são luis, maranhão

Maranhao704-032wSão Luis, MA (Maranhão), is located on Brazil’s remote northern coast.  The roads are so poor for most of the northern coast that tourists never drive there, only fly.

After the slow and rocky ferry crossing, Atlas and I arrived past nine o’clock and still found ourselves eighteen kilometers from São Luís, which occupies an eponymous island jutting out to sea. With the windows fully sheathed, we passed a long low area of wispy sand pines, through which flashed a slightly sagging moon to the north. The smell of dry pine needles flooded the car. Without any road signs to guide us, we followed the flow of traffic through a chorus of welcoming crickets towards the beckoning moon.


While I was not thrilled to arrive in a strange, new city after dark, the translucent glow of São Luís’s lights soon replaced that of the low winter moon and our way was assured, to yet another remote, dilapidated equatorial port, the New Orleans of Brazil. [p.177, To Belém & Back]


All quotes are from To Belém & Back. Please hover over images for captions.

About Ben

Ben Batchelder has traveled some of the world's most remote roads. Nothing in his background, from a degree in Visual & Environmental Studies at Harvard to an MBA from Wharton, adequately prepared him for the experiences. Yet he persists, for through such journeys life unfolds. Having published four books that map the inner and exterior geographies of meaningful travel, he is a mountain man in Minas Gerais, Brazil who comes down to the sea at Miami Beach, Florida. His second travel yarn, To Belém & Back, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. For more, visit www.benbatchelder.com.

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