Joao Pessoa

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Le Petit Paradis Pousada in Joao Pessoa

Family run Guest House in a quiet residential street and close to local amenities

The Arrival in Joao Pessoa

April 27th, 2009

Chevrolet Blazer

Chevrolet Blazer

We didn’t drive straight into João Pessoa, rather we stopped just on the outskirts at a little roadside restaurant serving fish, beans and rice. The cars thermometer read 34c but it felt hotter. Have you ever opened the oven door to check the roast and felt a blast of heat on your face? Well that’s what it was like when we alighted from our air conditioned car. I’m from Minas, you know and of late that sort of heat has been uncommon. Infact, it took me about three days to acclimatize to the heat which was more or less the same day and night. That said, there was always this gentle constant cool breeze to offset the effects of the heat. Fed and watered, we headed for the city

It was a Sunday, but even so the roads were eerily deserted. We easily managed to find Epitacio Pessoa, the main road to the beach area and to our pousada. The roads reminded me of English roads.

They were tarmaced and level with lane markings. There were traffic lights and speed cameras, even zebra crossings. I just wasn’t used to it all. All the roads we saw had road signs, we would get to the pousada using a map which was just as well as there was no one around to ask. Arriving at the beach area of Tambau and Cabo Branco I was amazed to find how deserted it was even for early afternoon. The beautiful beaches stretched off North and South into the distance. We turned South off the main road and followed the beach front road stunned by the turquoise waters of Cabo Branco. Plenty of free car parking spaces, surely that wont last; and virtually empty beaches. After such a long time in the car the children were going crazy to play on the sand but we had to find the pousada.

We were so disappointed when we did. Real life was so different to the images we had seen on the website. It was really unsuitable for children and hadn’t had any money spent on it for some time. We resolved to stay there for an evening and look around for another hotel the next day.

Some years ago we booked up at a place called the fields of dreams for Christmas. It too, had looked beautiful but we realised when we got there that it had obviously looked beautiful when it had opened and then the owners had failed to maintain it and sucked it dry of any life. We left that too for a better hotel.

Tambau Beach

Tambau Beach

After unpacking we spent the rest of the afternoon on Tambau beach really just getting the journey out of our system. Its so relaxing, warm and crowd free. Its hard to believe that half a million people live in this city. It was in a beach front hotel that we found a flat for half the price of our pousada with benefits.

We stayed in João Pessoa for over three weeks. The idea was would we like to live there. Certainly the climate was very agreeable. During our stay the temperature was around 30c during the day and 27c at night. It did rain on a few occaisions but it dried up very quickly.

There are plenty of cafes and restaurants varying in quality and nationality. We ate Japanese, Chinese, Italian and typical North East cuisine. I could have eaten French or Indian food but somehow never got round to it. Seafood was everywhere, prawns by the bucket (which was pretty useful the next day if the prawns were off) and fish I’de never heard of but had a great time trying out.

How do we find out what’s going on where? Go to the Tourist Information Centre. Contrary to John’s experience, we found everyone very helpful, speaking good clear English and absolutely masses of information on everything that was going on in the area and the state. The map they gave us was also very good indicating all the major tourist attractions. I can’t remember any of them not being sign posted. Which was useful as my wife is to map reading like Attila the Hun was to flower arranging.

We visited most of the major beaches and attractions and thoroughly enjoyed all of them.

João Pessoa deserves its reputation as the second most tree lined place in the world next to Paris. The trees add more than class and shade. They contribute to the small town feel of the place like you are always in the suburbs. There are several very grand praças including one with an enormous round lake called Lagoa.

to be continued.

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