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Brazil
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Brazil - Part 1
Pernambuco


Main Page 2008-2009
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If you need a little mood music while you look at this, here are a bunch of Brazilian songs I like that are also on YouTube. Actually, near the end of the list is music from other places.
      Frankfurt Airport. I flew to Recife, the capital of Pernambuco state in the northeast, on a last minute whim, unable to pass up the cheap flight ($300 one way from Germany on Condor) and the chance to get the difficult-to-obtain visa in Hungary. Condor wasn't having a good day that day, but I was put up in a hotel for free and didn't mind an eight and a half hour delay at all.



      I used to think of myself as someone very knowledgeable about tropical fruits, but Brazil is in a whole other class. I am in deep love with the fruit juices there, even if I hardly know what I am drinking. Take a good look at this, (as well as you can; deepest apologies for my photo work) and it is by no means comprehensive. For example, jaboticaba isn┤t on the list. An outrage. And check out acerola up top, a cherry-sized berry that has 32 times more vitamin C than an orange.
      Brazilians commonly drink fruit juices with their meals, no matter what they are eating. Rio de Janeiro has a chain of fruit supermarkets called Hortifruti. In the back of some of them they make fruit juices including the sublime ašai composto and the surprisingly tasty pineapple with mint. Who came up with the idea of mint?
      In good old Paraguay I enjoyed dark sugar cane juice with mint.



      Some Recife photos. The middle photo I could figure out with my Spanish. It was interesting that this hot sheet hotel would blatantly announce their 3 hour rate as well as the night rate, but it was also interesting that the night rate was much cheaper than dorm beds at the local youth hostels. Not only that, the room had a TV and they even accept credit cards!
      Not long after I got to Brazil I stopped asking people if they speak English. In the tourist offices they would lean back in their chairs, fold their arms and say with a big, satisfied smile, "No!" It's OK. Portuguese is fun to try and speak. I exaggerate it and everyone is happy.
      Actually, in the dusty Central Valley of California there is a Portuguese radio station that I sometimes listen to on late night drives to Los Angeles because even though I don't understand a thing; it has a nice hypnotic sound I like. In the beginning I found myself mimicking a cheesy radio accent, but I found that I'm most often understood if I speak slowly, gesture with my hands, and sound like Dracula with nasal congestion.
      By the way, the 16.00 in the price was about US$10 at the time. (The currency in Brazil is called "real", the plural being "reais". I'll give you 5 guesses as to how they pronounce "real". It is something like "hey-ow", though that isnt exactly correct either. Stick with the Dracula voice and people will understand you.)
      I spent on average about 50 reais a day in Brazil, but in the middle of my trip the real plunged, going from 1.62 reais to the dollar to 2.40, so in effect I spent about $30 a day in the beginning of my trip and $20 a day by the end.



      The following five photos are from downtown Recife for an anti-rubella campaign. I like the looks on these faces. The people administering the shots simply set up in the middle of the street and accosted passers-by, including me. They let me take photos, but they also had a syringe ready for me. I didn't stand still.
      I did get a free yellow fever shot later. They were offended when I asked if the needle was new.








      Old Volkswagen buses also have other uses, like fruit delivery. This just happened to pass by Karina's place one morning and we and her guests bought a lot of fruit that was much cheaper than from any store. Fruit is heavy! the poor springs on this beast looked like they were going to give way.
      Karina was my Couchsurfing host. She likes guests. She says she rents her sizable place so she can have lots of people stay over. I saw a photo of her place last Carnival. There were 41 people in the house. Dozens of people were laid out in a row. It looked like Auschwitz.

The Old Man and the Seafood Recife



      Porto de Galinhas, a bit south of Recife, is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil, but it was overly busy the two times I was there and diminished its fabulosity. It is nicer to walk away south towards Maracaipe. Also, how great can it be when the beach is under water at high tide? I like the sign on the left telling you where the limit is for your tent! One of my disappointments was that I never saw the natural swimming pools at low tide. My timing was bad. That would have changed my opinion about it surely.

Porto de Galinhas tourist office furniture made of plastic bottles. I was the only one who was amazed by this. I want to be a jangadeiro (boatman) when I grow up. This is on a river mouth in nearby Maracaipe.

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Brazil
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Part 3
     
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Part 6
     
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