Saturday, 2 April 2011

Putting emotion into sport




Brazilians do like their bottoms. And if you spend any amount of time on Rio’s beaches, you’ll see why. Without spoiling it for anyone – and risk writing an inappropriate blog post – the Brazilian bottom is (and I’m largely basing this on the ones in Ipanema) full, pert and athletic. I am going somewhere with this, which is to tell you about some sporting activities in the north of Brazil. Still confused (and scared)? Don’t be. In Brazil, the word for bum or arse is “bunda” (pronounced boon-dah) and in Genipabu, a beautiful village in Natal, you can do skibunda and aerobunda.
I went there with my family about 10 years ago and loved it. Genipabu’s sand dunes and beaches are gorgeous, and surprisingly, these activities don’t spoil its beauty. Admittedly, we were there out of season in July but in peak summer it gets quite crowded – it is a tourist attraction, after all.
So, with skibunda, it’s pretty much what it says on the tin: skiing on your bum. But on sand instead of snow. You go to the top of the dune, sit on a sort of sledge and then just let yourself go. I, on the other hand, was so scared that when I reached the bottom, I looked up to see two very long lines down the middle of the dune…these were made by my fingernails digging into the sand in an attempt to slow myself down. Aerobunda was even more fun. Again, you go to the top of a dune and sit on a sort of chair operated by an overhead pulley system. The guys at the top ask you if want to be pushed down with or without “emotion” (more on that later). Depending on your answer, they let you go, and you whiz down above the dune until you get to the lake at the bottom and let yourself fall in. My sister and I just kept going over and over again.
As well as the various bunda activities, we also went for a ride on a dune buggy – we did this before skibunda and aerobunda. The driver asked us if we wanted a ride with or without emotion (emoção). We said with. Until you actually do it, I don’t think I can convey just how scary and fun it was. With music blaring from the buggy, the driver would speed along the sides of the dunes so that you felt the buggy would turn over on itself. We went over bumps and took sharp turns in what felt like breakneck speed. I have never heard my mum swear so much – before nor since. It’s just not something she does. I had a frozen grin on my face throughout the whole ride, unsure how I could be enjoying something that felt like it would, at worst kill me, and, at best break a limb. Needless to say, we were all perfectly fine at the end.
Have you been on any fun activities in Brazil? Or would you like to know about other things to do in the country? Just let me know.

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