejudice against any and all Native American tribes as cruel and bloodthirsty savages for the next 4 centuries, whether South-, Central or North American.
"UBATUBA AND ITS MORE THAN 90 BEACHES"
Ubatuba is "the" ideal holiday spot for travellers fed up with international mass tourism. Hardly any gringo tourist finds his way to the pristine beaches and other natural delights of this place. Most of the few foreigners who visit Ubatuba are foreigners who have been living for quite a while in Brazil and know where they're going, like me... I own a nice little house at Lazaro Beach which I use frequently when I descend from the high plateau to the coast with my girlfriend Danielle for either just a weekend or some holidays.
The area of Ubatuba is literally littered with beaches, some quiet ( low waves, ideal for small kids ), some with heavy surf, some quiet ( almost untouched ), others busy with Paulistanos, bars, music, business....
Ubatuba today is a sprawling coastal city of some 80.000 people exactly where the Tropic of Capricorn makes landfall on Brazilian territory or, on the "Litoral Norte de São Paulo" ( North coast of São Paulo State ). As Brazil and especially São Paulo State have become very expensive ( even for US and European standards ), Ubatuba tends to be expensive ( restaurants, supermarkets. shops, even though none of these are anything special ). The dramatic nature scenes are what make Ubatuba special.
I've been the proud owner of a small but cozy beach house here at Lazaro Beach for 17 years now.... 5 minutes walk to the beach on a dirt road, no street to cross....
I've seen all my six kids play, swim, fish and having fun here. Sometimes we're a whole bunch of people, I've seen 16 people stay at my house once, but sometimes now these days it's just Danielle, my girlfriend since August 2010, and me..... We cook, watch TV and relax at minimal costs.......
The Atlantic Forest reaches almost into my backyard, the air is clean, it rains a lot from Dec to March ( the rainy season ) when it's the hottest, like 35 to 38 degrees Celsius is no surprise.
Every once in a while we drive to the city center, some 15 km away, for excitement, restaurants, Luna Park, ice cream parlors, handicraft market and fantastic oysters from a simple kiosk on the beach ( no ice..., not even tabasco sauce, but still great ).
Ubatuba is for relaxation...... I sleep like a log here and walk for miles on the beach..... Good for the soul and good for the health..... But never forget the sun block cream !