Already half-a-year has (nearly) elapsed since the magrelinha and I landed on the hot tarmac of Natal airport’s runway. I haven’t yet written anything about my experiences there so, with the guilty conscience of a debtor being 6-months in arrears, I am going to make weekly repayments through this series of blog posts – Brasil, belatedly.
Just as the blossom count on fruit trees increases with each passing day of the new season, so holds true for the Christmas decorations that are blooming outside the shopping malls and along the avenues in ever greater quantities the more the Christmas season progresses. Parallel to the commercial activity that it invariably brings is the omnipresent beach life. Even here though, the entrepreneurial spirit is prevalent. Lying down on the sunbeds, our view of the seascape is continuously interrupted by beach vendors. They pull or push carts, they carry coolers strapped across their chest or slung over a shoulder, they hold wooden frames with lines strung from one side to another, huge abacuses but holding row upon row of sunglasses instead of beads; mobile kitchens offering traditional Brazilian food wend their way among the islands of beach tables and chairs, offering anything from fish and meat to corn, freshly cooked once you’ve been enticed into placing an order; others offer boat trips and beach buggy tours, nightlife excursions and on-the-spot massages; sellers of CDs and selfie-sticks, sushi and fruits, cocktails and beachwear; kids too can choose from kites and soapy bubble guns. They are all part of the beachscape just as the whitecaps and waves are part of the seascape. In spite of all this hustle and bustle, it was our environment of choice for a laid back week.
But even a quiet paragraph in our Brazilian diary needs a full stop to bring it to an end. This Sunday we opted for an afternoon at the Parque das Dunas (sand dunes park) to amble along paths shaded in by verdant canopies and read on benches in the leafy embrace of surrounding trees. It’s easy to gauge the size of this park because there is a measured running path around its circumference which crosses the line at 900 metres. Going by that distance, “garden” seems a more appropriate appellation except that, beyond the fencing and only accessible on certain days and accompanied by qualified guides, lies a vast tract of Atlantic dunes and forest. Today, we prefer the sedate option. Just before 4pm, we relocate to the amphitheatre for the weekly free concert. The genre of music might not always be our cup of tea but it still brings the day and week to a satisfying conclusion, with dusk settling on the final notes floating up from the instruments.
The “Brasil, belatedly” series. Click for more:
- Part 1 – Sit, soak, sip
- Part 2 – Revisiting Baia Formosa
- Part 4 – Meia Maratona do Sol
- Part 5 – Measuring the country
- Part 6 – Contrasts cobbled together
- Part 7 – (Un)Splendid isolation – Monte das Gameleiras