Day 318 – Waiting for a train

Day 318 – 31st May 2011

Jacaré, Paraiba, Brazil –

Joao Pessoa Basilica

I went ashore around 11am ready to go to Joao Pessoa.  I grabbed a shower and walked to the train station.  There was a guard in every carriage.  They carried long truncheons, walkie talkies, a pair of handcuffs and wore stab vests.  I wasn’t sure if I felt safer because they were there or scared because they were necessary.  Anyway, this time the Perspex wasn’t so obscured so I could look out at the surroundings.

I made my way up the hill to the historical centre and made my way around the historical buildings and churches.  There was a particularly steep hill to the Basilica so I refuelled with a coke at a scruffy little joint called Bar de Melo and used the toilet.  It was a very weird toilet, and believe me, I’ve been in some strange toilets – long drops, portaloos, dry closets, behind a bush and squat toilets.  This looked to all intents and purposes like a white toilet bowl with a cistern above it.  There was neither toilet paper nor the bucket for the toilet paper either.  This was most unusual.  Well the strong smell of urine almost knocked me for six, but I needed to go, so got on with it.  As there was nowhere to put any paper, (I always carry my own) I thought it best not to use any, so a couple of shakes of my bum and shorts up again.  I made to flush the loo but realised why the smell was so bad – there was no flush.  Thankfully I didn’t have to do a number two, or I’d still be there now.

The Basilica was closed, however it opened shortly after I’d photographed it and I popped in for a look around. A man was singing some hymn with the only lyrics I could understand being ‘Ave Maria,’ though not to the tune I know.  I waited till the singing ended, and left ready for more cultural experiences and visits around the lovely old buildings.

If you’re wondering why I seemed to have quit coffee and cake, I haven’t, it’s just there is no café culture here.  So as always, When in Rome…

Me and the dancing girls

I arrived at the train station around 3ish but the next train didn’t leave until 16.10.  I knew about that train and just hoped to get an earlier one as I was extremely hot and tired.  Spotting a group of kiosks across the road I made my way over to sit in the shade and enjoy a cold beer.  One girl was scrubbing pots and pans till you could see your face in them, singing and dancing to the music as happy as Larry.  Another girl was busy drying an enormous basin of cutlery, she too was singing and shaking her hips to the music.  I smiled at them and nodded in approval.  I thought to myself, “Hmmm, that’s the way to do dishes.  Maybe I should give it a go!”  So over I went and started to help dry the cutlery following the lead for the dance moves.  By this stage, one of the girls was doing some pretty hot moves with her hips to a strong samba beat and the people at a nearby kiosk started to join in.  We were all dancing and laughing and I have to recommend it as the best way to spend an hour waiting for a train.  I got my beer for free and skipped back to the train for the ride to Jacaré.

Back at the marina, the sunset was beginning and on this night, I returned to the boat to make dinner for Faraway John as he’d been sweating and slaving in the Sail Loft all day and was starving.  It didn’t feel right to stay for a caiparainha or two.

Menu today

Breakfast – Tea and muesli

Lunch – Fried egg on toast

Dinner – Tinned beef stew with potatoes.

Snacks – A beer, 2 cokes, a donut, a small piece of tort do frango (it was not very nice)

Joao Pessoa Basilica

Meraid Griffin

Freelance writer, adventurer and public speaker. Descibed in the Sunday Times as a 'modest explorer'. Nothing modest about me.

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