When first seeing the Xingo reservoir, we were amazed that it is full. With all the visible drought problems, we had expected to find the lake half empty. Until it was explained to us that the Xingo reservoir is the last of five reservoirs lined up on rio São Francisco. As the other ones are smaller and older, they are on a 40% low in order to have the Xingo one filled up.
After the drive through the dusty inland of Alagoas, coming to the shore of the lake is a real pleasure. Vegetation – being burned in many other areas to make space for agriculture – surrounds the lake, giving it a beautiful green frame. The blue, sparkling water is clean and refreshing.
On the banks are two restaurants offering boat trips to the canyons further down the lake. These canyons are the real attraction of the lake, with the trip being described by Brazilian friends as muito legal – very nice. We probably should have asked for details…
As it turns out, the trip by boat is beautiful and so are the canyons themselves. Even though they must have been much more impressive before the dam was build but so be it. What we did not quite expect was to spend in total two hours on board bombarded by music and, much worse, the constant chatter of the tour guide. And what for? To arrive on a small side canyon where tourists can spend an hour swimming in a former fish tank.
To be honest, given the swimming skills of most Brazilians and the alcohol consumption we observed on the boat, this fish tank is a good idea. It just didn’t fit the slightest with what we had in mind. Neither did the trip to get there. In summary, it is again a reminder that Brazilians and Germans have a very different understanding of what constitutes a proper tourist journey.