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The Fire Opal: A Story from Brazil

As we said goodbye, she lifted one hand up in a half-wave, her bracelets glinting in the sun. She had beautiful silver hair that nearly reached her waist, and I remember turning around again and again to wave until I could no longer see the flash of her.


My time in South America was nearly over, my bag full of sand and souvenirs, my journal laden with nine months of memories. Like all good things, the trip had gone by too quickly, and I was left with very little time to explore Brazil. I had already spent three months in Central America, bussing from Belize to Panama and then sailing to Colombia, where I started a six month overland journey down to Brazil.

I was on the last leg of my trip when I met her.

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Finding Footing in Paraty

The sun was shy during my stay in Paraty. One moment it would come out, round and inviting, turning the waves blue and the sand yellow. Just as your skin would warm, it would retreat, the ocean turning a black snarling thing again, the sand gritty and brown. Still I liked this place a lot, liked its charm and its maze of cobbled roads. I found a group of backpackers I had met in Rio and we sat on the beach come rain or shine. We drank sweating cans of beer and threw our barbecue scraps to the stray dogs who’d scratch and whine, driven crazy by the wafts of meat.

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Around the World: Sunsets

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Thar Desert, India Koh Lanta, Thailand The Great Ocean Road, Australia Colonia, Uruguay Near Oslo, Norway Phoenix, USA Utila, Honduras El Nido, The Philippines On these long and cold winter nights, I needed a little sun. For more in the Around the World series, click here. *Follow me on Facebook and […]

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