Beaches of Brazil
Finally! The beach time is upon us! Hot weather, cold drinks, hours of tanning, swimming and snorkelling… Alas for me the final night in Natal we partied hard with some Argentinian guys we met and the next morning, aside from a blistering hangover, I picked up the worst flu of my life! We actually fretted for a few days that I had Dengue fever or malaria, luckily not.
The bus from Pipa to Natal passed by in a daze, we all felt a bit rough (‘we’ being me, Jean and Chris – Jean’s brother). We arrived in the afternoon late-ish and attempted to find our apartment. No luck in the disarray and chaos of the little beach town! Streets led to alleys, or to nowhere, none were named, everyone told us something different, people didn’t even seem to know their own street names! Beautiful, befuddled, overly relaxed Brazilians! Eventually we gave up and just knocked on every pousada’s door, eventually finding a place which was cheap and had two rooms for us. We checked in, and headed out to dinner and to watch another game. I was still feeling relatively OK, and we had amazing pizza and some decent red wine. Good times. Pipa is a fantastic place for great food, if you happen to find yourselves on the shores of Brazil it’s worth a visit. The beaches are nothing to be sniffed at either. You have to walk or get a cheap and quick transfer bus to get to the main beauty, but either way it’s worth it. Framed by two orange cliffs is a +- 3km stretch of dazzling beach, dotted all over with umbrella’s and sun loungers and sunbathing masses. I missed the first beach day with Jean and Chris, I was sore, miserable and feverish in our room, with a running tap for a nose and an ache in every body part. They came back with such unbelievable stories about swimming with dolphins and perfect beaches that I was determined to join in the next day. So, armed with tissues, hall’s, painkillers and my book, I tentatively stepped out of my dark cave and into a dazzling sunshine day. Tissue attached to nose I perched happily all day under my sun umbrella and drank in paradise. It really is stunning, and people stretch all along the beach so there’s no crowding, everyone can have a front row seat to the bathers, dolphins and beach bums! There are some redonkulously pretty people on the beaches of Brazil, it’s like they try to live up to that reputation. They have certainly inherited the bums and curves of the planet! Skinny definitely isn’t in here! They even have curvaceous, plump, big bottomed mannequins.
After my first foray into the sun and fun I started to will myself better, it took a few days of rest but eventually I could join in wholeheartedly. Jean and I decided the next time to walk to the big beach via the middle beach. (Pipa’s own beach is nice enough but all the fishing boats are anchored there). Along the way we stopped off at the middle beach for a dip and a coconut. And then the dolphins came! I think it was a mom and two baby dolphins and they frolicked and swam in amongst all the people, sometimes getting to within 5 or 6 metres and surfacing a fin or face to say hi. It was incredible! The babies were about the cutest things I have ever seen! They would pop up vertically, showing off their skinny little baby dolphin bodies as they peeped around, it was just too cute and amazing!
From one beach to another? Hmmm. We were planning on heading south to Salvador and the beaches to the south which looked blissful, but then fate intervened and we ended up in possibly one of the more random places of the trip! It was by a bizarre set of events and the insistent hand of the travel god! We got to the bus station back in Natal, ready to buy our tickets to Recife – 5 hours away, and then from there we’d travel overnight to Salvador. As we got to the queue Jean said “should we not just go direct to Salvador?” So we changed queues to get a long distance bus all the way to Salvador. After some struggling with language, – we speak no Portuguese they speak no English, – we figured out the bus at 5pm was full, but there was one at 18:45, no problem. It was now about 12:30. In amongst all the words uselessly thrown back and forth we missed the fact until after we’d paid that she had booked us to Aracaju because the Salvador bus was actually sold out today. Oops and oh no! So Jean (surprisingly) kicked up a fuss, saying that “we want Salvador, not Acabaju!” (“Queremos Salvador!”) She corrected him, ‘Aracajuuuu’ is only 6 hours from Salvador and we can get a connecting bus. No thanks we insisted, we can get a bus now to Recife so we don’t want to wait around for 6 hours. Gosh we’d been off the hard travel road for too long! With a evil glint in her eye she said ok fine, come let’s go I’ll give you a refund (all in Portuguese of course but her intent was clear). She insisted on doing it quickly before we could check the other bus. With a slight feeling of something amiss in our hearts, we cancelled the Aracaju tickets and booked for Recife. The 1pm was sold out but we got seats on the 3pm bus. This, however, meant that we missed the connecting bus to Salvador by around 15 minutes. We hoped there would be a later one. Of course when we arrived there was no later bus to Salvador. We stood in various queues but no go. Recife is a horrible little place and all around us for miles and miles was just ugly uninviting industria. The lady at the baggage storage area said a taxi to a tourist area is minimum 50 Reals, about R250. Plus with a football game in a few nights time, the accommodation would be about 200 Reals minimum, plus the taxi back tomorrow… What a waste. We were fed up, frustrated and needed to get out of there, and on an overnight bus so that we could have a place to sleep. So we hopped from queue to queue seeing where there was an overnight bus to at this hour. (It was around 9pm). Aaah of course, Aracajuuu. So we booked two tickets to Aracaju departing at 23:10. We both laughed, we knew something like this was bound to happen, we both ‘had a feeling’ during the fuss in Natal. We actually found a great little hostel once we could find internet and actually research, for the first time, the place we were in! We ended up staying for four nights so that we wouldn’t have to travel on our anniversary and so that we didn’t miss any football games. It was a surprisingly nice time, we ate out, explored the neat little city, finally caved in and had sushi!! And had a really, really fun anniversary. We picked a well rated restaurant for dinner which was a bus ride down the beach out of town. We decided to have a bottle of bubbly on the beach beforehand as the sun went down and then do dinner. So onto the bus we hopped, and decided to pop into the restaurant to make sure we got a good table later. Only to find out that they don’t even open at night!! Haha whoops. Oh well, we headed down the beach to a quieter patch, set out a sarong and cracked that bottle of bubbly! It was delicious, plastic cups, soft beach sand between our toes, sun setting behind the palm trees at our backs… After the bubbly we decided we may as well stay and drink the red wine too, which was meant for after dinner. So we dug some small holes for candles and lit six around us to create a perfect little romantic moment! And then for about 15 or 20 seconds the skies decided to open up on our little moment, drenching my candles, scattering us like rabbits and then just as abruptly stopping. We stayed of course, 3 sputtering candles, two happy kids and a bottle of wine. It was kind of late by the time we headed back and no more busses were running. So we walked and hitchhiked and swayed our way down the road. Apparently the über friendly Brazilians are a bit more cautious at night. After a really long time one car actually turned around and came back for us, yay! And they could speak English. Apparently the driver, on seeing we were gringos knew we’d have a tough time of it! They were lovely people, on their way for a night out, and they wanted to have dinner and party with us, but we decided on our aniversary to stay just the two of us. Luckily they picked us up, it was about 10km back to town!
The beaches were not all that great in Aracaju, so after our chilled time we excitedly headed on with our journey to the beaches of Bahia. We spent two nights in Salvador at a great little hostel, in the area of Pelourinho, which is beautiful! We arrived on a holiday day, their day of independence, inexplicably, I mean they’re a state of Brazil, what’s to separate from? In any case the cobbled streets were buzzing and the street decorations made the whole place really fun and pretty.
After Salvador we hopped on a quick two hour ferry to Morro de Sao Paulo, a place recommended to us by the owner of the pousada in Pipa. And am I ever so glad that he did!! Paradise paradise paradise! Not the deserted kind, but the kind which is ringed with beach bars and restaurants, ice-cream parlours and shops selling dresses, bikini’s and souvenirs. The other kind is too expensive for this trip! But the beaches and lushness are picture perfect, it has just 4 main beaches and 2 smaller ones further from the action, absolutely no cars, and clear, calm, azure waters ringed with reefs and rocks, forming perfect pools for swimming and sup-boarding. Yesterday was a rainy day and perfect blogging weather, today is warm and sunny, so time to hit the beach.
Our room has a balcony with a hammock, which I found myself in yesterday all morning, coffee and book in hand. The day before we watched the Brazil game in the tiny town square with a hundred or so others, drinking beer, cheering, munching popcorn and enjoying this divine place which is Brazil.
I thank my twinkling lucky stars to be here! The time is far too near when it will all become memories.
Stay cosy stay safe