Praia do Francês
Destination Maceió, capital of the state of Alagoas.
Episode 16. Praia do Francês, one of the most popular beaches near Maceió.
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The bus ride from the university campus to Praia do Francês took a bit less than ninety minutes. We had to change buses in the center of Maceió. It was about ten when we reached the beach. We first turned left, to the beach with coral reefs barriers a few hundred meters offshore. Dozens of beach chairs were waiting for the first beach goers. Waiters at some bars were already running for their first clients. Our travel companions told us that it had rained quite a lot yesterday. Today it looked promising: a blue sky, with some clouds at the horizon. Today, I was accompanied by Bernard (who also made the long beach hike at Coruripe) and Maria. We shared the same interests: exploring Praia do Francês, and spending little time with drinking something or having lunch.
Despite the early hour, beach vendors were already wandering on the beach, with their merchandise. Vendors selling ice cream, souvenirs, necklaces made of little shells, carved coconuts that represent blind, deaf and mute monkeys. Others offered fresh fruit liqueurs, roasted cheese or French fries. There were young girls offering the necklaces, older men carrying Styrofoam boxes with soda and beer, a man who missed a leg at the liqueur cart. In my opinion, one of the most interesting vendors and artist was a man who was painting small tiles. These tiles that are a bit larger than 10 centimeters were painted by his fingers, a cloth, cotton tips, wooden sticks, or a blunt knife. We witnessed the creation of two landscapes: one represented a full moon at a river, and another represented a colorful sunset on the beach.
It was about twelve-thirty when we left the beach for a while. It was about time to have lunch. We already were aware that the prices for a simple lunch were quite high in the restaurants and bars along the beach. Therefore, we went into the tiny village. We did not have to walk too long to encounter a simple restaurant with ‘comida caseira’: homemade food. We asked for the ‘Prato do Dia’ (menu of the day), which consisted of rice, beans, salad and fish, chicken or pork meat. At a nearby supermarket, we bought a bottle of soda. Just as we did in Coruripe, yesterday. I have to say that this simple meal was delicious, and Bernard and Maria shared my opinion. We spent little time in the village before we returned to the beach: we visited some souvenir shops and beach clothes stores.
We now walked on the other beach, without reef barriers. The sea was a bit rougher, and dozens of signs with ‘perigo’ warned us that it was too dangerous to swim there. There were only a few windsurfers and fishermen. This part of the beach was almost completely deserted. Except for some beach goers who preferred more privacy. We did not stay too long there. We noticed quite a number of little crabs that quickly ran away when they noticed our approach. I tried to take pictures of them, but they were too fast, except for one crab. We slowly returned to the village, where I went to a LAN house: a store where costumers can be online, and where I unloaded my memory card. Unfortunately, this process took a lot of time, more than one hour. Bernard and Maria were patient enough to wait for me, on the beach.
Before we left Praia do Francês, we tried tapioca pancakes, which were stuffed with sweet flavors (like condensed milk, banana, coconut) or salty flavors (like cheese, pizza, ham). It is amazing to see how the tapioca flour forms a pancake when heated, without butter or oil. Maria and I already had tried these tapioca pancakes before, but for Bernard it was the first time. These pancakes are, together with acarajé, pão de queijo, and brigadeiro, my favorite Brazilian snacks. We left Praia do Francês at five pm, there was enough time left for another night party, now in Ponta Verde.
The Atlantic Ocean….
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom