October 2002

ihana.com - big trip - diary - brasil - october 2002



Canoa Quebrada


Monday 14 - Friday 18 October

Zooming off bright and early at the start of a new week we headed down the coast towards Natal. About half way we left the main road to visit Canoa Quebrada, a popular beach resort trademarked with a strange Turkish flag type symbol on the cliffs. The place was very busy with masses of tourist buses and lots of friendly girls in bikinis on the beach, in the town, and passing by on buggy tours of the dunes. After a fine fish lunch we took a strange decision and left for Natal.

Arriving after dark on the deserted seafront we grabbed a bite to eat before heading towards Punto Negra looking for a campsite. On the way we were stopped at a police checkpoint and the normal friendly banter was replaced with talk of fines for not wearing seatbelts and having a dodgy headlight. Not fancying lining the coppers pockets, B used his best Portuguese to shame the guy into letting us off whilst T sat watching another cop palming a bribe from a luckless buggy driver. We never found the campsite but the american owner of a hotel kindly let us camp in his carpark and use the facilities for free. Unfortunately we didn't get much sleep as 5 guys spent the whole night getting pissed and dancing to the megaloud music pumping out from their infeasably large car stereo right next to us.

View of Natal from the fort

Coconuts cost a shy 10p

Punta Negra

Plenty of deserted beaches

Worlds biggest cashew tree, interesting

More beaches

After sightseeing around the fort and having a look around town we spent the rest of the day chilin' on the beach at Punta Negra. We were supposed to be catching up with Caio who we met in Escondido last year, but a few phonecalls later and it seemed he was down the coast in Pipa. Luckily a local guy saw the landy parked on the seafront and offered to let us to stay in his newly completed pousada for a super low price. It was a perfect spot and the next morning we made the most of the chance to do some landy maintenance as one of the front hubs was leaking. Thinking it was the seal we dug out the spares box only to find we didn't have any left, but T realised he hadn't put the lock washer on properly when pressed for time in Guyana, so we put it back together again and then had a successful go at fixing the headlights, a continuous problem source, especailly as dip beam is so weak a pencil maglite has more power.

On the way to Pipa we passed some beautiful beaches and the underwhelming largest cashew tree in the world. Pipa is a little town with cobbled streets and lots of clothes shops being quickly developed for the tourist dollar. Neither of us got a particularly good feeling about the place, not helped by the lack of weekday nightlife, although it was reported to be jumping on the weekends when Brasileros from the coastal cities are bussed in enjoy themselves. We met again an Irish guy that we bumped into in Canoa Quebrada, who told us the evenings had been dead there as all the girls in bikinis we'd seen were taken away on buses at 4pm, which made us happier about not staying there.


How not to tie a hammock

Most easterly point on the continent

Landy manages to overtake something

Discovering that Caio had gone back to Natal we left Pipa and headed for the most easterly point on the continent, 15kms south of Joao Pessoa. There we met a mad dutch guy who chased us down the road in his truck to give maximum to the trip. He gave us some tips about where to go out in Joao Pessoa so we decided to stay there the night. Whilst finding a cheap pousada on the beachfront a guy on a motorbike stopped to say hi, and told us was much nicer here than the nearby city of Recife, where its dirty and dangerous. This is a common attitude in nearly every country we've been to, people from outside the major cities think this but fortunately its not been true in our experiences.

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