Since the last update we have spent some time getting things sorted out for the boat, sight seeing, catching colds and taking things easy!
With security in mind, we managed to get both the broken hatches fixed. All that was needed was a rivet gun and a couple of rivets…….one of the tools that Marcus doesn’t have onboard. Marcos Antonio came to our rescue yet again. Marcos speaks a little English and looks after four of the boats moored in the marina ……. and us! Anything we need, he seems to know someone who can do it. He took our laundry for his wife to do for us when we arrived and since then he we see him most days for a quick chat. He recommended a sail maker (it turns out he is the only sail maker in Recife) who has repaired both the genoa and stay sail for us.
As I said at the top, we have both had colds. Marcus, of course, has had ‘man flu’, whilst I have had a mere sniffle! so we have not ventured very far afield for a week or so.
On Tuesday, we decided to hire a car for a couple of days. Something that is a bit of a luxury for us, but as we walked across the bridge in search of the car hire shop, the stark contrast of the haves and have nots here in Recife, was clearly visible….

Favella on legs between the two major road bridges

Favella on legs between the two major road bridges

Kids playing on their bit of beach

Kids playing on their bit of beach

………..home to the cockle fishermen and women, who wade up to their chests between tides, on the mud banks the other side of the wall of the marina.

And a stone's throw away....Rio Mar Shopping Centre.....the biggest, most opulent mall we've ever been to

And a stone’s throw away….Rio Mar Shopping Centre…..the biggest, most opulent mall we’ve ever been to

The shopping centre is spotless. There are consierges on the door and valet parking available. Unlike somewhere like Bluewater, there is not a speck of litter as there are a a squad of roller skating litter pickers, armed with long handled dust pans and brushes, who swoop on any offending rubbish. Armed security guards glide around on ‘seg ways’ ……very 1984!

Having negotiated the hiring of the car……always a tricky thing as our Portuguese is not up to dealing with more specialised conversations!……. we set off for the interior, but first we had to get out of the madness of Recife’s road system. Progress  was very slow, but with jugglers and people walking up and down the lines of cars selling all manner of things, there is no chance of getting bored.

At every junction there are people selling stuff. Strawberries!

At every junction there are people selling stuff. Strawberries!

We asked the sat nav to take us to Caruaru, about 60 miles west of Recife and all seemed well as we drove along one of the main routes, however, when we pulled off the dual carriageway to get some lunch, it became apparent, as we drove round in circles on cobbled and dirt roads, that Tom Tom had no idea where we were either!

Off piste! The GPS took us here

Off piste! The GPS took us here

We eventually found our way back onto the main road and arrived, more by luck than Tom Tom’s directions, at the ‘Feira do Caruaru’ …..the biggest outdoor market of traditional crafts, clothing and ironmongery in the whole of Brazil! Just time for a quick nose around before it closed and we were off again in search of somewhere to stay for the night.

Again, relying on the sat nav for directions was frustrating and after sending us up several unmade roads and into very dodgy areas, we decided to follow road signs for the ‘Intense Motel’. We pulled up to the gates of a very modern building on the outskirts of a run down area. On checking the tariff board we realised we had arrived at a sex hotel that charged by the hour for the rooms!!!……a quick U turn and a few more minutes driving and we found the Curarua Country Park Hotel. Slightly posher than we had in mind, but once again the exchange rate worked in our favour……double room, evening meal and breakfast all for £40!!

The hotel by daylight.

The hotel by daylight.

 Outside reception, we saw this startled looking lady which started a bit of a theme to the day.

A rather surreal waterless water feature.

A rather surreal waterless water feature.

After a big breakfast, with the most varied buffet I’ve ever had the pleasure to graze at, we set off for the handicraft market in search of a hammock and some leather flip flops. The streets surrounding the market are full of street traders and we tried our first drink of coconut milk. Every coconut opened freshly and with a great deal of skill.

Green Coconut streets vendor

Green Coconut streets vendor

All fingers intact!

All fingers intact!

As well as the handcrafts, there is a a more general market. The striking difference to English markets is that all the stalls selling the same type of produce are arranged next to each other, stall after stall of hats and hammocks or hammers and hack saws. We wandered around happily for the whole of the morning and stopped for a drink at a stall that would give a H&S officer an apoplectic fit!

Market food stall...all open and daylight shining through the tiles

Market food stall…all open and daylight shining through the tiles

In the clothing area of the market and the neighbouring streets of clothing shops, there were more manikins on show than Grace Brothers could shake a stick at! They all seem to have been cast from moulds dating back to the 1950s and looked a little eerie.

Don't look now, I think I'm being followed

Don’t look now, I think I’m being followed

This season. we shall mostly be modelling the Emperor's new clothes.

This season, we shall mostly be modelling the Emperor’s new clothes.

Don't you dare come in here and buy any of our dresses.

Don’t you dare come in here and buy any of our dresses.

Here come the girls! Don't loose your heads......I did, but the selotape is holding nicely.

Here come the girls! Don’t loose your heads……I did, but the selotape is holding nicely.

Auditions for the Sound of Music?

Auditions for the Sound of Music?

Bad hair day?

Bad hair day?

'Just sit still and look natural'

‘Just sit still and look natural’

No..... This is the Bad Hair Day tableau!

No….. Tikhis is the Bad Hair Day tableau!

Completely marketed out, we set off for ‘Alto do Mouro’, billed as the biggest collection of traditional handicraft workshops in the whole of Brazil. After another sat nav melt down, we finally arrived at what resembled a ‘reservation’ complete with a ‘Ponderosa’ style entrance archway. It was practically deserted …obviously not geared up for visitors on a Tuesday…..and it felt like all that was missing was the tumble weed bowling down the street. We stopped for a late lunch at one of the restaurants that showed some life, only to find that the four people sitting at the tables were the staff and the figures at the back weren’t customers, but more life sized figures!

Alto do Mouro...... a late lunch. the dummy theme continues!

Alto do Mouro…… a late lunch and the dummy theme continues!

. We decided to make our way back home and take some less busy roads to try to find a village or small town, as all we have seen of Brasil so far are big towns and cities. We took a turning off and headed for the hills. The road surface was poor and we soon found out why. The hillsides are covered in sugar cane for as far as the eye can see and heavily laden trucks plough up and down this road, taking the cut cane to the refinery. The sides of the road were strewn with cane that had fallen off the lorries.

Sugar cane lorry and trailer

Sugar cane lorry and trailer

After about half an hour, and despite constant vigilance, we hit a pot hole and it was clear there was damage!

Two dented rims and a puncture in the front tyre.

Luckily it wasn’t quite dark and we had room to pull over safely and were able to consult the pictures in the portuguese manual to find out how to remove the wheel and put the spare on.

Ma-RAC-us to the rescue. Not a soul for miles

Ma-RAC-us to the rescue. Not a soul for miles

…….and so our adventure was over and we decided to head back to the boat and write the accident report and get it ‘google translated’ before returning the car in the morning!
Despite a less than perfect ending to the trip, we have met nothing but helpful and kind spirited people who are keen to engage with us despite the language barrier. Between them and us, we have managed to communicate and raise smiles and spirits.

2 Comments

  1. Nick and Maddie Toogood

    Hi

    Congratulations on your Transat and a very interesting blog ( we have become addicted to the many video blogs on YouTube). You probably won’t recognise the name; think back to the headlining course at Port Solent. We may be following in your wake in a few years, but have a lot to organise first, so for now we will have to satisfy ourselves with reading the adventures of others. We are looking forward to your continuing adventures: where now, North or South ?

    Regards

    Nick and Maddie Toogood (Smith)

    • Admin Via Email

      Nick and Maddy
      Yes, I do remember you from the headlining course!
      It’s good to hear from you and delighted to hear you are planning to follow …… don’t leave it too long. Things don’t all have to be done before setting off, after all you’re living on the boat and there’s plenty of time to get jobs done!
      After Recife, we are planning to head north up the coast of Brazil, through French Guyana, Suriname and what was British Guyana, before making for the Caribbean in November. We plan to spend at least one season there.
      Keep following us and hopefully we’ll meet up in the future. If you have any questions, we’re happy to help …. or at least let you know what we did!
      Kind regards
      Marcus and Margie

You must be logged in to leave a reply.