Destination Maceió, second travel to the capital of the state of Alagoas.
In Pontal da Barra, at the southern tip of the peninsula on which Maceió is located, locals try to obtain their income with art pieces of handicraft.
Earlier that day, we had visited Praia do Gunga and Barra de São Miguel. It was still raining, when the bus followed the route in the direction of Maceió. The local AL-101 motorway was followed. This motorway is not the famous BR-101, who runs from Rio Grande do Sul to Rio Grande do Norte, passing Maceió at respectable distance. From the AL-101, the bus went to the southernmost tip of the peninsula, which extends from the Center of Maceió southward, and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and Lagoa Mundaú.
Fishermen and handicraft
Many inhabitants of Pontal da Barra are fishermen and obtain their income with fishing. This district contains pristine beaches, which are very popular among surfers. Despite minimal touristic infrastructure, many tourists visit Pontal da Barra. From the small harbor, one may rent a boat to one of the nine small islands in the lake. Tourist also may witness breathtaking sunsets. Hungry tourists will love the local restaurants, which offer a wide range of fish and seafood dishes. Since a few decades, large part of this district, which more resembles a small, independent village, many locals have turned themselves into skilled handicraft artists.
Filé and Crochê
When talking about handicraft, this type of handicraft is not common. This type is typical for this region, and is called filé: a kind of lace or crocheted work. Firm coconut or cotton fibers are winded, in a rectangular pattern, on wooden frames. Yarn of literally every thinkable color are then crocheted in certain patterns. Crochê is better known as crocheting. According to one of the workers, creating a simple bookmark already lasts more than one hour. One may imagine how many hours are spent in creating a queen-size bedspread. At least one month will be needed. Despite the many working hours spent with it, the handicraft pieces are relatively cheap. The bookmark cost one euro only, while the bedspread cost a few dozen euros.
A few dozen workshops and stores are located in the main street of Pontal da Barra; they all are open for tourists. The stores exhibit large stocks of handicraft, and tourists are encouraged to examine the pieces or try them on. Most stores offer possibilities of electronic payment; you might be able to use the credit card. However, it is strongly recommended to pay in cash. This way of payment is cheaper for both the owner and the customer. In this respect, you might be more successful to obtain interesting discounts.
Our guide, Vítor, guided us to one of the larger handicraft stores. Undoubtedly, he will receive some commission, because he was obviously praising that store. He added that that store was very reliable, hereby providing us the impression that other stores should be less reliable. I didn’t agree with his vision, and I visited almost all handicraft stores in the main street.
I had visited almost thirty stores, I had observed the colorful merchandise, taken their business cards, taken some pictures after the owners had granted me permission. When they were working at a creation, I had asked them if I was allowed to take pictures of them when working. Everyone agreed. Some of them even eagerly demonstrated their creations, or even posing with them, with certain pride. The results are shown here and in the following items.
Using bright colors
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom