Destination Recife, capital of the state of Pernambuco.
2. A relaxed day on the paradisaical beaches of Porto de Galinhas, near Recife.
It was not my first visit to Porto de Galinhas. In February 2005, when I was traveling with a brother of my former girlfriend, and was spending the carnival holidays in Recife and Olinda, our final day in Pernambuco was spent in Porto de Galinhas. For me, it was an unforgettable day. I really was excited about the warm ocean water. My second visit was during the long bus travel from Belo Horizonte to Fortaleza. It was raining that day, and even such a paradisaical beach as Porto de Galinhas was no more than a desolate, deserted beach. The presence of the sun is really a prerequisite for a pleasant day on the beach. During my third visit, it was a very sunny day. There was a lot of sun, there were some clouds that provided some relief on our sunburned skin. And again, I enjoyed the warm ocean water.
Porto de Galinhas and relatively nearby Maragogi in the neighboring state of Alagoas are both widely known for the coral reefs that are located at some kilometers from the shoreline. At low tide, there are possibilities to join a boat ride (with a so-called jangada, a flat-bottom fisherman boat) to these reefs. For us students, the fares were not cheap, but it must be relatively cheap for most foreign tourists. It is safer to have a ride by a small ferry, but you need to pay a little more. We were about to join such a boat ride, but many had changed their minds. They really preferred to spend this money to beers and snacks. A good example of a rich student life…
Quite expensive but delicious: fresh fried fish,
with crispy fries, lemon, and olive oil.
When you are at some beach in the northeastern part of Brazil, you need to be aware of the tides. At low tide, the beaches are very wide. However, at high tide, you may discover that the beach almost completely disappears. It is not recommended to make long walks along the beach, when the tide is rising: you might eventually discover that even the narrow beach had disappeared and that you need to find an alternative route more land inward.
Thus far, I haven’t visited any Brazilian beach without meeting dozens of vendors with a wide variety of merchandise. These men and women, and even some children, are walking the entire day along the tourists. They carry their merchandise in their hands, on their backs, on their shoulders, sometimes on their head. In a little cart, or in a Styrofoam box, in a wicker basket, on an iron rod, in a plastic container. They are sometimes very creative. The tourists generally respect these vendors, but they won’t buy only because they feel sorry for them. They buy when they are interested in their merchandise. Besides sunburn cream, beach towels, sunglasses, and T-shirts, they also sell food. It is needless to say that you should be careful when buying seafood. Also be very careful with lemon, that might cause painful burns on your skin.
At high tide, we all left the beach and entered the little village of Porto de Galinhas.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom