Finalmente, uma conversa limpa com um brasileiro
Trip Start Oct 01, 2009
74Trip End Nov 30, 2010
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Where I stayed
Albergue da Costa
He called over to me, and for the first time the conversation started a little differently... he actually asked me whether I speak Portuguese.
Anyway, long story short(ish): we talked for a little while and it turned out he was married to a English girl and they have an 8 month old son. He lives in a city I am planning to visit and said I would be welcome to go and stay at their place, and he could show me around etc etc. So I took his number and figured I could speak to his wife in English on the phone as he spoke no English, and my Portuguese still isn't up to phonecall standard. After a little while I noticed it was almost time for me to go to my bus, so I made my excuses... it turned out that of all the buses leaving that night, and of all the seats available on those buses, he was in the seat next to me on my bus! So we continued talking and then the inevitable happened... he starts with the smooth Brazilian moves.
In the morning I arrived at my destination in Natal after having to sleep with one eye open on the bus. I had some breakfast in the bus station then headed out to Praia Ponta Negra, which is the nice safe area of Natal. I took the bus and had to ask pretty much every passenger if they knew where my intended hostel was so that I knew when to get off. Eventually I found someone who could explain to the conductor where to tell me to get off. When I arrived at the hostel I had a couple of hours' sleep and then went for a wander around town. That evening I had a bit of a dodgy stomach, so I went to bed early. I felt fine the next day though so I went on a buggy tour heading North up the coast from Natal.
On my buggy tour I was with a guide/driver who did not speak English, a Brazilian couple from Rio, and a Brazilian guy who was on his own (but had a wife... not that it makes a difference). The guy that was in the couple spoke a little English, so he was able to help out when I didn't quite understand things, which was helpful. It is good to spend a whole day being forced to try to speak Portuguese though.
The dunes are beautiful, and there are fresh water rivers that run from the dunes into the sea which are a great place to go swimming. There was a really big lake here, with a seated zip slide from the top of one of the dunes. Even this did not provide the adrenaline fix that I was seeking, as it went really slow and was just a coasty scenic ride! The whole coast line near Natal is absolutely gorgeous, with each beach as beautiful as the last. I think that this continues south too, which means that I will have a very good couple of weeks ahead of me!
I have been out to a samba night in Ponta Negra which was good fun. They have various different entry prices depending on how touristy you appear. After a bit of negotiation, and drinking beer in the streets to delay our entrance until later, we managed to get in for free! Maybe I am starting to look Brazilian afterall?! This night brought about the advance of a creepy silver fox who works as a buggy driver and I have seen around our hostel. It is unbelievable to think that a man in his 50s who is really not that attractive considers it a possibility that I might be interested. I think the philosophy here is 'it's always worth a try'.
The hostel here is really nice, and definitely somewhere I would recommend people to stay. I only planned to stay a couple of nights, but ended up being here for almost a week. On my second night here they had a big BBQ for the 30th birthday of a girl who used to work here. A typical crazy Brazilain party was had, which was very interesting to be part of. They sing three different songs in a row to wish someone happy birthday, but I did not understand a word of any of them except 'feliz'! I spent a lot of the night talking with a Brazilian guy who is also staying here. He was teaching me some good phrases to say to the sleazy guys to get rid of them. These are definitely the most useful things to know in Portuguese. It was so nice to finally have a clean conversation with Brazilian guy. Although I think the main reason for this was because he's gay! One day I'll find a straight guy who just wants to talk...