With Guyana to the East and Venezuela to the North, Boa Vista serves as Brazil’s quaint little border town (Bonfim is a village and is disqualified). Practically cut off from the rest of Brazil by the vast wilderness known as the Amazon, Boa Vista hasn’t let this hinder its development in any way. The affluence of Brazil is clearly visible on a road trip across the border from Lethem in Guyana to Boa Vista in Brazil. Mud roads turn into paved roads (and sometimes beautiful cobble-stoned streets). Standalone warehouses turn into impressive buildings. Shops turn into supermarkets. You get the point.
Despite bordering an English speaking and a Spanish speaking Country, a person who speaks anything but Portuguese is as elusive as a Goan teetotaler. Imagine the plight (and fright) of a linguistically challenged backpacker who naively rocks up without packing a word of Portuguese. Revisiting the memory of this experience is still terrifying..!! However, Brazilians are warm people with a very outgoing culture. They brushed aside all language barriers and I successfully hitchhiked across the Brazil-Guyana border into Boa Vista. I was practically treated like family by the unusual bunch of Environmentalist Evangelists who gave me a ride in their hippy Volkswagon bus.
From a tourist perspective, there’s nothing much to do in Boa Vista. Taking a boat ride along the river to watch the sunset seems to be the only option. I got lucky and stumbled upon the annual carnival and had the privilege of watching traditional dancers compete in their colorful costumes and also managed to explore a variety of Brazilian cuisines on offer at the carnival stalls.
Music filled the air, the smell of barbequed meats filled my nostrils and caiperinhas filled my stomach (I’m a vegetarian) – this seems to be the common theme for most of my adventures in Brazil.