The BR-230, a good-quality asphalt road, bisects Paraíba and leads directly into the sertão. The green coastal strip is quickly left behind as the road climbs into the hills and the second city of Paraíba, CAMPINA GRANDE, linked to João Pessoa by hourly bus (2hr). It’s a large town, similar in many ways to Caruaru in Pernambuco: even the slogan you see at the city limits – “Welcome to the Gateway of the Sertão” – is the same. Like Caruaru, Campina Grande owes its existence to a strategic position between the agreste and the sertão proper. It’s a market town and centre of light industry, where the products of the sertão are stockpiled and sent down to the coast, and where the people of the sertão come to buy what they can’t make – at a large Wednesday and Saturday market, you can see this process unfolding before your eyes.

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