Almost two weeks after we arrived in this beautifully calm and friendly place we'll set the sails again and head further south, to Salvador de Bahía. Or to be more precise: we're first heading directly to the island Itaparica in the bay of Salvador before we go to Salvador on saturday to buy some stuff for the boat and pick-up our next guest on sunday, sept. 9th.
I had a great time here. As always, it got better the longer we stayed here because we started to get to know the other sailors here and knew our way around. We even found out how to go from here directly to the center of Joao Pessoa with the bus for less than €1. Especially I loved having so many french people around. That's back from my childhood, when my dad used to work in Paris and I had the chance to live there for 2 years as well and after that go there very often. France was my second home, I love the sound of the language in my ears. Until dad moved to LA and LA became my second home and I guess it will be that until the rest of my life.
I know it's time to go on and I very much look forward to the better beaches in the south and to all that's waiting there to be discovered. However I had found another preliminary home here. And I have special memories cause it is my first landfall in Brazil and the first real contact with the (northern) Brazilian culture. And so many unique and lovely people we met.
It started with the bus ride to Cabedelo. The shocks and the breaks were not the newest and cried under the ralley type of driving of the bus driver. As we have found out in the meantime all busdrivers here are ralley drivers who constantly work on improving by testing the latest moment to hit the breaks at about 90km/h to come to an almost complete stop at the bus station or wherever someone is standing around who seems to be waiting for a bus. Today we had the express version of ralley driving. Shocks and brakes must have been new - the bus was not. Who cares. You pay 2,30 reais per entry to the bus (about 90c), no matter how far you go. End Cabedelo to end Joao Pessoa are about 15km.
Then there was Silvio from customs. He spoke very good english, was a happy, friendly man who was so kind to lead us to the sailing national training sailing ship and who showed us pictures of a confiscated Lambourghini. One of the richest man from this area here tried to import it illegally - and customs took it, but not without testdriving it and taking pictures of it - which we saw.
In Cabedelo there was the first self service "restaurant" we went to. Actually it was a place for workers going for lunch, cheap, all you can eat and food not too bad, but of course simple, local food (meat) and some spaghettig. Self service restaurants are very popular here and usually you pay per weight. We did that in Recife, very good food and with 3 drinks we payed €8 for two, not bad. Back to the one in Cabedelo: the guy who ran the place (we had to give him the €4per person in the end) refused to give me a coke. He made me sit down with the others and then came with a choice of the typical suco (natural juice, fresh mad from the fruit without any artifical addings). He brought pineapple, cajú, goiaba, papaya, mango. He was very happy that I liked the sucos and kept on bringing more. You saw the picture of the cups we had in the end. He loved having foreigners in his place, was so lovely to us. And the workers with their helmets on next to us. Unforgettable.
From Cabedelo the train ride back to Jacaré. Kids jumping on the railway just before the electric, heavy train came. A train that looks loke from 50yrs ago, and like being a transport for pigs with the gated windows. A train softly swinging from side to side when in motion and constantly honking like a huge freighter cause people cross the railway everywhere and there is no gate to stop cars when the train is approaching.
Joao Pessoa and Recife center being big zones of one store next to each other, orderd by type of sold goods in areas. So one part where you can only get mattresses, the next only cloth, the next only clothes etc. Makes shopping easy. All pretty cheap, and not the typical shopping miles that nowadas you find in all cities in the world, making the shopping the same, interchangeable experience in wht whole world. So we really enjoyed the local spirit and culture in the shopping experience. Only the C&A store in J.P. was a bit confusing...
In the artesanial market in J.P. we learned that very typical for Brzil seem to be pure cotton clothes and fabrics and tablecloths and cloths with embroidery (Stickerei) on it. Beautiful pieces, only we were not in need of anything. Well, we bought natural table sets for the days when we do not need our wonderful sticky ones.
Coco frio cost an average of 35c here. That is a fesh, young (green) coconut, cut a hole in it, put a straw in it and there you are. Can't get any fresher. In FdN we paid €2 for it.
I could just continue writing about all those little things that we saw and appreciated. The guy plaing the Bolero in the sunset at Jacaré beach, the young kids on the horse trying to make the cows move, cows, donkeys and horses who pass by here in the marina by themselves, wooden carts pulled from horses and donkey still being a means of transportation of goods like bricks, wood etc. in contrary to the guys who own their motor boats here, who come for a couple of hours on one day at the weekend with their Porsche (the donkey walking past it) just make a short ride with their boat. On the weekend the people of the sport boat maarina next door are busy bringin all the motor boats to the water and then the same day or next day back out - with a tractor and a hanger. Strange scenes.
Tonight the owner of the marina here had cooked "Fejada braileira" for all the poats (of course we had to pay a bit). The girl who works for him had prepared the tables in a long row and a little buffet. It was a wonderful idea and this way we got to know the other sailors who are here at the moment. Mostly french. I sat next to french and talked to them in french - not too fluent, but they got the message. I could understand most of what they said. I will write more about our §neighbours tomorrow". Now I have to put the precooked Chili con carne into glasses and go to bed. We will head out here early tomorrow mornig and need to do some preparations in the morning still. I will miss the place. As a good-bye I sat in the pool for half an hour this afternoon. Good night.