After leaving Noiva do Cordeiro, the five L'équipée girls faced the greatest stretch of road between two cities so far, moving towards the center of Brazil.
L'équipée's farewell from Noiva do Cordeiro had been an exciting one. The farmer women's impressive sense of unity and the childhood memories that the communal house roused in the team are among the most emotional images the girls will be taking with them. But after a longer-than-expected stay in Noiva do Cordeiro, on Saturday morning they had to get back on the road to make up for lost time. The girls had quite a challenge ahead: Riding up to 500 km in one go, almost double what they had been covering daily up to that point.
Cindy's Being Naughty
Life on the road with the French girls always turns to the unexpected, almost guaranteeing that each trip will take longer than planned. From the normal breaks to cover basic needs – a coffee, a stretch or a toilet break – to the more exceptional stops, like when a bee got into Cecile's pants and she jumped off her bike laughing to get rid of it (being the most cheerful one, her laughter resonated far into the distance). Other situations take longer to solve, like when Cindy asked the pump attendant to refill her tank with ethanol fuel, even though her bike only takes gasoline, and the girls had to suck it out of the tank with a hose.
Regardless, they never lose their sense of humor. The "one for all and all for one" spirit prevails, probably because they know that this is the only way to make a trip like this work. "We are like five animals. We protect each other; we are united and loving. It is rare to see this kind of relationship among friends, especially in France, where people are usually colder."
It's All About the Hair
And they never let being on the road distract them from keeping up their style standards either. Whether it's light make up, a scarf, a bracelet, a well cut jacket, printed gloves or a cool hairstyle, none of the girls ever hit the road without perfecting their personal style. Louise D is possibly the most impressive, since she usually styles her waist-long hair in beautiful braids or ponytails. Hair is actually key for the girls from L'équipée. To achieve volume and length, three of them (Cindy, Louise B and Louise D) have had extensions put in. Though in this sense they are very similar to Brazilian women, the Frenchies are gradually noticing some beauty care differences between both cultures: "I have observed so many people wearing braces, you don't see that in France," says Pauline about the particular attention Brazilians give their teeth.
Jump in the Mud
After 8 hours on the road, the girls are starting to feel tired (but still look as stylish as ever) and decide to take a break in Araxa, where they want to try out the famous Araxa mud baths at the Taua Grande Hotel spa.
Walking around the old-fashioned hallways in their bathrobes is quite an experience in itself. Araxa has been famous since the 18th century, thanks to the beauty of one woman: Dona Beja, one of the most beautiful courtesans of her time, who would bathe naked in the sulphuric and radioactive waters of the region. The Araxa waters have exfoliating properties that activate the skin's regenerative powers. Today, Brazilian women still come from all over the country to experience their potency. It is said that the black mud Dona Beja washed her body in is the best beauty secret. For Louise D, "It felt very strange to be in a black bath, something you couldn't see through at all. I felt like I was in a magical and beneficent river. There is a sense of weight all over the body. It holds you in, it's restful and, since it's warm, it really gets inside your skin."
"These baths are great both for active people like sportsmen, as well as for sedentaries who spend too much time behind their desks," explains Dicioni Lino who has worked in the hotel for the past 18 years. For Cecile, this is exactly what the girls needed after riding 500 kms on their motorbikes: "Mud bath, black water bath, hot water bath, cold shower, followed by meditation and relaxation, we're recharged and ready to go!"
Keep following the L'équipée girls' quest to discover what beauty means around the world at the Road to Beauty.