Lençois and surroundings
20 February 2002: Sometime after 5 in the morning the bus suddenly stops, a few moments later, the lights go on, the driver's door opens and he says Lençois. I didn't sleep much during the trip and am already awake. It takes another loud call of "Lençois" before the mass of sleepy kids starts slowly wriggling. Exit is slow.
It's still dark outside and there's a load of people already waiting at the bus station. A lot of them seem to be tour operators and pousada owners touting their services. I take the brochures which are offered to me but we decide to walk to nearby Pousada Alcino which is described by LP as a wonderfully restored colonial mansion. It's unmarked and we have to return to it because we overshoot. Everybody inside's asleep, they tell us that it'll be after 9 when we could come for a room. A pousada next door tells the same story. A lady from the first pousada sees us wandering about and offers to drive us to find a free pousada in her car, how helpful of her!
The first one she stops at has a strong pet smell in the living room, but the room itself is ok and we're happy have a room to shower and sleep a bit. We set the alarm for 9:00. It's really difficult to get up. Have breakfast at the pousada, then visit the 'tourist office' and get a run down of the major attractions to visit. We try some travel agents to book tours (Zentour, Brazil exploring), and a 'tour guide association' office, where there's just one 'guide' present. They offer more or less the same tours everywhere, but don't have any English speaking guides. He offers us a standard afternoon tour and we take it for 30 R$ for the two of us. Two Israelis come in soon after and decide to join us to split the cost.
We have a so-so Spaghetti Carbonara lunch (had some eggshell-bits in it, but Liz Reina playing good background music) at an Italian restaurant. When we meet at 14:30 for the tour, it turns out that a Danish and Brazilian couple would accompany us as well. That's 8 persons splitting the 30 R$ fee and the guide suggests we pay 5 R$ each. What a bargain! We cross the nice stone bridge of Lençois, see the French Vice Consulate (where in days gone by rights to Diamond-mining were allocated), to the church square (minus the church, which was never built), past public showers to the Serrano waterfall complex.
Serrano is a beautiful area, with inlayed small multicoloured stones and lots of holes filled with water where local kids were having a good time jumping into. The we go on to the Salño de areias coloridas (Coloured Sand Rooms), with very imposing rocks. The sand must actually be scratched from the rocks and our guide gave some of us a bit of sand on their hand to compare the different colours. Then on to Cachoeirinha, a nice waterfall. Next we stop at Cachoeira da Primavera where we can jump into the water for a swim and then we're off to a viewpoint over Lenñios, which is just marvelous. Then we walk back to Serrano via Cachoierinha where we pay our guide and split to spend some more time on our own at that wonderful spot. A black toddler's fascinated by my camera and I allow him to film himself.
We reach Lençois late evening and we stop at the corner side bar to have a beer. Our guide was ok but not too good in
that explained something and then wanted to continue on immediately after he'd finished. I like to savour sights and spend enough time at them. So we
decided to book next day's tour somewhere else.
We book tours for the next tour days at Lentur and catch a troupe playing good Capoeira (two guys in white and yellow trousers were excellent!) and then had a chicken/rice dinner. It takes exceedingly long to arrive, we go back to our pousada and I'm dead tired. We decide to try out my camping mosquito net, it actually fits over the bed even though it's on the tight side, no mosquitoes the whole night. I take a huge dose of Codeine cough drops which does the trick.