Basically that's what it's all about on the Brazilian beaches. I'm pretty sure at least 50% of women here have had boob jobs, and there is also some serious booty to be seen. I don't think it's possible to purchase a bikini with full bum coverage in this country. I feel a little out of place with my full bikini bottoms. The last couple of weeks have been über relaxed, hopping down the coast and sticking around long enough to get a good feel of the towns we are in.
Pipa is another beach town, a bit like Jeri, but not as pristine and not with quite the same laid back vibe. Our pousada was a little way out of town, a good 10-15 minute walk, but it was a really nice place with a pool and gorgeous rooms.
The surfari was fun. Our first day we went for a bit of a drive to a beach with good learning waves. The bay is also used for fishing, so the water was pretty dirty, I even saw a few turds floating by which made me feel a bit funky. Our instructor was really nice and we both got up
on the board a few times. By the end of our 3 hour session, my arms were really tired from paddling, but I felt good about it. We went out the next two days to a local beach (with cleaner water), but exhaustion took over pretty early and I wasn't able to get up as often as I should have. I spent quite a lot of our last lessons just sitting on the board in the rolling waves which was pleasant enough in itself, and then the dolphins came, and that was awesome. Rehgan was a little more successful, and hopefully we get the opportunity to try it again before we go home, and perhaps even at home.
Pipa is very much a beach resort town. Lots of bars and nightclubs, restaurants and souvenir shops. Waste disposal seems to be a bit of an issue pretty much everywhere in Brazil, and Pipa is no exception. There seemed to be the constant aroma of decaying garbage permeating the streets. Rehgan didn't notice it as much as me, or perhaps just didn't comment as much.
A few buses and a taxi ride got us to Jacumã, another pretty sleepy beach
town further down the coast. We spent three days there just lounging around on the beach and eating fresh fish.
Our last 6 days have been spent in Olinda, a heritage listed city, and her larger, busier sister city, Recife. Olinda is filled with restored town houses, cobbled streets and a church in every corner, all colourful and old-town prettiness. Lots of lovely street art, markets and street food. Our pousada was right in the middle of the main square, so we were super close to everything.
We spent a couple of days in Recife, the highlights being a sculpture park dedicated to Francisco Brennand (and the long complicated trip to get there) and a tour of a cachaça distillery, after which our guide made us a delicious caipirinha with some lovely dark, aged cachaça.
Recife has been our first real exposure to public transport so far, as pretty much everywhere else we've been it's been cheaper and easier to get taxis. Man, the bus drivers have some balls. They absolutely fly along and take corners at 50km, most have non-existent suspension, but that doesn't slow them down either. If you're not lucky enough to get a
seat, you have to hang on VERY tight and brace yourself. They don't even slow down at the stops until the very last minute when you realise this is the one you want and have to flag it down, then they slam on the brakes and send everyone inside pitching forward.
My resounding memory of Recife will be the smell. There are lots of canals that don't seem to flow, so the stench of stagnant rotten water is everywhere, and if not that, then it's urine (because apparently the street seconds as a public toilet).
The whole country is currently in preparation for Carnival, which takes on a different expression depending on which region you're in. Yesterday in Olinda, we witnessed rehearsal in full swing. Parades of costumed people, drumming, singing and dancing through the streets to African infused beats. It turned into a huge street party where everyone drank and carried on through the night. It was awesome and gave us an idea of what Salvador and Rio are going to be like, but those on a much larger scale. All very exciting!!
Now, we are heading south again, a quick stop for one night in
a costal city, then we go inland to what promises to be a highlight of our journey, Parque National da Chapada Diamantina. Hikes, plateaus, caves and waterfalls.
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