A journey in Brazil – part 1

I’ve been there about 4 or 5 years ago. Way before the current difficult situation in which the Brazil is.
Unfortunately I can’t say that it was the best trimestre of my life. I haven’t kept many good memories but I won’t be speaking about them here. I’ll just speak about what we’ve seen and experienced .

We landed in Recife, a big town in the north. It is the fourth-largest urban agglomeration in Brazil with 4,031,485 inhabitants. Recife was founded in 1537, during the early Portuguese colonization of Brazil, as the main harbor of the Captaincy of Pernambuco, known for its large scale production of sugar cane. It is a major port on the Atlantic. Its name is an allusion to the stone reefs that are present by the city’s shores. The many rivers, small islands and over 50 bridges found in Recife city centre characterise its geography and led to the city being called the “Brazilian Venice”.

We stayed at a nice hotel not far from fast food restaurants. I remember as mom and I went out in the evening to buy supper. For me it was a big change, we just came from the Uk and finding ourselves in such a different part of the world where some roads were with holes, sandy and not as attractive as in Europe, made the first impact on my mind. But…. We just landed, “i would get used to it” I said to myself.
So mom and I went to a fast food that looked more like Taco Bell rather than McDonald’s. They made hamburgers, grilled meats, burritos…. We bought whatever they had and got back to the hotel.
In the morning, we drove through Recife, it had rained during the night. There were very nice apartments by the sea, very luxurious! Some wealthy people were jogging on the beach. It was as in any town in US or Europe. But as we left the sea shore things began to change in some neighbourhoods. It was as in any developing country. As we drove on the outskirts of town, we found ourselves in a small village . Where the rain’s effect was very visible! The roads were flooded. It was funny to drive on flooded roads though.

We didn’t need a lot time to notice that the Brazilians had a different culture. For example women wore mostly shorts. Very rarely you can see skirts or pants, just shorts. Weird!
For example they were always happy and they cared a lot about their smiles as everyone had very white teeth. Dentists were everywhere. And there was no reason for them not to fix anything that needed to be fixed. So their teeth were perfect.
Women cared a lot of their nails too. Nail shops were busy all the time.
We stayed there a few days and then we flew south to Sao Paulo the biggest city of Brazil.
It is considerated as an alpha global city in the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere, besides being the largest Portuguese-speaking city in the world. The city is the capital of the surrounding state of São Paulo, the most populous and wealthiest state in Brazil. The city’s metropolitan area, the Greater São Paulo, ranks as the most populous in Brazil and the 12th most populous on Earth. It is a megalopolis with more than 30 million inhabitants, one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world.
The Portuguese village of São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga was marked by the founding of the Colégio de São Paulo de Piratininga on January 25, 1554. The Jesuit college of twelve priests included Manuel da Nóbrega and Spanish priest José de Anchieta. They built a mission on top of a steep hill between the Anhangabaú and Tamanduateí rivers. For the next two centuries, São Paulo developed as a poor and isolated village that survived largely through the cultivation of subsistence crops by the labor of natives. For a long time, São Paulo was the only village in Brazil’s interior, as travel was too difficult for many to reach the area.
On March 22, 1681, the Marquis de Cascais, moved the capital to the village of St. Paul, designating it the “Head of the captaincy”. The new capital was established on April 23, 1683, with public celebrations.
The airport is way out of town. We rented a car (which had a defective Air conditioning) a drove to the city center. There was too much traffic on the highway that linked the airport to the city. And it was really the biggest city we’ve been at the time! It had nothing to do with Recife. It looked like Madrid or Buenos Aires. A cosmopolitan city with its good and bad. We had a reservation at a small hotel. As we always reserve in advance when we get to a location by plain or bus.
Two days later we changed to an appart hotel which was more convenient for us. We had a big room, a kitchen, the parking space and the wifi. The only issue for me was that I slept in the kitchen (which was the living room too) and at night small insects came in the dark. I hated to sleep there but there wasn’t any other place.
We stayed there almost a week. There was good food, good climate as it was early spring. Yet, there is a memorable event that happened. Before flying to Brazil we were aware that there were a lot of criminality. We knew that thieves and crooks were easily found. But mom found herself in the most unconceivable situation because she didn’t believe that “that” could happen to her. Never think that something can happen only to others.
She almost got kidnapped! To cut a long story short, two people played their comedy that seemed so real that she almost followed them. If she did, they would probably have asked for a ransom to free her or who knows what. Thankfully mom noticed that something sounded wrong with them and left in a hurry.
If you ever go to Brazil, be-very-careful, don’t trust easily.

The subway was very nice and quick but it is not rare to find oneself squeezed by the number of people taking it.