Sunday, March 30, 2008


From Salvador, we headed further north to one of the hippest beach towns on Brazil's coast - Pipa. It came with the highest of recommendations from fellow travellers and did not in the least disappoint.
Within minutes of arriving in Pipa we found a place to stay only one block back from the beach. Here we met the only other person staying in our hostel, an Israeli called Oren.
We had been told that it was possible to swim with dolphins at a nearby beach called Golfino (which by the way means dolphin in Portuguese, so that's a pretty good start). We asked our new Israeli friend about the veracity of this claim and said he had never head of such a thing. So we set out together on a mission to discover the truth.
To get to Golfino, we had to walk across Centro beach. This was no problem until such time as the beach came to an abrupt end with large stretch of rocks. Under any other circumstance we would have cut our losses and turned back but Oren, who had served as paratrooper in the Israeli army, pressed on without another thought. We didn't want to be shown up as lightweights so we followed him across.
And it was a good thing too because when we finally made it to the other side, we jumped in the ocean and within moments we were surrounded by wild dolphins! As it happened, that day was our second wedding anniversary and although we now agreed it was easy to swim with the dolphins here, we still felt pretty special.
No prizes for guessing which one is Oren but if you aren't sure, why are you reading our blog? By the way, he did eventually show us up when we went out for an all you can eat asado (BBQ). After many, MANY rounds of beef and lamb, Jez finally gave up the ghost. You may recall that Jez has a pretty good reputation for making the most of all-you-can-eat situations. Anyway, long after he had unbuttoned his pants to make room for his newly expanded stomach, Oren was still ordering more rounds of meat. Where he actually put it is anyone's guess!
Pipa has some outstanding surf beaches...which is great if you are a surfer. For those of us that aren't though, surf lessons are offered. On a whim, we decided to take one lesson. To be completely honest, we were utterly hopeless. The first sign that we were not cut out for it was when we did the land exercises. After many failed attempts to copy our instructors, they decided it would be far easier to do it in the water. We had our doubts about the relative ease of getting up on the board in the water compared to on land.
Our doubts became a big fat reality when we got smashed by waves, swallowed copious amounts of water, bruised parts of our body's we were previously unaware of and were laughed off the stage by 10 year old surf pros. Suffice to say when we woke up the following morning contemplating whether we should return for our second lesson, we pressed the snooze button instead.
In another fascinating discovery, TZ found out that one of her ears which had been pierced as a child was still open after a decade of not wearing earrings. The earring in the photo was supposedly from a rare bird in the Amazon and was priced accordingly. Since we were going to the Amazon anyway, we didn't buy this lovely blue feather. When we did make it to the Amazon, we found a far more impressive and cheaper collection of feathers. Now TZ has three. 
Almost every day we walked past a place near the beach that piqued our interest. We didn't know what it actually was though. There was jewellery and art on display but when we looked inside, there was a bar. When the owner saw us he asked if we played any instruments and whether we wanted to return for a jam session. What was this place? We had to know.
So on our last night we returned. We found out that the owner had come from Uruguay with his wife to enjoy the spoils of the hippie lifestyle Pipa had to offer. They simply built a house here which they lived in long enough until it became legally theirs. He painted while his wife made jewellery. Random people were invited over to jam and spectators could come and buy drinks. It was here that we discovered the very essence of Pipa, the reason why so many people are attracted to it and why no one wants to leave. 
Tearing ourselves away from Pipa was indeed difficult but our next stop would be one of the most unforgettable places we had been to thus far - the spectacular world class diving island called Fernando de Noronha.

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