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South America » Brazil » Maranhão » São Luis
September 9th 2009
Published: September 13th 2009
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Alcantara PierAlcantara PierAlcantara Pier

The boat we came on from Sao Luis on the left.
Yesterday we took a trip from Sao Luis to Alcantara which is a bit over 20km away by boat - the only way to get there. There were a handful of passengers for the crossing which was a bit choppy - a swell of ~2m and whitecapped waves - but only a bit over an hour so not too bad. Alcantara is an interesting place and great for a day trip. It was built in the 18th century, fell into decay, is now being partially restored but still has a few derelict buildings and mansions in amongst the habitated places. After a great late lunch of fried fish and beer we headed down to the dock to get the boat back.
When we got there there we were surprised to see dozens of people milling around, we'd hardly seen anybody all day. We were even more surprised that they all wanted to get the same 4:30 pm boat as us, and even more more surprised when it turned out that the tickets had sold out. After a difficult discussion with the girl from the boat company - my Portugese is even worse than my awful Spanish, we found out the next
Alcantara HouseAlcantara HouseAlcantara House

One of the many abandoned houses.
boat was at 6:30.....A.M the following day !!!!!!!! merde, putain, ghod fur domme, 'kin hell, chikushoo and every other curse and swear word we could think of !!!!!!!! It looked as though we were in yabai - as everybody only goes there for a day there are almost no facilities for overnight tourists - until a wonderful local lady called Marilda came to our rescue.
She couldn't get a ticket either so was going home and would take the first boat this morning. We hadn't talked to her on the dock or in the ticket office (we weren't going to risk a repeat so bought our ticket then and there) but she came over and asked us if we'd like to stay in her house that night, incredible. We accepted and went with her to a wonderful place set in a huge plot of land with plants, trees and a bunch of wildlife (humming birds, lizards, dragonflies). She insisted we take the bedroom she and her husband use and they would sleep in hammocks on the verandah. They also prepared dinner for us and shared their mosquito repellent - which we badly needed once the sun went down, very hungry
Alcantara ChurchAlcantara ChurchAlcantara Church

In the main square.
and aggressive little bast**ds . As we don't speak Portugese and she only spoke a little English some of her friends who spoke fluent English came over in the evening to make sure we were OK. We've found the people of northern Brazil warm and friendly, but by any standards this was amazing generosity and wonderful hospitality.
The next place we want to go is the Parque Nacional dos Lencois Maranhenses which is remote and difficult to get to, fingers crossed it'll be straightforward.


Additional photos below
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Alcantara Back StreetAlcantara Back Street
Alcantara Back Street

All of the houses along this street were abandoned.
Alcantara Back StreetAlcantara Back Street
Alcantara Back Street

Viewed from the other end.
Alcantara HouseAlcantara House
Alcantara House

Atsuko in one of the abandoned houses.
Alcantara HouseAlcantara House
Alcantara House

Martin in one of the abandoned houses.
Alcantara ChurchAlcantara Church
Alcantara Church

One of the other churches in town.


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