“Que bom que vai voltar !” my Airbnb host wrote me when I booked the same place again.
Ah, ah, yes, I’m going back to Aracaju, the place I made fun of last year because I just didn’t get it. I get it now. Yes, it’s a bit rough around the edges but the beach is amazing and it’s quite relaxing if you book a studio in the one modern building in Coroa do Meio, meters from Praia de Atalaia. Just avoid ground-level Airbnbs from hell—trust me, Aracaju is… swampy.
I’m going back to Aracaju for many reasons, the main one being the fact I no longer have a return ticket or a flight back to Canada. Or a deadline, for that matter, other than “wake me up when borders open long enough for me to get in.”
Salvador is more or less the end of the road in this part of Brazil. The next city south is far, and then they get further and further apart until the south and Rio de Janeiro. It could be a fun adventure but my life is currently adventurous enough, thank you very much.
So I’m going back north. Been there, done that, will very much enjoy it.
I toyed with the idea of flying to Recife but tickets were expensive, same for Natal.
“Fine, I’ll bus it,” I told Feng after we both concluded that there would be no cheap last-minute plane ticket. I pretended I was annoyed to go back to Aracaju but in fact, after Salvador, I was looking forward to it. Salvador is fun, picturesque, lively, unique—but it’s also questionably safe, dirty and cramped.
I’m breathing in Aracaju. The beach is huge, so much room and so few people, long empty avenue and just enough wind that it’s not stuffy. Sure, maybe the bakery doesn’t have bread because reasons and the only place where I can shop if I don’t feel like walking four kilometres to the nearest shopping mall is a pharmacy-gas station—minimart combo, but it’s actually relaxing.
People remembered me on top of that. Aracaju felt friendly.
Three days of rest, one last day of stress.
It was sunny when I left. I was in a good mood too, everything was under control—and by “everything,” I meant I had food for the evening, since it was Monday the bakery should have baked bread and the minimercado would be open, I had the day planned out, a bus ticket and an Airbnb booking for the next day.
Then I spotted dark clouds in the horizon.
They got closer and closer and I kept on walking on the beach as it was getting darker and darker.
Amazingly, it didn’t rain.
It was just an omen.
When I came back to the Airbnb, I noticed I had no new emails. Weird. Monday is usually a busy day with a few assignments—I had already received several urgent requests in the morning and was planning to work all evening.
Shit. No Internet.
Suddenly I remembered noticing a large truck and six guys around a pole in the morning. “I hope it’s not the power line!” I had said to myself.
I asked the doorman about the Internet issue. “Oh yeah, no Internet. Something is… broken. Tomorrow, maybe.”
Wait, what? You may be thinking I’m overreacting but Internet to the outside world—work, Mark and Feng, travel plan, the friend I was supposed to call in the evening.
Eventually, we found a workaround. An Aracaju-style workaround. If I stood by the elevator, I could kind of get a WiFi signal from another network. And I stood there, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, trying to reply to clients, explaining Feng and Mark why call quality was so bad, confirming the Airbnb booking for the following day and more.
“Just go to sleep,” Feng advised. “You won’t get anything done tonight.”
He was right. I finished packing, set up my alarm and took a shower.