We have been renting (or chipping in) on a beach house in Enseada dos Corais since January and it is about to come to an end. We had a great New Years there with lots of friends that involved an 8 hour game of Risk, whiskey, other card games, churrasco, and of course, beach. It was a great way to spend another birthday and my friend made me a cake. It had been a long time since someone made me a birthday cake.

It takes anywhere from an hour and a half to two and a half hours to get there depending on how quickly you catch the three buses. Sometimes it is like a perfectly timed dance where you get off one bus as the other pulls up, and sometimes you are left standing in a bus station smelling of piss for what is always too long. Recently they have added a direct bus on the weekends that runs once an hour from the center of Recife--great when the dance works! We have been going there on and off since January, but unfortunately we have trouble getting out of town due to a) dogs b) work c) dogs. We have a few lovely house sitters, but it is difficult to ask the same people every weekend to go out of their way to take care of some old dogs, even if money is involved.
Going to the beach is a very seasonal thing here even though it is a tropical climate and year round beach going is certainly possible. After Semana Santa, it is "going to the interior" time, namely Gravata, until about November when beach time starts up again. I think it gives you a sense of seasons which otherwise is totally lacking in this climate.

Completely out of season, we went to the beach yesterday. It was amazing to see no one except fishermen and surfers. The ocean is a little more wild and the waves get better, so "winter" is the time when surfers get all of the fun. "Winter" is also the rainy season, another solid reason why the beach is not the most popular activity. You are always running a risk of getting rained on. Yesterday was a mix of sun, rain and clouds, but there was a special feeling in the open expanse of the beach--privacy and real life. The life of the place without tourists. We love the area from Calhetas to Itapoama because it is a real place. Everyone here talks about Porto das Galinhas as the best beach around, but I don't like it. It is touristy and the place to be, all the more reason for not going.

The middle and upper class, or as they call them here, the A and B classes, buy and sell and move up and down the coast with the latest fashion. Many places have been the "it" place in the past and have fallen out of favor. Porto das Galinhas is the it place, but I think its time has come. (The name comes from its past as a secret slave port after slavery was made illegal. The slaves were called "chickens" by the slavers to disguise the real nature of their ship's cargo).

Calhetas was my favorite beach for a long time--a small little cove with a few beach barracas and deep, clear, calm water, but it has been replaced with Xareu. Xareu is a mixture of virgin beach and a few beach barracas where you can get cold beer, wonderful caldinho, fried fish and macaxeira. My favorite meal. There is something about eating fish and macaxeira on the beach while sipping beer or coconut water that the completes perfection.
These are the things that I will miss.

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