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 written anything yet 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.
Sandra’s parents’ house is typical of those you can find in residential areas around Natal. What strikes me most is the complete absence of glass apertures. Doors and louvred windows are made of wood and, for added safety, metal grille gates and doors, all securely padlocked. Unlike many other homes, there aren’t any security cameras or walls crowned with razor wire and/or electric fences.
Interestingly for a city that lives in a perpetual summer (at least by our seasonal experiences), this one-storey house has a sloping roof. Just as there is no upstairs, neither is there a cellar. Also missing is hot water in the faucets but with a steady outside temperature of 25-30°C, this is an item which needn’t be factored in when planning and building.
While the main avenues are tarmacked, many secondary roads or residential streets are paved with a type of rectangular cobblestone. Charming they may seem but it’s certainly no delight driving over them for any length of time. Back in Malta we complain that our roads make a good testing ground for a car’s suspension. Here I cannot but admire how a car can survive this daily onslaught on its mechanical and electronic parts without even bursting a tyre. This short video clip will give some idea of what I mean.
I have yet to see someone lay a towel on the sand and lie down on it. That’s something that isn’t done here; you’ll be looked down upon also if you brought your own food and drinks. Instead, you fork out between 10 and 20 Reais (€2.50-€5) and in exchange you get a table, 4 chairs, 2 sunbeds plus a sturdy and ample umbrella, all of which you can use for the day. Quite frankly, I have never found reading on the beach to be a comfortable affair for back or buttocks so I’m quite happy with the table and chair arrangement.
The “Brasil, belatedly” series. Click for more:
- Part 1 – Sit, soak, sip
- Part 2 – Revisiting Baia Formosa
- Part 3 – A musical full stop
- Part 4 – Meia Maratona do Sol
- Part 5 – Measuring the country
- Part 7 – (Un)Splendid isolation – Monte das Gameleiras