Day 17 – um dia de divertimento con o Clube Poliglota Natal 

I wake up at 5:15, take my shower and pack my beach bag. I get out of the house short after 6. A car should be there waiting for me. At 6:20, still no car. So I decide to get to the bus stop to reach Rodaviara. There I buy a bus ticket for the next trip to Natal. The bus is not in very good condition and everything else as comfortable.

I think I will be late for the appointment we made at 10 with Vitor in Via Direta in Natal. I ask the bus driver the best option to reach there. He tells me to get off at Néopolis, which we reach a few minutes later. I hop on a taxi and reach Via Direta just on time. The first who recognises me is Willie. He’s together with Rodrigo, the organiser from Polyglot Club Natal  (PolyglotClub.com)

A few moments later, Vitor joins us and the trip to Genipabu can start. We hop on a bus until a quite desert place where we take another bus to our final destination: the dunes!

We buy some snacks and drinks at the small market  (mercadinho). And enter the beach of Santa Rita. We sit at a table under an umbrella.

We buy ginga con tapioca, a local dish, very small fishes grilled. My friends did not lie : it’s delicious. (Good that I took 2 portions for 5 R$) And a mussels (sururu) soup (caldo). That’s the moment when Jéssica joins us. Of course, she has not forgotten her sunglasses.

Afterwards, we move on to the next beach. We come accross an old man singing with passion  (selling CDs). Nothing can stop him. He’s definitely in a good mood. In this time, we make a photo break on the rocks

We climb up the dunes to discover Genipabu adventures :

The dromadery walks

or what we go for : the sandboard 

and the skibunda

We see the fisher boats 

walk until the end of the beach…

…to the sorveteria. Rodrigo offers 2 ice cream balls : tapioca and nata con goioba. The tapioca sorvete is especially is especially delicious. Jéssica lives here around and leaves us to get on her motorbike.

We take the bus back to Natal passing on the highest bridge with view of Natal skyline…

…and the other side the sea and the Fortaleza dos Reis Magos

Willie and Vitor say us goodbye. Rodrigo and me stay. He takes me to quiet streets where old men playing aliado : Rodrigo tells me that it’s a traditional game which used to be played by the fishermen when the wind was missing and they could not out on the sea.

http://www.avcfn.com.br/?p=32192
Close by, there is maybe the oldest tree of Natal : the Baobá de Poeta

In the evening, I join Rodrigo to the weekly meeting of the Polyglot Club. We are the firts but soon arrives a bunch of people 

Unfortunately I cannot stay very long as João is waiting for me at home. Finally I wait 40 minutes for my bus to come. We’re both very happy to meet again. I take a shower and we have dinner. We get out to see the final défilé of Natal’s 3 best samba schools. We walk the streets of downtown. My foot aches. A stone from Genipabu hurt my foot. I cannot walk very fast. We see the first samba school and nothing more happens. João notices that I am exhausted and take me home. I fall in my bed.

Day 16 – « Tudo vale la pena… 

…quando a alma não é pequena » F.Pessoa

Today I’m leaving the hotel just after breakfast and heading to João Pessoa.

I will stay in an appartment at the beach. With view on the seafront.

It feels so relaxing to hear the waves, to feel the wind and smell the sea. 

The view from the balconies is amazing 

I then go to have lunch at Foot Praia Restaurante. This is a familial place owned by Vitoria, a woman from Minas Gerais. I can choose our plate, which meat and which vegetable I want. 

I relax a bit in the flat and later on, we go along the sea to the Shopping.
For dinner, I get out of the flat. The small restaurant is already closed. A bit further, I find an açai point. Tomorrow, I must wake up early since I  planned an excursion to Genipabu.

Day 15 – Shopping, centro de Campina Grande, churrascaria 

Another cloudy day in Campina Grande. I’ll finally meet Rapha, one guy from Polyglot Club Campina Grande. He has very little time so I should join him directly in the Partage Shopping. He arrives a few minutes after me. I am hungry. So Rapha takes me to the restaurant at the top floor.

I’m not very fan of the fast-food choice. I go for the self-service Fogão Divino. After eating, we go a bit through the commercial mall. I buy some water and Rapha a few things (under them a wine bottle which he offers me). He drives me back to my hotel. I let my things in the room and go out again to the center. I enter a CD shop. I am a bit surprised that this shop only sells CD copies. I ask for Forró music and the price. But I do not decide to buy anything yet. 

I stop by at the supermarket and buy basic needs : chocolate from Mondelez and water from Coca-Cola

As I continue my round in downtown. I stand by a shop which has a huge Eiffel tower. 

There is a lot of woodcraft. I find a nice present for my brother 🙂

The atmosphere is very romantic 

I find maybe the two sweetest houses of Campina Grande 

I am hungry again and Rapha told me that I could go to the churrascaria nearby my hotel. I follow his advice and make me on the way 

The place is just before a major bridge 

I enter the place. It’s not even 7 PM. There are only a few people sitting. The waiter installs me at the table and shows me the buffet

The waiter comes every 2 minutes with a new meat on a stick. I try almost everything with possibly small pieces.

I must say that I am bit annoyed to say for the 20st time « Não, obrigado ». As I cannot eat any more meat, I finally discover the magic sign on the table 

I finish my dinner with two pieces of cake.

As I turn back to my hotel, I discover some nice ceramics on the walls 

And a telephone gutter

I head to bed early.

Day 14 – Campina Grande – dia de oração 

I slept very well. I want to stay longer in the bed as it just feels so good. 1 hour later I am very hungry and go downstairs to have breakfast. There are fresh fruits, many sweets, hot drinks, water and juice, bread, ham, cheese, eggs, sausage, couscous and even pão de queijo.

It’s nice to finally have again a complete breakfast. I have now enough energy to start the day. I go back to my room and prepare me to get out. As I arrive at the reception. I saw that outside it’s raining cats and dogs. The steep streets look alike mountain rivers.

Fresh fruits

Meat

Fish

Spices

But also clothes and even subwoofers!

I arrive at the exit of the market and find a bit down a small park. After the rain, some animals are out :
A frog

And a snail

It’s my first time in this city but it looks to me quite familiar, maybe because of the weather, the market and the peaceful streets which remind me of Nantes. 
At every street corners, there are small plates with saying from famous people
I walk all the way to get to Açule Velho, the famous lake of Campina Grande. The cranes are here at home.

The lake is surrounded by high buildings and there are two major sculptures:
Os Tropeiros da Borborema (travellers and business men who contributed to the economical  development of Campina Grande)

And the Forró legends: Luiz Gonzaga…

…and Jackson do Pandeiro

As I continue my way through the streets of downtown. I see a building with the inscription Telegraphico Nacional.

The door is open and I am curious. So I enter and the lady at the desk asks me if I want to visit. I say « of course ». And here I am in the Museú historicó de Campina Grande. The lady calls a man « Visit is coming ». The man picks me up and we start the visit upstairs. The first thing I see is a hole in the floor which is used for a lift. 

Fish fossiles

Poteries 

Ancient swords…

…and war equipment 

The original keyhole of the entrance door

A scale from 1895

Chains and stones from the slavery

An old vinyle reader

Or a vintage camera 

The older currencies of Brazil 

Another camera (more recent)

The first telephones

The begin of Campina Grande’s industry with the cotton plants

A dactylo

A manual press for official documents 

Older sewing machines 

A phonogramm

Or one of the first cinema machines

A energy generator

It’s in 1920 that Campina Grande becomes electricity.

I now feel hungry and I am walking the streets looking for an appropriate place to have lunch. I did not realise it’s already 3 PM! I find a place open but there are only some rests of vegetable. Not enough for a hungry man. Nearby there is a pizzeria but it’s in renovation. I turn back to the main street and arrive in the pets district  (funny thing about Campina Grande, there is a specific district for each things : electronics, automotive parts, beauty products or even pets). I am quite desperate when I finally found a lanchonete. There are sandwiches and fresh drinks. I found my lifesaver: Angelo! Angelo asks me what I am doing in Campina Grande and if I have been to the Nova Concienciâ event. We talk about my holiday here and it gets to personal question: « Are you a believer? » « I don’t believe in God. I only believe in science  (biology, physics, etc…). He goes on telling me about religion and ask if he can do a « oração ». He says that he’ll make an effort to speak slowly. I understand almost everything that he says. And I agree with most of the things « Amen ». I’m a bit confused because it was many information at a time. I go back to my hotel walking all the way back, relax and have dinner at the hotel restaurant  (not really good but it was convenient). Another day ends.

Day 13 – Vai dar tudo certo…ou ainda não!

I slept very little. It’s early morning and already unbearable heat. I need to go to the bank. I try to withdraw money at the two banks nearby but I did not succeed. I go back to the hostel and pick up some cash. I need to buy something for breakfast since there is nothing but coffee or tea and some bananas at the hotel. I go to the bakery nearby (I did not find it in the first place since it’s behind dark windows) and buy some bread. At the table in the hostel sit many other travellers from Germany, France, Poland, USA and Brazil. There is not even butter or jam for the bread…

When I finish my breakfast and go back to my room, I meet Bruna who just woke up. I pack all my things. It just feels like I have more stuff every time. And lucky me that I let one bag, my jacket and my pullover at João’s house. When I finish packing. I’m all sweaty and am in urgent need of a shower. Once I feel fresh again, I go downstairs and meet Bruna smoking her cigarette. I activate the Wifi on. Signal is very weak but sufficient to look for busses to Campina Grande. The next one leaves at 11:30 and now I will never make it on time. The other option is 18:00. Well, I have time and Bruna, who did not eat breakfast is hungry. So, we decide to follow a recommendation and to try Chica Pitanga. We begin walking in the burning sun and when we realise that we still have a long way to go. Bruna asks a taxiguy in his break to take us there. Soon we arrive there. She pays the taxi. The lady at the entrance of Chica Pitanga tells us to take a seat in the atrium and wait 5 minutes that a table becomes free. She notes Bruna’s name down. We take a seat in the atrium. Hopefully with air conditioning. The lady calls the names one after the other. After a few minutes, this is our turn. The buffet is very big. As usual it’s quite hard to choose. This time, I put only little pieces of each thing because I already know how it could end. We order a drink by the garçon. A ice smoothie for me and a cola for Bruna. The smoothie is very refreshing and the food very good (much much better than Parraxaxá but a bit under Mangai’s quality). Bruna says that at her home food is better and only half the price. I definitely have to visit Caruaru one day. We’re stuffed and we decide to take a walk on the seaside promenade for digestion. The long lasted good 40 minutes as we arrive before the hostel. We’re thirsty and to the next supermarket to buy us a fresh drink.

It feels good to drink something in this heat and sit in the shadow. I search again for my bus connection and oh! miracle! There is a BlaBlaCar departing in less than a hour to Campina Grande. I try to make the booking of my phone but I cannot login (the site keeps on asking for my Facebook credentials which I don’t remember). I then try on the computer from the hostel. Still no success. I download the app. I first need free memory on my phone and once it’s installed. Still the same problem and now it’s too late. Anyway I don’t want to stay any longer in the hostel. I tell Bruna goodbye and make me on the way to the bus station. It arrives just a few minutes after I get there. I get to the metro station and am glad when I am inside with air conditioning. Still the same story, the vendors are walking through the metro calling « água gelada, um real » « chips, cebolitos, quatro reais » « brigadeiros, 2 reais ». I arrive at the Rodaviara and go to the ticket office. There is only one bus company offering the trip to Campina Grande and the next bus is in approximately 2 hours (at 18:00). I buy the ticket anyway. I have to kill the time so I have a look at the shop nearby, first get a bolo de rolo. Then buying a Brazilian flag. And talking with Leni, the owner of the shop from Recife. I need another drink and buy a large water at the fast-food nearby.

I get on the bus as it is already dark. We start to head towards Campina Grande. I sit next to a woman that is busy chatting on her phone. It’s quiet and the curtains are closed but I did not get to sleep. It’s short before 10 PM as we arrive in Campina Grande. I know Rapha there but he’s been silent since I last wrote him. I ask a few people in the Rodaviara to lend me their phone to call Rapha. They all don’t dare too or say that they’re from another state and can’t call this number. These are the rudest Brazilian people I meet since I arrive here. Finally the lady at the snack shop nearby gives me the Wifi connection. I am no more lost in the world. Still no reply from Rapha. I call 3 times and always get into the mailbox. I ask Natal CouchSurfing group if anyone knows someone there but they are all out of the town because of carnival. I look for accommodation and many places are already full. I only have a few options. I decide to go to the hotel which is the closest to the center. I jump on a taxi and he drives me there. 25 R$. I thought the trip would have been longer and more expensive. I am lucky, there is still a free room for me at the hotel. I didn’t not even ask for the price. I just want to sleep. The room is quiet and comfy. I take a shower and close my eyes.

Day 12 – Porto de Galinhas

It’s early morning and already very hot. Today I want to escape the crazy city and look for a quiet place at the beach. Many people recommended me Porto de Galinhas. So this will be my destination for the day. I asked the guy at the reception at the hostel. He tells me to take bus number 195 or a bus to the airport and change there. I buy some bananas and water at the supermarket for the trip. 

I finally know that there is one street for each direction and know where to take the bus. After 10 busses passed by, I finally see a bus with destination airport  (the guy from the hostel did not tell me about this bus number).

I am waiting in the shadow at the airport as many other people with the same destination. I can get in but I have to stand short after the entrance as the bus is fully packed. I try to talk to my neighbours: 3 young girls, one only replies ‘Si’ in a rude way if they are going to Porto de Galinhas. She doesn’t want to talk any more with me. Very antipathical Argentinians…

I could move a bit forward in the bus and come close to Angélica, a nice woman from Recife.

We talk about my trip in Brazil and soon about gastronomy :  she says I should try a delicious seafood : ‘sururu’ (I thought it was a yellow fish but it’s a mollusque with yellow meat : mussels), and also to try in João Pessoa at Cabo Branco the ‘sorvete de caipirinha’, but also the local refrigerante cajuina in Ceará. As we have travelled a bit more than a hour Angélica tells me that we are nearby one of the nicest beaches of the area. As I tell her maybe it would be better for me to get off here. She tells me that the bus stop is far away from the beach and it’s better to go by car. 

I arrive at the final destination. It’s hot, very hot. I just have to follow the crowd to head to the beach. On the way, there are many small shops, it just looks alike every touristic place and the seaside. And also a lot of chicks (the Galinhas):

A phone cell :

Wood sculptures:

This last one is dedicated to my friend Fabio, who writes a blog in French about actuality and culture in Brazilian Nordeste ‘Le haut-parleur de Natal, Brésil’ http://fabsantana.mondoblog.org/

I soon arrive at the beach. It’s swarming with people. We can most of the people into the water and many small boats.

I decide to go far away from the crowd and walk quite a lot. I finally find a small place with some shadow but it’s already taken. No I have to stand right in the sun. I took off my clothes and put sunscreen on. I realise that I forgot my bath suit at the hostel. Never mind, I’ll go just in underwear. I don’t stay very long in the water because it’s not a real good place for bathing. The waves are not very nice. I go back to my towel and dry. After a few minutes, I put my T-shirt on as I am afraid to get another sunburn. I eat chips and bananas, drink guaraná and water and leave the place before I burn alive.

I get back to town and I discover an ice cream shop in a side street on the left. I get one ice cream 

And a fresh fruit salad

The owner from the shop Maurizio is Italian from Napolitano and has been living for a few years in Brazil. I try to speak some Italian with him but every now and then only Portuguese words come to my mind. Alceu Valença is everywhere 

In front there is a diving  course (mergulho, Angélica already told me about this and the natural aquarium of Porto de Galinhas but that’s only nowthat I get it). And of course, there are also Galinhas Mergulhadas 

There are even Galinhas on the walls :

Or in the different shops.

There are even Galinhas Bonecos

I am a bit surprised when I discover the chicken.

And even more when I see frogs

It’s still quite early but I decide to go back now so that the bus will not be packed. I take my seat and enjoy the air conditioning. I fell asleep. As I wake up, a young girl is sitting next to me. She’ll visit her boyfriend in Olinda and is so focussed that she doesn’t want to talk much to me. The bus leaves just nearby my hostel and I go up to have a shower. I relax in the sofas and write to Jesus, it’s a Spanish traveller who knows João,  who gave me his contact. Tonight, Titãs will be playing

Jesus gave me an appointment close to Marco Zero at the Rock and Ribs restaurant.

We are in good company with the music of Raimundos

I feel so hungry that even if I don’t like the menu I order a hamburger and fries. It’s nothing exceptional but at least I feel better after eating.

We head off to the main stage at Marco Zero 

And move on through the packed streets of Recife Antigo. We find very nice samba music from « Os microbios ». The people sing along the samba classics in a perfect harmony. 

There, we meet Fabiola from Recife  (who spent 3 years in Dublin) and her carioca friend Vivienne. I feel really tired because of the heat and it’s time for me to go back to my hostel.
I lay down on my bed as a young girl enters the room and says « boa noite » with a nice smile  sur mon lit. She comes back and asks me if I want to join her outside. She wants to smoke a cigarette. I go with her down the building. Bruna tells me that she’s not an easy person to make friendships but I wonder why. We talk without break about the interior of Pernambuco and her town Caruaru, where the atmosphere is more familiar .

We listen to Marília Mendonça. 

She talks about Maria Bethâna that I already know.

And we talk her passion for Forró

With the tunes of Avioes do Forró

 https://youtu.be/ivVlWnrmZCA
She shows me the Maracatu and traditionial costumes from caboclos de lança. 

And on my turn the traditional bigouden costumes (she finds them very strange), fest-noz and celtic music.

It’s already late in the night and time to go to bed

Day 11 – Boa Viagem, Carnaval de Recife Antigo 

I woke up in the middle of the night, go to the bathroom and go back to bed. I woke up again at 7. Fernando is preparing the breakfast and tells me to wait a moment that it’s ready. I have breakfast, pack everything, asks for a bank nearby, there is none and leave. The bus is already at the bus stop, I run to catch it, I explain the bus driver that I have no cash any more and he’s so nice to let me in for free and open the middle door for me to get easier on the bus with all my luggage. After half an hour, I arrive at Integração, and go through the exit and head straight to the Rodaviara  (Arnaldo told me to be especially cautious in this area). I go inside the building and find a cash machine. I withdraw some money and go buying my bus ticket. The bus is departing in a few minutes. I need to run again to the boarding. I give up my backpack to put it in the trunk. I get in return a mark with a number. I sit alone so I have time to listen to some music and write my blog. As I look out the window, I see some colorful houses on a hill. 

We arrive at the Rodaviara in Recife and after a little while, I buy two metro tickets. One for now and one for when I come back. I get off at the Joana Bezara stop. It’s much more quiet than the center yesterday. I get on the bus and ask my sit neighbour to indicate me the stop for the hostel. She looks for the address on her phone. Isabel (nickname: França) gets off the bus together with me and walks me to my destination. As I arrive at the hostel, many other travellers are in the living room and eating. I go to the reception. There is no one. After 20 mins of waiting, one guy appears and shows me a locker where to leave my things. The key should remain at the reception. I ask when my bed would be ready. The guy only answers when it’ll get free. 1 hour later, I ask again about the bed. He shows me the room and the bed. One girl has just started packing. Checkout is 12:00 and it’s already 14:30 (check-in is from 14:00). I am a bit pissed off and ask if I can at least have a shower. He shows me the bathroom. I ask for the locker key again and go to the shower. The girl still hasn’t left the room. Never mind: i pack my beach things and ask the guy at the reception for a restaurant recommendation. He tells me about foreign food or fast-food nearby. I ask again for regional cuisine. He gives me a name and an address from a regional self-service: Parraxaxá.

I arrive there. The deco reminds that we are in the carnival fever.

The tables outside on the terrace are empty, therefore it’s quite full inside,  everyone enjoying the air conditioning. There is a large choice of regional dishes. I take a mixed plate from meat and vegetable

And order by the waiter a fresh ananas juice. The food is not very good. The meat is quite dry.
When I finish eating, I go to the cashdesk and do not understand the exact amount. The lady finally says that it’s fine with 60 R$. Quite expensive for this quality. I ask the guy at the door the shorter way to the Boa Viagem beach. Just a few meters away I am on the seafront. This is high tide and there is only a short sand corridor on top of the sea and some stairs to go down. 

Definitely not the best spot for bathing but today the weather is hot again and I really need a refreshment. After this refreshing bath I feel thirsty so I get a coco water from the fruit. This comes 5 R$ but it’s well frozen and the best I had so far. 
I walk along the seafront road and am sad to see that getting towards the town, I noticed an advise warning of shark attacks. 

As I walk towards the town. I am very sad to see that the beach is spoiled with garbage.

A bit further, some people are playing beach volley. 

And I discover the French flag

I turn back to the main street and ask a young guy for advice where to find my hostel. He takes his smartphone out of his pocket and tells me that he normally never does. Just this time an exception to help me. Another group asks him another question. Then it’s my turn again. Caio takes time to show me the map on his phone and explains me the very detailed way. I also tell him that it’s sad to see the beach like that. He replies because it’s time of carnival and a Praia urbana (urban beach).
I arrive to my hostel, take a shower, relax a bit and go out to my destination for the night : Recife Antigo.

When I get there, it has nothing to do with the Galo, relaxed atmosphere and good music. Even some children are in the streets.

I see the first stage and sit down at one bar table on the street in front of the stage. 

My table neighbours are in dancing mood and ask me to join them. I get to know Marcio, his wife Lorena and 2 others friends (I don’t remember their names), one woman is Baiana (from Salvador) and another carioca (as the couple). They tell me about the huge cultural differences between the various regions of Brazil. The carnival in Rio has nothing to do with the carnival in Recife. The people in South are more educated than in Nordeste. Good vibes are on :

Marcio seems to be very surprised that I survived the Galo « Graças a Deus, você está vivo! »)

The baiana and carioca friends take me for a round of Recife Antigo.

They show me the main stage and explain that this place is called Marco Zero because it’s where the story of Recife begins and it has the oldest buildings. They also tell me that there are warehouses. And this place is now used by the blocos of the carnival.
They buy street-food and make me try raiz, raiz is quite nice, the meat which goes with it, really dry and disgusting. I say that I didn’t like Parraxaxá and they give me two recommendations for other regional self-services in Boa Viagem : Chica Pitanga and Ilha Sertaneja. I feel tired and I say goodbye hugging and kissing them one time on the chick.

I go back to the Santa Catarina bus terminal. One guy sees my T-shirt of Legião Urbana and asks me which is my favourite song from them (I reply that I don’t know all but I like Geraçaõ Coca-Cola)

This guy named Anderson shows me my bus stop and gives me the bus number I should hop on.
When I turn back to the hostel, the girl at the reception also likes my shirt : she first thought I was Brazilian. Ahah! and we begin talking about Brazilian rock. She soon recommends two other major rock bands : Barão Vermelho and Cazuza!

It was a long day. The last shower for today and I disappear under the bedsheets.