Missed the Giant Cashew Tree, Got the Chocolate Pizza

February 22, 2015

Natal, Brazil

Poor Natal.  This is the fifth port day in a row and we were low on energy.  Natal has huge sand dunes.  Some took dune buggy trips.  We watched the dunes as we sailed by on the ship.  Natal has a star shaped fort built by the Dutch. (Natal was New Amsterdam before New York was.)  Some went to visit the museum in the fort.  We saw the fort from the ship.  Natal boasts the world’s largest cashew tree.  Some went to see it.  You can’t see that from the ship so we didn’t.

We went to the beach.  Our timing was perfect.  We’ve started taking anti-malarial meds in preparation for our Amazon adventure.  The meds make you sensitive to sunburn.  It was overcast.  We took a bus to a surfer beach.  We got off, walked around an artisans’ market but didn’t buy anything, sat and had a coke while watching the surfers, walked around a headland, to another beach.  It had red flags telling us it was too rough to swim so we went back to the original beach.

It is a sand beach with rock outcroppings that look volcanic.  There are tide pools in the rock with little crabs.  We watched them for a while and headed for the surf.  It was a bit rough but fun, knocking us over at times but giving me a couple of good body surf rides.  The kids next to us were intentionally letting the surf knock them around.  Down the beach the surfers were doing boogie board and on the beach a bunch older men were kicking and heading a soccer ball around a circle.  We enjoyed the rough surf.  When we got out of the water we found someone had planted a red flag on our beach while we were in.

At the café with the beach view we had one of the strangest lunches, chocolate pizza.  It was pizza crust with salty mozzarella cheese and chocolate sauce where the tomato sauce should be.  Probably it was really Nutella, but it was good!  We were helped by an English speaking woman (do they really mean chocolate pizza?) who didn’t work at the restaurant but was helping the waitress translate for the gringos while her husband was doing a job interview at the same restaurant.  (She had gone to school in Virginia.)  I hope he gets the job, but perhaps she should get the job.

We watched the tide turn then took the bus back to the ship.  We were on deck for sail out, past the dunes, past the star fort, the skyline of Natal astern as the sun set behind it.  No giant cashew tree.

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