"Interior Tourism 101"
Let's face it! There are lots of neat things to see all around our part of North East Brazil, but there are few signs, few pin points already marked on Google Maps or GPS maps. There just doesn't exist any kind of organized tourism association. If you want to find a certain cave or waterfall or museum, most of the time you have to know someone who has been there and ask for directions.
A few years ago Uncle Byron, William and Greyson went with a fellow, who had already been, to see several caves in an area that has quite a few. They also visited an unique oasis waterfall in the middle of our semi-arid region that was on the way. Uncle Byron asked Dalton and Destinie while they were here if they would like to go see one of the caves and visit the waterfall one day for a little "interior tourism." They both said yes and off we went, after a little preparation!
To prepare for "interior tourism," you have to go prepared. First you have to take all the water and food you might need for the day and a little extra just in case you get stuck somewhere. Next you better check your facts about where the place is by asking people who have been there or know someone who has. Then you better make sure that you know more or less where the place is on your GPS. Also don't forget a well charged cell phone even though you might have to climb a coconut tree to get a good signal. Fill up your fuel tank and check your tires and engine oil and radiator water. Better take a few tools just in case and maybe a couple of extras like a spare water pump, fuel pump and a good air pump for tires. When you are all prepared and haven't forgotten sunscreen and bug spray and snake bite kit, you can leave.
That's what we did on the day of our trip to see a cave and a waterfall.
The trip to our first stop, the cave, was supposed to take about two hours. Somewhere after we turned off the main highway (two lanes with holes but some pavement), Uncle Byron started saying things like: I don't remember that. Hmm, that doesn't look familiar. I wonder where the little town we went through could be. And I began to wonder if he really knew where he was going. Once or twice he turned down a little dirt path, checked his GPS, and decided to turn around and take another path instead. I think Dalton and Destinie may have wondered the same things as I was.
But we just kept going forward... finally when I was about ready to ask the fateful question - Do you really know where this cave is? Uncle Byron saw some landmark that looked vaguely familiar and said we were getting close!
We spent about two hours at this cave. Both Dalton and Destinie said it was worth the trip! Afterwards we went hunting for the waterfall oasis. It was a chore. It was marked on the GPS and we even saw one sign, but dusty dirt roads change with the wind! Several times we went down one little road, only to have to turn around and try another. Once again, just when I thought we were doomed to turn around and just go home, but Uncle Byron forged ahead and made the day!
I was reminded over and over of Abraham when God called him to leave Ur and go to a land that would be shown to him. No maps, no GPS, no cell phone! He just had to trust God. Traveling around the interior can be a lesson in trust for the passengers in a car and a lesson in faith for the driver!
Maybe someday Bahia can map out all these great spots and become a real tourist trap! But, in the mean time, adventurous individuals can pack their cars full of water and food, and just head out and hope for the best! Just like Abraham was well rewarded for his trust in God, we were all well rewarded for our faith in Uncle Byron even though we doubted a few times along the way!