Caipirinha Capers at Alter do Chão

This morning, the Braemar was due to drop anchor at another tiny village, this time Alter do Chão. Having looked at some photos of this place, it seemed as though there was a lovely sandy beach, so it had one redeeming feature at least. 🙂

We were due to set sail early afternoon, so we decided to go ashore fairly early so we would be back by lunchtime.  We put our swimsuits on underneath our clothes to save having to change; we could do that later once we’d returned to the ship.  We got the liberty boat across to the small landing stage and took a look around.

For a start, Alter do Chão, although small, looked a lot more civilised than Boca da Valéria.  There was a small sandy beach with a few trees, from which hammocks hung.  The Brazilians like to come here on a Sunday themselves, and quite a few people were swimming, or walking along the shoreline.  We stripped down to our swimming things and went into the warm waters of the Amazon.  It was lovely!  I swam out until I couldn’t reach the bottom any more.  You didn’t get the waves that you do in the sea, but I noticed that the current was pulling me downstream a little, so I had to be careful.  Trevor also went in for a swim, and we both spent a few minutes enjoying the scenery and the refreshing feeling of being in the water.

The beach at Alter do Chão

Afterwards we towelled off and laid down on our towels to allow the sun to finish drying us off.  In the 30 degree heat it didn’t take long.  Then we put our clothes back on over the top of our cossies and decided to explore further.  We could now go home and say we’d swam in the Amazon!  😀

We passed some wooden buildings selling postcards, stamps and souvenirs, as well as hand-made local jewellery.  There were also primitive shops selling holiday “tat” such as t-shirts with “Alter do Chão” on them, or pictures of toucans or piranhas.  There were also wooden masks, blowpipes and maracas, and other such stuff.  We bought a couple of postcards and stamps, and I bought a bracelet made out of seeds, wood and alligator teeth – certainly something different!

We then arrived at a sort of square which had stalls around its edges, and benches to sit on.  There were a couple of refreshment stalls, one of them selling the inevitable caipirinhas.  At one end of the square, a Brazilian music duet had set themselves up; one playing panpipes and one beating out a catchy rhythm on his bongo drums.  It sounded really good and added to the pleasant atmosphere.

I sat on one of the benches to write out the postcards, while Trevor went to get a couple of drinks.  He came back with a Brahma beer for himself and a caipirinha for me.  He said “you wouldn’t believe the amount of cachaça that’s in there – it’s a strong one”.  I said “what do you mean?”.  Trevor replied “there must be six units of alcohol in that one drink alone.”  Blimey!  😀

It certainly was very strong, but also fruity and refreshing.  One thing about the caipirinhas is that it is difficult to stop just at one.  And you can totally underestimate their potency, as I was about to find out, ha ha.  😀

I wrote out the postcards, then listened to the infectious beat of the music as I finished off my drink.  As this was the last port of call in Brazil before heading back north of the Equator, I said to Trevor that we may as well spend the rest of our Brazilian currency, so he went and got us another caipirinha each!  Mine was strong, but not as strong as the first one I had.

Other people nearby were also drinking caipirinhas and cocktails, and it was funny, because some of them got up and started dancing in the square to the music!  It just looked so comical watching half a dozen or so middle-aged to elderly men and women strutting their stuff. Obviously the drink was taking effect with them too.  🙂

I finished my second caipirinha and decided, “oh, what the hell” and went for a third one!  😉  I could definitely feel the drinks starting to take effect.  In fact, the music got to me and I got up and danced as well.  A lady nearby asked where I’d learnt all the “moves” and I said it was because I’d done Zumba and belly-dancing in the past. 

Time was getting on by now and we had to be back on the ship by 1.15pm so I finished my drink and we went along to join the queue for the liberty boat, part of which was on the beach (the queue I mean, not the boat!).  There were another couple of guys there; one beating a rhythm on his drum and one rattling his maracas.  Well there was me, completely sackless, and I just couldn’t resist – breaking out of the queue I kicked off my shoes and started dancing on the beach, shaking my booty and shimmying my hips, much to the amusement of the other passengers in the queue.  The guy gave me his maracas so I could really get into the spirit of the thing!  🙂 🙂

I can’t really remember much about the liberty boat ride back to the Braemar.  We got back on board and went to our cabin, where I crashed out on the bed and slept for three straight hours!  Trevor woke me with a cup of coffee which I had before making an attempt to get ready for dinner.  I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it!

Anyway… I did manage to shower, do my hair, get my face on and get dressed in time for dinner at 6.15pm.  Tonight was a “Western Night” and Trevor wore jeans and a checked shirt, but as I didn’t have any suitable clothes I just wore a floral print dress.  For once we didn’t have any wine with our meal, or any liqueurs afterwards, lol 😀

We’re not really into country music/western stuff, so we chose to see the Braemar Crew Cabaret in the Coral Club, instead of the “Hoedown Showdown” the show company were putting on.  So we went along to the quieter and smaller Coral Club for the first time; there were six singers, all of them part of the crew, who we normally see in their ‘day jobs’ of  bar staff, croupier, shop assistant etc.  Some of them were really talented and it was a good show.

We then finished off the evening by going along to the Skylark Club, where Hubert Greaves on his steel drums was playing a few cheerful tunes before the quiz, which was a Western Theme tonight.  Not really our forté, so we didn’t win.

Then off to bed again.  We now had three days at sea to look forward to, so it was “bye bye” Brazil.  🙂

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