We arrived in Brazil at the end of the summer and it was hot. Too hot! The temperature would reach 30 degrees Celsius at 7h30 in the morning. I tried to prevent the liquid around my brain from boiling by going to the pool regularly. Since this pool is in direct sun my attempts were in vain and my brain fried. There was a beach 30 minutes away by foot but the walk was not tempting under the burning sun. Fortunately, fall came and brought with it more tolerable weather. So we started to enjoy Brazil when we came out of our heat stoke in Salvador Bay. We don’t regret arriving at the end of summer because we got to experience the Carnival but if we had to come here again, we would arrive later.
The owners of yacht village Jacaré (it means crocodile in Portuguese) are French so many of the world travelers stop here. It’s a good place to get all the information on the paperwork that needs to be done to enter. Note that it is important for a Canadian to have a visa before hand. It’s also a good occasion to gather useful tips on places to visit from other captains. At sundown, one of the local tourist bars plays very loudly the Boléro de Ravel followed by Ave Maria to accompany the sun in its decent. This is the signal for all navigators to meet up at the marina bar for a capairina and a bit of chatting. (The recipe for capairina: smash some green lemons with cane sugar. Add one or two ounces of Cachaça which is a local alcohol made of sugar cane kind of like white rum and add lots of ice.) Warning if you drink more than one, the headache and diabetes attack are a sure thing.
The owners also organize day outings for those who would like to visit some of the surrounding cities. To be more free, we decided to rent a car for two days with the Lakatao crew. On the first day we stopped on a couple of beaches on the way to the very pretty city of Olinda were we had lunch and took a nice long walk. The next day, we went away from the coast to visit Voluptia a cachaça distillery and do see a water fall. On this second day, we found out how the police officers do business in Brazil. Bruno had brought in the trunk his machete in the hopes of finding bamboo to cut and bring back to his Chinese jonque. So we were stopped and the car searched. When they found the machete, they told him that this was illegal... BUT... if he was willing to put a few bills in his driver’s license and hand it back to one of the officers, they were ready to overlook the weapon possession. Of course, he did and we were on our merry way. Apparently this is common practice. In fact, if you have something to hide and want to save time, you just add 20 to 50 reals (12-30$ CAN) to your license when stopped and they won’t search. About 20 for the knife and 50 for a body wrapped in carpet.
We kept busy the rest of the time by visiting the two cities on either side of Jacaré; Cabedlo and Joao Pessoa. These are easily accessible by train when it works, by bus or by underground taxis that charge the same amount. We crossed the Paraiba River with a water taxi to take a walk in the wild and visit small villages. To come back, we took a water bus which is literally a bus on a boat to head back to Cabedello. For the nature lovers, Brazil has very dense forests and a wide variety of birds and insects. The insects are well fed because they look like they are on steroids. In Canada, we have squirrels, here, they have monkeys. All one has to do is look up to see them jumping from tree to tree. They also have all sorts of fruit growing wild like mango, banana, lime, papaya, ... and a long list of others I can’t pronounce or spell. While on the subject of food, might as well talk about the cuisine. Someone once told me that a good way to learn about a culture is to take a look inside the local grocery store. In this case, the first word that comes to mind is diabetes. The only refined food to be found is the sugar. This is explained by the fact that the average Brazilian can’t afford any luxury items. Also, allot of meals are made with dênde oil (palm oil) which should not be taken in large quantities. Many Brazilians are overweight and I kind of feel like my butt in a bit larger. However, there are open air markets everywhere that sell all types of fruits and vegetables at almost nothing. A salsa of tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh coriander is particularly popular. They also eat allot of beans and flours made of corn and manioc. At lunch, the fast food restaurants are replaced by restaurant that sell food buy the kilo. These buffets are very practical since you can find some good food for a reasonable price. Not even worth cooking!
I added a short photo montage of our two day car trip on our web site. You can take a look at it at this address: http://bidule.micro.org/Site/Jacare2.html.
More to follow...