Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Santo Amaro / Aracaju / Penebo / Maceio

This is more or less a place holder for more information and pictures later.  As I write this we are in Belem, making arrangements for the ferry to cross the Amazon.  We are on our return trip home.  We have been through this drill before, once we turn the corner to head back we are like old stable horses, heading toward the barn.  We have traveled over 18,000 miles and have less 7,000 more to do.  We have been on the road since September 21st, 2012 with a respite of about 2 months to attend to personal matters from February to  April..  

This time would probably be different if we didn't have people at home, or a home to return too.  But we have things to do, and it seems we have reached a point where we have grown tired of "seeing things".  There are few sites we want to see as we return, but in general, we are trying to get home as fast as we can.  For this reason, blog entries may be fewer and less complete.  When I get home, I can come back and edit and add; it will give me something to do.

Santo Amaro
After we left Rinopolis we traveled some of the worst roads of the whole trip.  We choose this route to avoid Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and all the traffic.  On a back road to avoid even this road we ran into Nino riding a CB600.  He stopped us to see what we were riding and where we were going.  He did not speak much English and we spoke no Portuguese.  But somehow we conveyed that we were looking for a hotel.

Santo Amaro was essentially closed for celebration.  But, Nino led us through the streets and talked some of the police into letting us through to a hotel that was the best in the city at the city center.  The hotel staff told us the hotel was full, but again Nino talked them into extending us a room somehow.  We have been very fortunate. 

After getting settled, we invited Nino to dinner.  After food and drink and meeting some of Nino's friends while we sat watching the celebration, there was sudden commotion, someone yelled 'pistola' and Nino and his friends scurried us away to the back of the restaurant for safety.  We are gringo's and very large targets!  Later we heard it was only a fight.  The kind of thing in the states everyone rushes towards instead of away from.

The next day we rode with Nino to Fiera de Santana to met Geraldo.  Geraldo is a professor teaching English literature at one of the colleges.  Geraldo is part of a motorcycle club that Nino belongs too and thinks of Nino as his son.  Geraldo and I have become good friends since meeting and share e-mail on almost a daily basis.  Some day I will try to get back to see Geraldo again.

Geraldo is restoring a 1979 Yamaha RD350.  He has many parts acquired from sources all over the world to rebuild his bike.  He isn't quite sure where he will find the time to finish this lengthy project, since he is still working and has many other interests to pursue as well.  I will post some pictures when I have a little more time.

Aracaju / Penedo / Maceio
We left Santo Amaro and headed for the beach town of Aracaju.  Our plan was to spend a week or so there relaxing and enjoyng the beach, the sun and the culture.  But frankly after a little of all that, it became boring, so we left after five days.  We took some small trips up the coast and stopped at some small communities which was more interesting in one day than everything we did in Aracaju in five.

We started by traveling to Neopolis to catch the ferry across to Penedo.  We were amazed to watch what was probably a 5 ton delivery truck get stuck while trying to board the ferry.  It took two hours of re positioning the ferry, jacking the truck and using wood and stones for leverage to get it unstuck.  This is something I suspect you would never see in the US.  Then it was a wild scramble to get onboard.  Moto's last because they had to get the cars on first.  We were barely able to get a spot on the ferry even though we were first in line, because all the locals knew the process and were scrambling before we got a clue.

Penedo is what you think of when you think of small South American towns on the coastline.  Lots of church steeples, beach side bars and restaurants.  We were there on one day but we had to keep moving on.

North of Maceio we then stopped at a pousada called Arco-Iris.  If you are passing by way of Maceio, I would highly recommend this place.  Clean, not far from the beach, a pool and good food.  

The last day we made it to Jaoa Passoa.  This is where Chuck's friend Marc lives.  We spent a few days there getting our bikes serviced.  Chuck's wife Karen came down and I returned to Houston.  During the time I was in Houston, there was a death in Karen's family.  Chuck and Karen returned home and I changed my return flight to Brazil to be as late as possible and still get the bikes out on time.  Vehicles are only allowed to stay in Brazil for 90 days maximum.  

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