Man, not knowing Portuguese is such a bummer but after French, Chinese, Moroccan Arabic and Spanish, I really can´t justify forcing my brain to assimilate any more languages. So many people assume I am Brazilian which only makes it worse. I´ve picked up the basic pleasantries but even those have little differences as I move from region to region. I arrived at the bus station in Pipa a little too early but had a great conversation with a porteno. It makes me realize how well I was doing in Spanish South America when the whole time I thought I was just getting by. Bob and Dee arrived about 10 minutes before the bus came looking a bit weary after their morning struggle to cook eggs at their campsite. No worries. We had splurged the night before on a really delicious meal at a nice restaurant in town and even shared a banana split before turning in.
We split up in Natal as they were heading straight to a little fishing village while I still had my heart set on trying to make it over to a little island off the coast of Natal that Nilton wholeheartedly recommended. Problem is that the island is dead expensive but I figured I´d put some effort in to see if I could find a good deal to go for a few days. I went to a few travel agents once I´d checked in a Tia Helena´s hostel and even scoured the Internet but no luck. I returned to the hostel after stopping by a giant supermarket for some fruit and beer, just what a traveling girl needs. I walked in the door to find 5 other travelers and the Canadian girl, who was sharing my room, hanging out. They were all really nice and it was lovely to chat with some other travelers. Hanging out with Bob and Dee is bad for me because we all get along so well I don´t even try to meet other people.
Natal is super hot during the day. Some of the guys from the hostel were heading to the beach in the late afternoon but I couldn´t wait that long to do something. Rachel and I decided to head to a mall near Punto Negro Beach to enjoy some air-conditioning. They love there malls here, almost all the buses that passed us at the bus stop were going to one or two of the 3 big malls in town. We made it to Pria Shopping which while a bit out of the way, has a movie theatre. It wasn´t very big compared to American malls but it was nice to look around at all the shops. We got manicures and pedicures, took in a 5pm showing of Brokeback Mountain and then enjoyed dinner at a kilogram place that specialized in shrimp. Yum. For dessert we had fruit salads smothered in chocolate creme. A surprisingly good day. Back at the hostel, Tia Helena was rounding everyone up for a card game called Meshi Meshi. She´s a little crazy, OK, a lot crazy but really loud and funny. She reminds me a bit of the Mike Myers´ SNL Linda Richman character.
I´ve spent my last day doing pretty much nothing except hanging out and talking to the guys in my hostel. I went to the bus station to drop off my bag and pick up a ticket for a night bus and started chatting with 2 Israeli travelers on the way back. I went with them to check out their hostel which is much nicer than mine but there was no one else staying there. Afterward I took them to meet Tia Helena and hook them up with the guys in my hostel so they could all go out together that night. It reminded me that sometimes you forget that traveling isn´t just about getting to a place and seeing something great. Sometimes its about just taking to time to hang out and enjoy the atmosphere of a place. I´m glad I stopped here.