9/6/05 I’ve been here now for over two weeks. Wow. In some ways it feels like it’s been longer, and in some ways it feels shorter. I’ve definitely “settled in” now…The last two weekends have been interesting. Two weekends ago I went to a city further north called Natal with most of the other volunteers. It was a 4-hour bus ride, and we stayed in this cool little hotel right on the beach. While it was fun for a weekend getaway, I wouldn’t go there on a regular basis. It was simply your typical touristy beach resort. Very crowded, with lots of partying going on at night, which isn’t really my thing. Unfortunately, the part that will stick with me the most is how sick–er, I mean, “tipsy”–I made myself. I drank three of these fruity alcoholic drinks called “caparinhas” on Saturday night, and the next morning I woke up extremely nauseated. Feeling thirsty, I drank some water, and the next thing I know I’m making a mad dash for the bathroom. I didn’t make it. For the first time since I was a little girl, I threw up. Fortunately, it was only water, and fortunately it was on a patio in an open courtyard. So I didn’t make a horrible mess or ruin anything.
This past weekend I spent quality time with myself. The other volunteers went on another getaway to another beach, and invited me, but I chose not to go strictly for financial reasons…So, instead, Saturday I went into Recife on my own to explore its “old town,” or historic district. It was actually quite pretty. I wandered around for a bit, took photos, and then fell asleep on a bench in a pretty little park with a fountain.
That evening C. invited me to go with her and R. to a movie. I had a lot of fun with them. After the movie, they took me back to the historic district in Recife (“Antigo Recife”) for a drink and a bite to eat. We sat outside near a plaza bordered on each side with beautiful and colorful old buildings. It was lovely. We had a great time just chatting and enjoying the lovely atmosphere of the place.
The next day, Sunday, I went by myself to the beach Boa Viagem in Recife. I only stayed a couple hours, enough to soak up a little sun, for there were just too many people. Very popular spot, apparently, on the weekends.
Sunday night I headed over to the hotel to see what the other volunteers were up to. I caught up with them in the nick of time. We piled into three cabs and headed up to the historic part of Olinda, the part on the big hill, known as “Alto da Se.” Every Sunday evening apparently, this is where the party’s at. It was jam-packed with people. There was wonderful drumming, dancing, and capoeira in the streets. Being there was an exhilerating feeling. It was the essence of Brazilian culture, alive and in full swing. Brazilians know how to have a good time. As I stood there in the throng, listening to the drumbeats, and watching these girls dance like crazy in front of me, I couldn’t help but begin to sway and dance in my own way with the infectious rhythm. Several of the British gals joined in as well. It was amazing fun.
We stayed a good while, then a few of us decided to find a place nearby to get some drinks and a bite to eat. After having no luck anywhere else, we finally ended up at the same little restaurant W., A., S., and I went to a few weeks ago. The one with the lovely veranda overlooking Recife in the distance. This time we sat underneath a starry sky and in the distance could see a purple horizon and a maze of sparkling, twinkling city lights. It was gorgeous…