Atins: at the margin of the Preguiças River.
The boat tour was completed, it had lasted 4.5 hours. Those who had stayed inside the boat, suffered stiff muscles; some of them started to perform exercises to stretch these muscles. They appeared relieved to leave the boat. I had stayed with six others on the front deck during the entire boat tour. Therefore, I had an excellent position to take photographs. I was not just taking photographs of the river and the riverside. Some travel companions started to get a crazy mood, after having spent more than two hours on the slow and lazy river. They wanted me to take pictures of their foolish and crazy behavior. The biggest clowns were a theater student and one bus driver. I had to show them various times the results of these folly moments on the little LCD display. A burst of laughter followed. It was our way to kill the time.
A wall painting in the restaurant: the map
of Barreirinhas and Atins.
A colorful combination
The first half of the boat trip was completed. But we also had to return. That led to some confusion. The boat that brought us, was about to return almost immediately, before the turn of the tide. The floodtide will reverse the flow of the river from seaward to landward. But the solution was found, another boat would take us back to Barreirinhas. After midnight. Phew! That was a small disappointment. We had thought to stay about six or seven hours and then return to Barreirinhas, to arrive there at ten, eleven pm. Now we would arrive there at dawn. Poor bus drivers! They were about to drive us to São Luís early in the morning.
Construction or destruction?
Framework of a house.
Now we had arranged the boat tour back to Barreirinhas, we started our walk to the small village of Atins. It was not a paved road but a dirt road. With loose sand. Yesterday, we had wandered many kilometers through the dunes of Lençóis. We walked on cool white sand; we were able to walk barefoot. The sand seemed so pure that the heat was not absorbed but reflected. Really nice for your feet. Nearly forty miles away from Lençóis, the sand was not feeling comfortably cool at all. Ai ai ai! That was a cry we often heard during the first minutes. Almost everyone was unpleasantly surprised by the high temperature of the pale white dune sand. Caramba! Nossa! O que é isso! Meu Deus! As a result, we appeared to dance a spontaneous samba, in order to minimize contact with the hot sands. Even while we were wearing our beloved flip flops, the heat of the sand tortured our delicate and sensitive feet.
Only a few people dared to be outside
during the hot and sunny hours.
We were not the only
Donkeys and swines
We walked through the small village. Hardly anyone was on the streets at this time; it was too hot, people stayed inside their homes or were working elsewhere. Stone houses were not common here. Most buildings had a frame of thin tree trunks filled with clay, with a roof of palm leaves. Why would you construct an expensive brick house, when you have a tropical climate, day and night, every day? No one outside, just a bunch of idiots from Minas Gerais, accompanied by a crazy Dutchman. Walking on the hot and loose sands looked like a torture. People were not in sight, only some animals. Pigs that were leashed, and with their beaks covered with a rope. They were enthusiastically grubbing in the earth with their noses and claws. Some donkeys with a languid and calm appearance. Yet none of us dared to approach closer to these donkeys. Stray dogs did not keep a respectable distance, but approached us, in the hope for some food. Unfortunately for these poor hungry dogs, we had nothing edible with us.
No pink pigs, but brown and hairy swines
“Pousada dos Lençóis” of Pedro Bruno.
Pousada and restaurant
We were looking around for our own warm meal. We approached a pousada. Pousada dos Lençóis, the Pousada of Pedro Bruno. He enjoys a good reputation, tourists know to find him. As he told us, even foreign tourists from Finland and France, for example. Although there is the language barrier, the tourists feel comfortable there. They may expect fried eggs at breakfast, with freshly baked bread, and freshly caught fish complete a warm meal. A pousada to keep in mind. Unfortunately, we had to wait too long to taste this delicious and fresh fish dish. Some of us considered the price of 10 reais (4 euros) as too high. We continued our walk to the village of Atins. There was no pavement, but again loose sand. As some improvised parking lots, palm fronds were laid side by side. There stood a large stone building, hard to be missed. The big red letters on the whitewashed wall made clear that we could get a warm meal there. We could choose between cooked or fried fish. Fried fish was fresh fish with a thin layer of flour, which was fried in palm oil. The dish was completed with white rice, the inevitable brown beans, and a salad of lettuce, tomato and onions. A delicious meal.
Hard to miss: the restaurant in Atins.
The Sand Avenue in Atins. With palm fronds as parking lots.
We did not stay too long in the restaurant, because we had not reached yet our destination: the beach. The restaurant owner explained to us that we were not far from the ocean. He estimated that it would be a walk of about twenty minutes. We were not able to walk firmly on the loose and still hot sands, we were joggling. Instead of the scheduled twenty minutes, it took more than half an hour. We were then walking along small paths through fenced lands. Some grass and small bushes grew there; some horses and donkeys were struggling to find some grass to complete their daily meal. There was nobody else to be seen. We seemed to be alone in this small world… Finally, we saw the blue color of the Atlantic Ocean. Almost automatically we boosted our pace, on the loose beach sands. Here the beach was covered with little bunches of grass and plants with large shoots. The beach near the water was very soft. Our feet sank nearly ten centimeters in the sand. The water was comfortably warm. A real relief for our sensitive feet…
Final destination of that day:
the Atlantic Ocean.
By Dr. Adriano Antoine Robbesom
Original text in Dutch, translation with help of Google Translator