We have a short tour this morning. We were supposed to be here until 3PM but the Captain has announced that we are sailing at 1PM so we will cross the Amazon sandbar at high tide and be on time to pick up our pilots, two of them, for the Amazon two days from now.
Our tour is to meet shortly after 8AM, so we order breakfast in and it arrives about ten minutes to seven. We get to the theater early and get tickets for bus #1 and are called to go ashore almost immediately. On the bus, destination services has taped our reserved seat notice to the window beside the seat so that it cannot be easily removed or destroyed like the couple did the other day.
Once loaded, we head out for Cumboco Beach, north of the city. We are continually surprised by the size of the cities we are visiting along the Brazilian coast. Neither of us expected to visit one city, much less several, with several million residents. In order to be called a city in Brazil, the area must contain at lest 2,500,000 inhabitants. Salvador de Bahia and Fortaleza meet this criteria and, we are told, Manaus, up the Amazon, does also.
During our 45 minute drive to the beach area, we see a very modern city with nice high rise apartments and office buildings,
Even though it is Monday morning, it is also Carnival time (a three day holiday) so the streets are quiet and very few businesses are open. Our guide points out that Carnival goers partied until three or four this morning and will sleep in until early afternoon. Then they will do it all over again!
As we approach Cumboco, we begin to see the sand dunes for which the area is famous. These sands are not native to the region but are made of sand blown across the Atlantic from the Sahara Desert over the ages. The bus stops at the Sunset Beach Club where we are given a chance to go to the restroom before boarding our dune buggies.
The buggies began to gather to pick us up. Each one holds a driver, a passenger in the front seat and two passengers sitting in the back...holding on to the roll bar for dear life. As usual, there are those in a crowd who feel they must press forward and be the first in line and in a car. We let them go. There are cars enough for all and Carolyn needs to sit in the front seat of a car. After the initial pushing and shoving, we split ourselves between two cars. Carolyn gets her front seat and Dick joins and English couple who have staked out the back seats in another car. Dick climbs in front and all the cars take off, mostly single file, for the 45 minute ride.
Both of our cars are driven aggressively but we do not feel in danger unless one of the cars rolls.
From here we cross a paved road and drop down onto the beach where we tear along, taking photos and waving at the people on the beach.
Here we wish we had more Brazilian currency as we would have purchased lots of her work. Carolyn finally settles on ten meters of edging lace about an inch wide. Cost? Seventy reals or about $47. Oh, for several hundred more reals!
From here, we drive to a photo stop at "English Bridge." This is a partially restored pier where the original harbor lay.