Pipa, literally ‘kite’, but when the beach was named, the word referred to ‘barrel’, referencing a barrel-shaped rock the Portuguese meant to see on the coast, was a sleepy beach-town until it was discovered by that kind of international travel community which, when it descends on something it likes, turns everything into the uniform, if pleasant, bespoke tourist experience. Whether in Thailand, Turkey, or Brazil.
The beaches are indeed lovely, the water is gorgeous, and, of course, the hotels are boutique, the food nice, the staff multilingual, the imported beer cold.
There’s a Subway, Pipa is lovely, and you have probably been there.
Perhaps the strangest was that, while my visit was still during the pandemic, even though it was a weekend, the shops and restaurants felt at normal capacity. Granted, the vast majority of people were still wearing masks, outside, though not inside, as these were mostly bars and restaurants.
Too busy and too touristy for me, I made sure I had ‘dinner’ by ordering a X-tudo off a street-vendor, adding a beer or two, and heading to the surprisingly quiet, at night, beach.
A X-tudo is pronounced [sheesh-toodo]. ‘Tudo’ means ‘everything’, the sheesh, supposedly, is a bastardisation of ‘cheese’, as Brazilians struggle with the opening sound of the word ‘cheese’.
A X-tudo varies from place to place, but it does tend to have ‘everything’; beef, ham, cheese, bacon, egg, lettuce, and a host of toppings, which can be mushroom, little sticks of potato, more egg, corn, peas, topped off with a range of sauces.
I had come to Pipa to participate in the Denmark Photomarathon.
With the pandemic, the 2020 Denmark photomarathon had moved onto the virtual plane, which had seen the competition receive a healthy number of participants, including myself. This year, still suffering from the pandemic, the competition again was virtual, allowing anyone, anywhere, to participate.
Last year, I ‘did’ the 12 hour marathon. This year, I had opted for the 24 hour event. A tough call, with the last time I participated in a 24 hour photomarathon having been 2005, in Rotterdam.
But, due to the time difference with Copenhagen, 5 hours, and the announced release schedule of individual topics, I had anticipated that I could start late and finish early, resulting in a long day, but without having to skip a night’s sleep on either end.
I was right, and even ended up winning a small prize.