The fifth day in Brazil arrived and we bid adieu to a rain-drenched city, flooding before our very eyes as we gathered our belongings and fled to the airport. At least we left at a good time (or arrived at a terrible one… it’s a cup half full/empty sort of situation). We were heading to Petrolina, another city in Pernambuco, toward the West, all feeling truly wrecked from the flu that had stricken us, some more than others. I had yet to feel the worst of it, but my naive self thought I could fight it off with positive thinking (and lemon meringue pie). Little did I know I was the next unwilling victim…
Some SERIOUSLY delicious Brazilian juice! As a budget traveller, these will be your new best friend.
Lemon meringue pie.
HUGE carnival puppets.
We ascended and descended pretty much instantaneously, the flight taking a little less than an hour, which was good news for our weakened bodies. The dry heat of Petrolina came as a shock from the stormy weather of Recife, and we Uber-ed to Pedro’s parent’s home (hence our journey there) were we slept pretty much the rest of the day. The story from here on out gets a bit hazy, my memories being mainly composed of trips to the pharmacy and to the hospital… We got so incredibly sick it became difficult to even be awake and watching tv (Rupaul’s drag race was the only comfort in my life at this point). The fact I was sick on holiday was making me more sad and then even more sick and I was in this downward spiral of misery for three days or so. Resting became painful and then non-existent at one point as the illness reached my belly, keeping me awake at night and not even being able to eat for three days. It was a TOTAL nightmare.
Saying that, we HAD to do something, anything, even visiting the local shopping mall became an adventure. The rain seemed to follow us even to Petrolina, an extremely dry city that never sees the rain (not joking), so outdoor activities became a struggle as well. All in all, something was telling us to just stay indoors and never leave the bed. Alas, we went out when we could. One morning we visited a tiny fish market just up the road from where we were staying and after had a stroll around one main square which had a magnificent white church at its centre. By this point, all the walking was far too nausea-inducing, and after a ransack at a local pharmacy I dove back into bed.
Funny dentist exterior.
That same evening, feeling a bit worse for wear but able now to walk around without feeling awful, we visited one local park which was actually amazing. It was filled with runners, dancers, young people meeting and anyone else you could imagine. Couples danced forró under covered areas in the corners of the park whilst children played tag amongst the grass and palm trees. A large playground with a sandy floor was at the centre, available to entertain people from all ages. Night fell as we were there, and so did buckets of rain, of course. We waited under the large covered spaces, people-watching and admiring the dance lessons – some low-key entertainment during the bad weather, which wasn’t all that bad. I really was trying to look on the bright side of things at this point.
The following morning we went to one main area, filled with small fruit markets and vendors and rows of stores rammed with random household items, being almost auctioned off by the shop assistants yelling down microphones connected to giant speakers on the sidewalk, booming out onto the street (which had several others doing the exact same thing). In other words, it was total madness. I even had to visit the dentist at one point (by any stroke of luck I also suddenly had an infected wisdom tooth) and along this row of crazy stores were dentists, fighting for pedestrians to visit and use their low-cost services (not joking, I had a free dental consultation instantly).
Flip-flops on the motorcycle.
On another day, we ventured out to go on a wee boat trip. In Petrolina was the famous São Francisco river (one of the most important rivers in Brazil) and the boat that crossed it actually took you to the state of Bahia. For pennies, we hopped on and enjoyed the ride, there and back, while the weather let up for a little while. Afterwards, we headed to a museum in the area, Museu de Sertão, where there were various historic and contemporary objects from the area’s history – basically a super interesting tiny museum packed with nuggets of Brazilian history and interesting items.
The view of Petrolina from Bahia.
Museu de Sertão…
Like I said, the story in Petrolina is super hazy. I really had no idea what day or month or even year it was during those few days – I could barely function at all. I was more frustrated that we couldn’t discover Petrolina, or even try the food for that matter. FOOD IS EVERYTHING. *cry* We were all so bedridden, even making a trip to the hospital 4 hours before our flight to Salvador (in the state of Bahia). What a time to not have bought decent health insurance. Thus, we had to make an emergency change of plans, having intended to drive this tropical paradise in Bahia called Itacaré the same day as our flight. But oh boy I could barely make a short car journey to the airport without feeling like I was going to puke my guts out. Members of staff at the airport looked severely concerned R.E. the very white person running to and from the bathroom (and by white I mean even more so from the sickness, on top of my naturally pasty complexion). Pushing to get us onto next flight, we resisted with all our might (and really there was not much left by this point) but it would have been far more ridiculous to stay sick in the airport…
Look out for my next posts on Itacaré – a tropical paradise in Bahia!