My wife, born and raised in
, was well into her twenties before she saw snow for the very first time. São Paulo
It was about this time of year, the dead of winter in the Southern hemisphere.
We were on a train snaking its way through the valley of the Urumbamba.
The snow was maybe ten kilometers away, and about five thousand meters higher than we were – on the top of an Andean peak.
She turned to me, her eyes all aglitter.
“Too high to get to, huh?” she said, “And too far away.”
“Too far,” I agreed.
She sighed – and kept staring at it.
The next time she saw it, we were closer.
We were, in fact, in it.
She took our (well-bundled) one-year-old from my arms, rested her on a snowdrift and took a photo.
, that photo went the rounds of friends and family. Brazil
They all “ooohed” and “ahhed”.
Not at the the baby.
At the snow.
(Okay, maybe a little at the image of the baby. They’re all Brazilians, after all, and Brazilians love kids.)
But Brazilians also love snow.
They consider it exotic.
And the vast majority of them have never seen it “for real”.
Mind you, it does snow in
Just not everywhere and not very often.
The photos that follow were all shot in the country’s southernmost states, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná, all shown in red on this map:
They're not the sort of images you expect when you think of
But that’s where all of them were taken.
Look closely, and you’ll see the occasional palm tree.
Sometimes you don’t even have to look that closely.
Brazilians dream of seeing snow.
Every time it falls, tourists flock to the south of the country to experience it.
Images of it make the national TV newscasts, night after night.
Probably hard to believe for those of you, like Yrsa, who live in hardier climes.
Leighton - Monday