Monday, August 28, 2006

Back in Porto de Galinhas, finally!

Day 1: Porto de Galinhas
We got into Recife airport and immediately decided “you know what, let’s just hang out at Porto de Galinhas, contender for one of the nicest beaches in the whole of the northeast, for the entire stay in Pernambuco.” So we did just that. We had some jackass taxi guys hounding us “Ooh only R$70 for a taxi to Porto de Galinhas”. We were like “wtf d00d it’s only R$5.50 for the bus there.” Guy responded with “no it’s R$7.50”. Funny because I didn’t see him offering to take us there for only R$7.50 per person. Whatever though, no big deal.
We took the bus, which was hot and sweaty but cheap, straight to Porto de Galinhas and from there a guide showed us to a good hostel that was kinda away from the hustle of the city but close enough that we could walk to the beach within 10 minutes and to any good restaurant or bar within about three minutes. We got in at around 7:30 I would guess and put our stuff up and immediately walked towards the beach. Barely any moon meant not much light, so instead we just kinda hung out, checked out a few bars and had a few drinks. We tucked it in kinda early so we could get up in the morning and try and get out and do some snorkeling, maybe take a nice bune duggy (…) ride and see what else was going on in this small and sparsely populated beach city. By the way, day one of Porto de Galinhas is Wednesday 19th July. By this point though, it was bedtime.

Day 2: Porto de Galinhas
We got up around 9:30AM, or at least I did so I missed breakfast, but my sickness was really getting to me. I woke up with my eyes practically glued shut, so I had to kinda pry them open, and my nose was stuffed completely. I think usually you can breathe out of at least one nostril but I was limited to only my mouth, so breathing through my mouth all night left my mouth incredibly dry and my throat really sore. My eyes felt really bad so I asked Keren if my right eye was actually just completely closed up. She said “no” but that they were both really swollen. I looked in the mirror and surely enough, my eyes looked horrible. Completely bloodshot, swollen as hell and with horrible bags under my eyes.
Luckily I remembered my eye drops, so I put a few drops into each eye and figured “what the hell, let’s go to the beach.” Good thing Keren and Becca were taking care of me, ensuring I had been drinking enough orange juice and taking some Vitamin C and Echinacea pills.
But after that we walked down to the beach to hopefully see some reefs, but the tide was coming in quickly so we decided to wait until a little bit later. Instead we picked a nice little table with an umbrella right on the beach and ordered a couple drinks, grab a few queijo na brasa (cheese on a stick grilled over fire) and just kinda toasted away under the sun (literally in my case). After a while I decided to grab a guaraná and Becca and Keren decided to get some coconut water. Coconut water here is pretty awesome because they just chop the top of the coconut off, stick a straw in it and you drink straight out of the coconut.
The night before Keren and Becca promised this guy that they would get their hair braided and I also that night jokingly said “sure I’ll do it too”. Well that guy promised he’d come back and seek us out and braid our hair right there on the beach, I’ll have pictures up but sure enough I had finally lived my dream. I got cornrows put in my hair and I look more OG than ever. Straight up y0.
So by now it was probably 1PM or so and we decided to head up to the hotel and eat some fruit and sandwich stuff we had bought the day before. I was burnt to a crisp but whatever, no big deal I’m used to it by now. We sat around, Keren and Becca educated me about musicals and Broadway shows, then I talked about some stuff that probably only interested me, and then we came inside because we were all tired as hell. So I think we all took a little nap.
We then got up and decided it’d be best to try and get our snorkeling in that evening because we had planned on going bune duggying the next day which would take up about 3 ½ hours or so. After seeing how burnt up I was, Becca and Keren insisted I put on some sunscreen, so once again, luckily I had them here to take care of me. So we went out on the little jangada and went to a little piscina natural (natural pool) and snorkeled, seeing some pretty fish and checking out the reefs for about an hour. Once we got done is was nearly night so we decided we would head back to the hotel again, take a shower and get ready to go out for the evening.
Once we had all relaxed for a while (the sun takes a lot out of you) and taken a good shower (I tried to get it as cold as possible, but the heat up here does a good job at warming the water), we decided to head out for sushi. We found a nice little place and had about 60 pieces of sushi. They were having a buy one plate get another free, so we ordered two thinking we’d get one for free and the other one we’d pay for, but they instead brought us two of each. No big deal though because that sushi was awesome. We had some Philadelphia rolls, California rolls, tekka, shrimp, fried shrimp, white fish, squid, salmon, and a few other types of sushi, all with some awesome as hell wasabi. That is some body and soul cleansing stuff right there. So we had all that and once again, some really good conversation. After the good food, we decided to check the internet real quick. I had to check for a message from Caio really quick to see if he had sent me the hotel information for Salvador and he did, so that was awesome. I didn’t do anything except that, so I’m sorry to everyone who’s email I didn’t get. I’ll be sure to check it again in Salvador when I’m there all by my lonesome.
After that we decided to go to a little bar near the beach and have some drinks. By some, in my case, I mean too many. I had about 4 caipiroskas (lime, sugar and vodka instead of cachaça), one caipirinha, one thing called “Neve” (snow in Portuguese, but it’s basically a caipirinha that has condensed milk to make it white) and I hope that’s it. I really don’t even remember paying, that’s how bad it was.
I was feeling bad though, one of those random spells of depression that comes over my sometimes, so I figured “what is a good cure for depression?” And of course the answer is lots of alcohol. It worked for a while, then I had to get it all out (the depression, not the alcohol) so I talked to Becca about some stuff and that helped. It’s a good thing she doesn’t mind listening to me because I sure have shared a lot of stuff with her. Again, she’s a really awesome girl.
After that I stayed up for a while and listening to music while everyone went to sleep, then I passed out. So that was Thursday in Porto de Galinhas. Despite its seemingly depressing ending it was not too bad at all actually and I had a very good day. So that’s the end of that day.

Day 3: Porto de Galinhas
I think that I have decided when I come back to Brazil I’m gonna make sure I spend at least an entire week here. I don’t care if I even do anything. Just being here under this lovely Pernambucano sun, looking at these crystal clear waters and having the chance to snorkel, dive and take dune buggy (bune duggy) tours is incredible.
Anyway, Friday began with us all waking up a little late (long day and night yesterday, maybe too much sun), but Becca and Keren made it out just in time for breakfast. After they got back in and everything we decided to head out towards the beach, but we got distracted with looking for an ATM (I’m sure I overdrafted the hell out of my bank account today, again more than likely.) I haven’t been able to use my credit card for anything so that really sucks because I was relying on it. I can’t even pay for the hotel we’re staying at with a credit card. Anyway so we did that, Keren and Becca bought some stuff and then we dropped that stuff off at the hotel and when we walked out decided “what the hell, let’s go bune duggying.” So we negotiated the hell out of that price.
It started off with a price of R$140, and he was like “we can probably do it for R$100 for you three” and we were like “umm, no” and walked away. People don’t like this so he said “okay, how about R$80” and we said “I’m sure we can find something better” and he said “okay, R$70 how does that sound?” so I spoke up and said “I think R$60 is the best price, that way it’s R$20 for each of us.” He thought for a second, probably wanting to say no because he knew he was dealing with foreigners, but he agreed to a price of R$60. That was pretty awesome because we had just saved R$80. The actual price is not R$140, I’m pretty sure he just said that to make the actual posted price of R$100 seem like a good deal. He was dealing with the wrong Americans though.
The bune duggy tour was quite awesome. We went to Cupe beach, Muro Alto, one other beach that I can’t remember the name of and then down to Maracaípe beach. In all it lasted a little bit more than three hours. Our lunch just consisted of a queijo na brasa, and I had some pineapple juice at Maracaípe while Becca had a caipifruta (maracujá, which is just passion fruit) and Keren had a caipirinha. We walked a little bit into a “meeting of the river” where the Maracaípe river meets the Atlantic, and here we walked into a little mangrove forest. I climbed about 6 or so feet up the roots (which are above ground obviously) and got a sweet ass picture. Becca had her picture taken while she was kinda tucked into the tangled up roots.
I can’t really describe how awesome the dune buggy tour was, but for a minute or two I actually felt bad that we negotiated down a full R$80 because I think for as awesome as the tour was plus as awesome as our guide was, it was definitely worth more than R$60. But whatever, we paid R$60 and decided that was an awesome price.
After we got back I decided to go to the bus stop and check was time buses leave tomorrow so we can get on the bus and make it back to Recife airport in time. We’re gonna leave tomorrow around 11AM and get to the airport around 12:30PM or so. I’m gonna stop typing about that now because I’m gonna get sad. Becca and Keren are leaving tomorrow to go back to the USA and it kinda sucks. I’ve had an incredible with them the past week. I have gotten to know Keren pretty well and she’s a really good person and I’ve gotten to know Becca a little more and spend a little more time with someone who I definitely hope remains a good friend for many years to come.
Once I got back everyone had apparently decided to take a nap, so Becca was asleep and Keren was lying down as well. I lied down, turned on some music and just kinda chilled out. Keren got up and decided to take a shower, and when she got done Becca went and took a shower and in natural progression, I took one last. I was really tired but took one anyway and after I got out of the shower, we decided to try and find a nice place to eat. So we went out trying to find a place with good atmosphere, good food, and good live music. We found a place that had all three.
We had some really good pizza at this place. I’m telling ya, one thing that I am definitely gonna miss about Brazil is the pizza. I imagine pizza in Italy might be better, but I have never had pizza as good as here in Brazil. But I digress. We sat around, talking, listening to the live music, ate some good pizza and had some good drinks, then talked for several more hours, then decided “hey, let’s get some coffee and dessert.” So that’s exactly what we did. And then we just kept talking some more. Definitely a very good night in my opinion.
After this we talked to the guy who was performing and told him that the reason we came to that restaurant was because for the past two nights we had heard him playing and decided that restaurant would be the best blend of atmosphere, food and music, as long as he was gonna play that night. We then went back to the hotel, unwound for a few minutes, then headed back out to walk around some and see what all was going down in the neighborhood. We stopped and got some chocolate-covered strawberries, which through my travels and experiences with her, Becca has learned they are something I absolutely cannot resist.
So we all had some chocolate-covered strawberries, and after that we talked some more and decided to take a walk down the beach to say bye to Porto de Galinhas since we would be leaving the next day. So we did that, walked down the beach for a while, then I sat around doing some hardcore meditating while Keren and Becca talked about whatever it is that sisters only separated by one year talk about, then after probably 30 minutes or so we got up and walked back towards the main part of the town.
Once we got back up there we saw some capoeira going on and I kinda felt like jumping in there and getting involved but didn’t work up the courage to do it until they had finished. Keren had never seen capoeira in person before so she finally got to see that, but as Becca and I explained to her, what we were watching there was a very poor demonstration of what capoeira is supposed to be all about.
From there we walked to a little lanchonete and ordered a couple drinks and sat around chillin’ for about 30 minutes or so, just talking and hanging out. A funny thing happened though; it started to rain. I had not seen rain since those few drops that came down in Rio, and I hadn’t seen real rain since São Paulo. This wasn’t too bad and didn’t really last all that long. Once it let up raining it was around 12:30AM or so, and we decided to head back to the hotel so we could get some sleep and be up in time for the bus the following day back to the airport.
We got back there and I came out onto our little porch area and started listening to some music and catching up on some typing that I needed to get done (for reference, I am in Salvador right now). I was up until around 3:30 just typing, listening to music, finishing up that CD I had promised to make for Becca and just reflecting on all things involving life and the universe and all sorts of other hippie stuff. Becca and Keren went to bed earlier, so I said good night to them knowing that it would be the last night we’d all be together. At 3:30AM I finished the CD and rolled over and went to bed.

Day 4: Porto de Galinhas
We all got up pretty early, around 8 or 8:30AM. We got up and went out to some free breakfast that the hotel we were staying at had, and much like many other days during the week we had all had together, we spent a good portion of it talking. They hotel breakfast was quite good, so that was a nice addition. What sucked was that this place didn’t take credit cards. I had anticipated using my credit card for all my lodging during this trip, but ended up only using is so far in Rio. I have found very few other places that would take it. I have to make sure the place I’m at in Salvador accepts Visa.
So we finished eating breakfast and by the time we were finished packing up our stuff and everything it was 10AM. So we paid the hotel (R$90/person, not too bad at all), grabbed our stuff and started walking to the bus stop. We got there and it was hot as hell and I had nothing to drink, so I asked Becca and Keren if they wanted anything to drink from the gas station close to the bus stop, they said yes, and so I went there and got a couple Gatorades and a couple waters.
As I was walking back to the bus stop, a man stopped me and said “are you going back to Recife now?” and I said “yeah, I am.” And he said “I have to go back to Recife now and I am willing to take you to the airport for the same price as the bus fare.” I was like “whoa” and made sure to ask “so R$15 for me and my two friends?” Sure enough, he said “yes, no problem.” I guess here it’s important to mention that the guy was a taxi driver that had a credentialed airport cab, so I figured he could be trusted. He made sure to show me his little badge thing as well.
So I ran back towards Becca and Keren and told them the good news, and they both jumped on that offer quicker than I did. So we dragged our stuff to the cab, got in, and for about R$1.35 less than the bus, we had a very nice, cool, quick and conversation-filled cab ride back to Recife’s international airport. We paid the man, said thanks and bye, and made our way into the airport.
While we were standing in line Becca had the sudden realization that no longer were the three of us gonna be together; that they were taking a flight to São Paulo and I was gonna Salvador. For the moment, I tried to be strong and joke about it, telling them I’d be back in the US a few days after them and we’d all be together again. They’d soon find out that I was actually quite sad that we were splitting up from that point.
Anyway we went into a little bookstore, I read a few little kid books in Portuguese, then we went to grab a quick bite to eat before we went through security checks and all that. We then did the security bit and sat around waiting. A quick glance let us all know that our flights appeared to be on schedule and everything looked like it would be going according to plan.
Becca decided to get a little massage from the airport massage stand and I thought “damn it’s been a long time hasn’t it?” so I decided to get one as well. It was about 15 minutes I’d guess for only R$15, which IMO isn’t a bad deal. By now I think my mood was quickly shifting from “ah don’t worry guys we’ll see each other again!” to “holy shit am I sad!” I think they could tell, too.
Finally a few TAM flights came in and we figured our flights were there. My flight ended up being delayed by about 20 minutes, which put my departure time at 2:34PM and their flight time at 2:33PM. When they announced the gate change and boarding call for their flight, Becca and Keren got up and got ready to make their way to gate 11. My gate was changed from 13 to 12, but those two gates were in the same room while gate 11 was a little bit away.
So Becca and Keren got up and I gave Becca the last big hug we’d share in Brazil, told her to have a nice flight and thanked her for being an awesome friend, then Keren thanked me for traveling with them and I gave her a little hug. I told them bye and as I said “I’ll see you guys soon” Becca gave me a nice little wink, one I had seen many times, and for some reason even after all the words and everything, that kinda let me know that we’d both do our best and remaining friends and remaining in contact. I’m gonna try and make my way towards Nashville and meet up with her while I’m in TN before school starts, and after that she’s only a couple hours away in Columbia.
So from there they walked to their gate, I lined up at my gate and made my way through the gate and down to my plane. It was July 22nd, and I was on my way to Salvador, Bahia one more time.

**Onto the pictures**

These first three shots are just of the amazing beach and water in Porto de Galinhas. This place is about an hour from Recife, which is the capital city of the state of Pernambuco.

Becca with some água de coco, or, coconut water.

Becca gettin' her hair braided.

Keren, her sister, getting hers done as well.

This beach environment can make you act a little silly at times.

Another nice beach shot.

And Zack with the completed cornrows.

These next few shots are from our dune buggy. These were taken at different beaches near Porto de Galinhas.

Becca, myself and Keren in the back of the dune buggy.

The three of us while cruising down the highway in the back of the bune duggy.

One more time in the back. This was near some mangrove forests.

And again, on the beach.

The three of us standing under the nice Pernambucano sun on a nice Porto de Galinhas beach.

Me, about 7 feet in the air after climbing the roots of the mangrove trees.

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