Thursday, November 5, 2009
You Look Lost.
I figured I had better finish up this chapter of my adventures before I go off on too many more. (I realized yesterday though that six weeks from right now I will be on my way back home. Crazy! I will have to stuff in my last batch of adventures.
After a wonderfully calm morning at the beach in front of our pousada, Sarah and I went to the front desk to check out and to make sure the bus back to Recife came by when we thought it did. The man there told us that it came by around noon at the square where all the vans leave from. We hurried up there.
That was when things go confusing. First of all, we had read that the bus left Maceió at 11 so it couldn't possibly get to Maragogi by noon. Also, we doubted it came through the town center, which was made up of a jumble of narrow streets.
However, no one was much of a help. Everyone we asked gave us different answers to our questions. The van drivers told us that we would have to take a van to Barreiros and catch the bus there, but we weren't sure if they just wanted us to pay for their vans. After much standing around in the sun and lugging our stuff from place to place, we made it up to a main road, where there was an actual bus stop. There, a trustworthy-looking young man told us that the bus did indeed pass by, but maybe not for a while, and it would be faster just to take the van to Barrieros where more buses come through.
So we finally did. In the van, we sat up front with the driver, who played us Eminem and told us how happy we was to live in such a paradise. He dropped us off at the bottom of the hill leading to Barrieros and told us we could either get a bus or a just slightly more expensive car there.
We sat in the shade with another young man who asked us questions until he suddenly sat up straight and whistled. A bus was coming by, and we ran to it, got on, and I promptly closed my eyes. It had take about a dozen people to get us on the bus to Recife, but we had done it.
We had plans to stay in Recife with Carolina and her family, whom we had found on CouchSurfing.org. We planned to go straight to her apartment from the bus station, but guess what? The bus didn't take us to the bus station. We go out in some unknown corner of Recife and had no idea where to go. I guess we must have looked lost, though, since someone came up to us and gave directions without us even needing to ask. This happened again when we got off the city bus in Carolina's neighborhood but didn't know where to go from there. It's a fool-proof technique: just look lost, tired, and sweaty, and someone will come help you!
Carolina wasn't home yet, but her mother and sister welcomed us into their apartment and gave us some water and snacks. While talking to them, we finally understood what we had slowly been realizing over the course of the week: in the Northeast, people's accents were next to impossible for us to understand! We had no idea where we were going, but we soon got into a car with Carolina's brother, who neither looked old enough to drive nor seemed to care about the basic laws of physics (there was a lot of needless acceleration and some screeching tires).
After a nice evening with Carolina and her friend in Recife Antigo (which is where we finally ended up), I was happy to go back and get into bed.
The next day, after a delicious breakfast, Sarah and I headed off to Olinda, a small colonial town right next to Recife. We went to about a billion churches and I took way too make pictures of colorful buildings. The views from the tops of the hills were gorgeous, though, and we found our way up to a lighthouse identical to the one we had visited earlier that week. The one actually had a padlock on the gate, unfortunately, and someone was guarding the entrance.
Mysteriously, after a much needed coconut water, we made it to the Museum of the Man of the Northeast, which we had tried twice to visit earlier in the week but had failed. It was very interesting and worth the trouble and confusion it took to get there (I think I asked more people for help and directions on this one trip than I have in the whole rest of my life).
Back at Carolina's apartment, we met up with some of her friends and siblings to go to a sushi rodízio. First of all, rodízios are the best thing ever: all-you-can-eat food. I had been dying to try a sushi one, and the restaurant we went to was absolutely delicious. I especially couldn't get enough for the strawberry sushi. i just ate lunch, but I'm getting hungry again just thinking about it now.
The next day we had been planning to visit a city in the interior, but our plans didn't work out. instead we visited a random castle in Recife, with an even more random collection of medieval armor, as well as a collection of art from the Dutch-influenced period of Brazilian history. Both the art and the museum itself were beautiful, and I learned some stuff about Brazil that I had never heard about before.
After a final dinner at a restaurant with foods typical of the region, we headed to bed for a few hours before our flight back to Rio.
That night, however, happened to be the night when Brazil moves to summer hours. BUT not all of Brazil, which we hadn't realized -- just the southern half, so Recife wouldn't be staying in the same time zone as Rio. What we didn't know was whether our flight would be leaving on Recife time or Rio time. After some clever research on the airline's website, we figured it out. And the flight wasn't even late! We soon made it back to Rio, where the sun was miraculously shining (though not for long).
And that was my trip. Recently in Rio, the sun has been shining quite consistently, but I'm about ready for some rain again. I tried to go to the beach yesterday and only lasted 30 minutes. You don't want to hear about the quantity of sweat I produced just lying there, reading my book, so I'll stop here....