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Living the Dream

Adventures in Brazils Atlantic Rainforest

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Marumbi

Why carrying your own fork and spoon helps solve the plastic crisis

Plastic Forks

We throw away billions of single use plastic utensils every year, and many of them end up in the sea and wider environment.

Plastic cutlery is everywhere, and most of it can be used only once. Billions of forks, knives, and spoons are thrown away each year and can take centuries to break down naturally, giving the plastic waste ample time to work its way into the environment.

The Ocean Conservancy lists cutlery as among the items “most deadly” to sea turtles, birds, and mammals, and alternatives have proven particularly difficult to come by, though not impossible.

Sea of Plastic

 

At first, plastic cutlery was considered reusable but as the post-war economy boomed, the frugal habits gave way to a ‘throw away culture.’

That marriage of culture and convenience led to companies such as Sodexo, a French firm that’s one of the world’s largest food-service providers, to turn to plastic. Today, the company buys a staggering 44 million disposable utensils per month in the U.S. alone. Globally, plastic cutlery is a $2.6 billion business.

But convenience has come at a cost. Like many plastic items, utensils often find their way into the environment.

 In 2016, France was the first country to ban plastic dinnerware. People around the world are experimenting with alternatives to plastic that range from potato starch and areca leaves to grain based edible cutlery.

Sales of such plastic substitutes remain relatively low, often hindered by higher costs and sometimes questionable environmental benefits.

A logical solution is to carry your own, but you’ll likely draw a few stares. For centuries, though, it would have been a faux pas to not travel with a set.

At Pousada Serra Verde we don’t use single use cutlery and dinnerware and have installed clay water filters in all our chalets to remove the need for single use plastic bottled water.

Plastic Utensils

PLANET OR PLASTIC?

Three things you can do to be part of the solution:

1. Carry reusable cutlery.

2. If you use disposable cutlery, make sure it’s made of a biodegradable or compostable material.

3. Choose to eat at establishments that don’t use plastic utensils.

Source: National Geographic

 

One Year On…

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We’ve now been in Brasil for a year. As was to be expected it has been a challenging but rewarding time. We arrived to find our house half eaten by cupim, the roof leaking badly, the water tower about to collapse, much of the land badly overgrown and then faced endless beaurocracy whilst trying to sort things out.

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However we have risen to all the challenges thrown at us and amongst other things built 5 chalets, 2 fossa’s, a water tower, a swimming pool, endless walls and fences, re-roofed the house, replaced cupim riddled house walls and windows, built paths, opened an English school, become part of the community and rescued Luna (our dog).

 

We’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot of new skills including: how to manage the forest, how to handle snakes, endless building skills, gambiarra, how to open an English school, the children have both become fluent in Portuguese, how  not to get too frustrated with how long it takes to get anything done, how to live with frequent and long power cuts and how  to really enjoy a much simpler and more basic lifestyle.

Our English school in Morretes opened this week and our Pousada – Pousada Serra Verde   

will be opening at the end of this month.

So we are pleased with our progress thus far and are really looking forward to year 2!!!

Wildlife at Serra Verde

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One of the things I love about living at Serra Verde is that you never quite know what you’re going to meet as you wander through the garden.

We’ve not been here a year yet and have met monkeys, iguana’s, an ocelot, snakes, a huge array of butterflies, toucans, woodpeckers and numerous other birds of all shapes, colours and sizes!FB_IMG_1540403190949

The Atlantic Rainforest has incredible biodiversity and we feel blessed to be able to live here. Once Pousada Serra Verde opens in December we look forward to sharing this wonderful place with you!

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Real Ale in the Rainforest!

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ThePorto de Cima Brewing  Company is to be found in the shadow of the Marumbi mountains on the banks of the Rio Nhundiaquara.

In this tranquil setting Curt uses the flavours and aromas of the Floresta Atlantica to create some truly memorable beers.

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With more than 17 labels there is a beer for all tastes – my new personal favourite being ‘Joao De Barro’, which is an English style bitter ale! The brewery terrace looks out over a stunning mountain vista and is a truly special place to enjoy a beer.

The brewery and beer garden are open Friday – Sundays, 2pm -6pm and are well worth a visit.

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The 3 F’s – Fossa’s, Frustration & Flowers!

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It’s been a hard couple of months at Serra Verde. Of all the problems we expected to have; I never dreamt that a hole that you put what the locals call ‘coco’ into would cause us so much headache! We need 3 and by all accounts have suffered from doing things correctly and so have been at the mercy of the local council, architects, engineers and not to mention the elements! We have even found an underground river flowing through one of our regulation 2 metre deep holes!

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The beaurocracy surrounding the septic tanks has also rather frustratingly meant we’ve had to build something the size of a nuclear bunker in concrete rather than the car tyre and banana tree eco option we had planned.

We’ve finally got one signed off, connected and working and hope the others will now be not far behind!

We’ve been told that we could drink the water at the end of the process – I’m all for recycling, but that’s a step too far!!! I’ll leave that for the orchids which are now starting to bloom.

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Headless Horseman at Serra Verde!

Headless Horseman

Sometimes you start to forget that you’re living in the rainforest as the routines of daily life start to take over and that’s when you get a reminder…

Every morning at around 5am we hear something run past the house – we thought iguana or something similar…

Speaking to a local about this we were told not to turn the lights on and under no circumstances were we to disturb it; because it was an evil spirit passing through Serra Verde!!!

It appears that the headless horseman it seems is dead and well in Morretes!!!

Serra Verde

Our New Water Tower!

Work is Underway!

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It’s been a busy couple of months since we arrived at Serra Verde. We’ve worked hard to get the house watertight, which involved removing, cleaning and relaying thousands of roof tiles (we also got caught in a storm with no roof which meant the house and everyhing in it got soaked!). We’ve also had to replace a whole wall of the house that had been eaten by cupim (a small ant like insect that loves to feast on wood) and build a new water tower as the old one was unsafe!

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Despite these set backs and lots of hard work life is good. We’re finding that a simpler more basic existence is rewarding – limited internet, no branded retail/fast food chains within 50km and having to adjust your day to fit round natures timetable all help us to feel healthier an happier!

Work is now underway on turning Serra Verde into a Pousada….

Brasilian Epic!

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I’ve just had my first Brasilian Epic! I offered to help Valdir, (who was doing some electrical work at Serra Verde) to get an old fridge and a cooker to his house. I duly borrowed a dodgy trailer and roped on the appliances – after all as Valdir said it was only 20 minutes away.

An hour later we were still heading deeper into the jungle and up a mountain on ever smaller and ever worse tracks…then the torrential rains came.

I found my car being dragged back down the hillside by the weight of the trailer, with a large drop on one side. I had to jacknife the trailer to stop, then unhitch and unload the trailer before rolling it back down the hill. I could then reverse my car down a track that now resembled a river.

My 20 minute favour returned me home 4 hours later soaked to the skin!!!

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