I decided to come to Recife because I was in love with two men. Poets. Sadly, both dead poets. Thank you M. Bandeira and J. Cabral for inspiring me to come to this incredible city! I arrived knowing next to nothing about the place and the people that exist today and I fear I will not have enough space in my head for all the new things I am learning!
It’s difficult to put together a coherent description so here’s a brief thought flow:
Walking over hot cobbles or cracked concrete, round every corner there’s a colourful if yet controversial sight to see: on the avenue by the along the beach, slightly over-tanned middle aged women don bright green t-shirts and squeaky clean trainers and power walk down the promenade past thin homeless men sitting backs to the sea, eyes to the skyscrapers…
There is a complicated history of prejudice, slavery and racism. Yet from these comes an incredibly strong desire to protect, to protect culture and to protect one another. Beats and rhythms echo in the square, in the street.
I spend my days holding on for dear life to the yellow handle bars on the bus (I’ve learnt to pull the cord so the doors actually open!). Sometimes I’m rewarded for my efforts by a performance of literatura de cordel, nothing like some live rhymes on the way to work.
I’ve eaten the most delicious fruit and addictive puddings (avocado and condensed milk) and learnt to make tapioca. Next on the list of culinary classes: feijão.
I’ve bought myself some flip flops.
The women walk around proud of their curves. Magrinha, come mais!
On Sundays the people here know how to party: crowds swarm the old town and friends gather for picnics, music and dancing! Alternatively, down by the sea, 4pm, with damp hair, wrapped up in their beach towels, families and friends make their way home, drowsy from the sun and cerveja.
There is something indescribable about Brazil makes it worth all the queues and corruption. The people are warm, friendly, opinionated, frustrated, frustrating and fascinating. I have never encountered so many smiles.
Looking forward to the next four months!