Saturday, April 22, 2006


Hey all, Íve been putting off writing for a while, just in too many remote and interesting places to get all of the past month on the computer. But now, I have time. Ím waiting to have my visa renewed, and this can be a long process. So now I can let you all know what Íve been up to.

It was only a 24 hour bus ride to Olinda from Chapada Diamantia National Park, and this is a somewhat normal duration given the huge size of the country. At the end of the trip, I met a gaucho (from the south) that was just starting his vacation. We headed off to a hostel and there, ran into what would soon be our traveling group for the next few weeks, composed of 2 americans, a frenchie (I know shéll like to see that) and our brazilian gaucho. All with different stories, but we got along famously and all headed in the same direction.

Olinda is an old colonial town with a lot of churches and culture. Right next door is Recife, which is a big imposing city with skyscrapers, quite a contrast. The colonial town made for a good 2 days of sightseeing. With a heavy afro drum based music (maracuti) in the square in the evening, our resident professional french dancer got the whole square dancing. Lots of fun, especially with caiparinhas.

More music followed in a famous plaza in Recife this time, with different bands of all styles playing, from samba, maracuti, reggae, afoxe and what is the favorite of the northeast: forro. Too many different sounds to describe, but you should get a sample of Brazilian music for yourself to get an idea. Go to

I was exhausted the next day, but luckily, many hostels have hammocks and swimming pools... yeah, that and some beers. I had a nice day. That night we went to the theatre, and yes, more music, this time just samba, but all styles, from bossa nova to pagode.

It was time to hit the road but with such a big group, we found that it was possible to hire a taxi to take us to the next beach town north, Joao Pessoa. It is actually a capital of Paraiba, but the town felt very low key with nice beaches. We met a taxi driver who really took care of us--taking us to good and cheap places to eat, waiting for us, then taking us to the nicer, more remote beaches. It is such a change to have a taxi driver want to take care of you! This was over a 2 day period, and on the 2nd day he wanted to introduce us to his family. We go to a favela, and he introduces us, then the neighbors (lots of kids) and puts on a forro DVD, and has his wife make us dinner! Amazing.

Dune buggies along long stretches of beaches with white, yellow, orange and red in different sections framed with blue sky and ocean and white clouds made for a nice entry into Pipa beach town. We stayed there for a few days exploring more beaches, and getting up very early to look for dolphins.

I had to check out this castle in the next big city, Natal. It was cool, but I could have given it a miss. Ahh, but our gaucho was waiting for a friend to arrive from Spain, so what the hell. Hang out for another day. Our new group then rented a car to go more up the coast on a road trip. All the things you dońt stop for on the bus, we did. Lots of shanties, `sim terra` (without land) logos in the middle of nowhere, which is a local political movement of sorts for the people that work the land and then are kicked off or killed by a rancher that doesńt want them around.

We arrived in Canoa Quebrada, with yet more multi-coloured sand dunes. The highlight was going out on a jaganda (a hand made sailboat used by fishermen), that and the the cops had cool dune buggies. A last minute good-bye and I jumped on a bus to Fortaleza, then changed to another heading for a postcard perfect beach town of Jericoacoara.

Hang in there; there is more...



Post a Comment

<< Home