“COBRA!!” (snake) – someone shouted.
Everyone turned to where the voice came from, then followed the eyes of the woman shouting, to then find a red snake with black and white rings, around 70cm long.
I have just landed at the airport of Lençois, around 400 km west from Salvador, state of Bahia in Brazil. This airport is so small! It only operates 2 flights per day twice a week and we basically wait at the door of the airport, while we watch the men taking our luggage from the airplane and placing it in a cart to then hand it directly in our hands. It is while waiting for the luggage that the panic is installed when the red snake is spotted.
A brazilian guy with dreadlocks standing next to me, seeing the confusion in my eyes, said: it is a Coral, a lethal snake. Oh right, I now understand the panic! Before travelling I read there were snakes in this part of Brazil but I didn’t expect to see one so quickly! What a warm welcome. I thought.
It didn’t take long for a member of staff (aka super man) pick up the snake with a long metal hook and place it in the gutter. A Phew! was mirrored in everyone’s face, slowly turning their attention back to the cart parked next to the airplane with their packed suitcases. Well, I still kept my eyes in the gutter in case it would crawl back up. Snakes can do that right?!
A few minutes later I had my backpack, found the guide who was picking me up and headed to the friendly hostel Pousada dos Duendes. Once settled, I head to the streets to explore…
Blue walls, red doors, yellow windows, blue skies, green walls, red curtains… So many colours in one village. Walking down an uneven cobbled street, the kids play in and out of the houses: a 2 year old is wearing only his pants, while his sister wears a dirty princess dress, they look happy jumping in an old mattress, probably put outside to dry.
Through an open door I can see an old man sleeping on a very worn mattress on the floor of his living room, with the loud TV on.
It is early afternoon and actually too hot. Apart from the kids, the streets are empty. Myself, I start to feel I need to cool off. I have heard there are walking distance waterfalls from Lençóis, so I ask a child which direction to go. She points up the hill and off I go.
Cachoeira do Serrano!, also commonly called the beach of Lençóis. It is only 15 minutes walk from the village and well, it is not quite just a waterfall, but more like multiple small ones, running down a stoned uneven sort of river and plenty of little pools. It makes sense to call it a beach, since there is people lying under an umbrella relaxing… I could tell you that I did the same but I couldn’t find a comfy position on these rocks, so I just kept jumping from pool to pool.
After a couple of hours it is time to walk back to the village…
Now with the temperatures cooling down, the village starts filling up with life. The doors and windows, some closed but most fully opened, let the sound of loud TVs or full power radios fill the air.
Reaching a little river called “Lava Pés” (Feet washer), women hand-wash clothes while children do what they do best, splashing everywhere.
It is 5pm… golden hour. I walk to the main streets where restaurants are setting up tables on the streets getting ready to welcome the tourists/adventurers from another day of trekking and swimming in waterfalls.
Lençois is the main door to the big park of Chapada Diamantina, so big it is said to be the same size as the Netherlands.
To end the first day I found a restaurant in the main street, sat at a table outside and mentally I went over the plan for the next 5 days. I could barely hold my excitement, thinking of going chasing waterfalls… ♥