Destination Recife, capital of the state of Pernambuco.
3. A relaxed day on the paradisaical beaches of Porto de Galinhas, part two.
In Porto de Galinhas, and along many beach resorts in northeast Brazil, one may observe big differences of the sea level at low and high tide. In the morning, when we entered the beach in Porto de Galinhas, the beach was very wide, and the reefs were high above sea level. Late in the afternoon, at high tide, most of the wide beach was taken by the ocean, and the reefs were pounded by fierce waves. Only when you walk about a few hundred meters northward from the village of Porto de Galinhas, you might find beaches that are not taken by the ocean. For us, the high hide was the signal to leave the beach and enter the village.
Porto de Galinhas is originally a small fisherman village, but has increased significantly with the arrival of tourists. The village now counts many shops and restaurants. The main street, perpendicular to the beach, is usually very crowded with shopping-eager tourists who search for beach outfits, souvenirs, and handicraft. They also crowd the many bars and restaurants; the latter offer various options of fast food. Most beach goers prefer to spend their daytime on the beach instead of spending hours in bars and restaurants. The little bars look like the so-called butecos that my find in southeast Brazil. They are equipped with simple furniture, mainly with plastic tables and chairs, generously provided by the ‘sponsoring’ beer brewer: from Bramha red to Skol yellow to Antarctica Blue to Schin Orange to Heineken green.
Symbol of Porto de Galinhas is the chicken.
Porto de Galinhas hosts a large number of statues and drawings of chicken and hens. The choice of this animal has a historical reason. In the past, Porto de Galinhas was called Porto Rico, the Rich Port. Slaves from Africa arrived here, and products from the forests and sugar plantations were exported to Europe. With the introduction of the ban on slave transport, – while slavery was still legal -, slaves ware transported illegally from Angoa, under a layer of cages with chicken, of the species galinhas d’angola, better known as the helmeted guineafowl. When a new load of chicken and slaves arrived in Porto Rico, people shouted: “Chega galinha novo no porto!” (Fresh hens arrived at the port!). The slaveholders then rushed to the docks to get the clandestine load from the ships.
The majority of our group occupied almost all tables in a bar and started to order some bottles of beer. I was among the few who didn’t like to stay in a bar all day, and we went for our walk in the village. We walked – in small groups, or alone, and then joining with other groups – through the few streets in the village, and we entered almost all shops, in our search for interesting souvenirs for our friends and family and home. Not only T-shirts, but also small gadgets, made of shells, wood or sand. I already am familiar with most of this kind of handicraft, but still caught my attention. Some handicraft were of a poor quality, but most of them were professionally crafted. Some handicraft were real art pieces. It was getting dark when we got hungry, and we went along the many restaurants in the main street and some side streets. We were looking for a small snack. We noticed some tourists with a cone in their hands. As is common in Brazil, the cone was covered in a napkin. Our first thought was that they were having an ice cream cone, but on the contrary: it was a pizza cone! It was not hard to find the restaurant that was selling these cones in various flavors. The delicious pizza cones were served with melted cheese and fresh basilica.
Sleeping on the bus
Our group wanted to take a shower later that night. We all returned to the bus. It was parked near a building complex that housed a small supermarket and a pousada. We paid two reais (less than one euro) for a lukewarm, refreshing shower. Soon, we formed two long lines to the two shower rooms available. Meanwhile, I took the opportunity to have part of my pictures burnt on a DVD, which cost me 4 reais (2 euros). It was a reasonable price, in a tourist resort. Sometimes, the prices in such a tourist resort are much higher on or immediately behind the beaches, in comparison to the prices in bars, shops and restaurants at more distance from the beach. When you want to have dinner for a cheap prices, you better walk some more minutes to the cheaper restaurants with delicious home-made food (the so-called comida caseira). When we all had had our shower, we returned to the village to spend the rest of the night there. It was around midnight when we felt the need of a night rest. We would not sleep in an expensive hotel, not in a much cheaper pousada, but on our bus. For free. But I have to admit that sleeping on a parked bus is much more difficult than on a riding bus. It was even harder when a large mosquito family had discovered our sweet-smelling skins and decided to spend their night with numerous attacks.
PORTO DE GALINHAS – PE
|Porto de Galinhas – Quem conhece, nunca esquece
||Porto de Galinhas – Pernambuco – Brasil
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom