Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Our first stop on our two-week group excursion was Recife, and in all honesty it kind of sucked. It rained almost the whole time, it was really hard to go anywhere independently, and almost all of the lectures were long and boring. So I'm going to exclude all of that and tell you about the interesting parts.

We saw a cool church.

I would tell you where in the city this was, but I really have no idea. We didn't get to know the city very well. It was disappointing.

One of the coolest things we did was going to this cultural center and school for youth. They attempted to teach us to drum and dance, and then we watched them perform. They were really, really good.

This kid's hat fell off because he was drumming so hard. That's Oelito putting it back on.

Later that day a few of us decided to take a cab to the Sinagoga Kahal Zur Israel, the oldest synagogue in the Americas. We were supposed to have a guided tour, but the dude was out of town and he wouldn't let anyone else do it, so we went sneakily on our own. It's run by a private group, and it cost five reais to get in.

Most of the building is not the original structure. It's now a museum, and it's not used as a synagogue anymore except on very special occasions. You could see the original floor, though, which was cool, and the written information was in English and Portuguese.

I don't know anything about synagogues, but my friend Dan said that this one was set up differently than the one's he'd seen before. 

The ceiling was pretty.

We decided to take a few minutes and walked to the harbor. It was pretty.

Our plan was to go back to our pousada and then return to Recifie Antiga, the area we were already in, for a concert that night. Unfortunately, not leaving immediately after the museum turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes we made. As we found out later, there had been so much rain that the city had decided to release water from the dam on one of the rivers. This was going to flood a portion of the city, and so all of the cab drivers were going home to either rescue things from their houses. There were cabs everywhere, but none of them were taking passengers. It was incredibly irritating at the time. Ultimately, we split up into two groups and each spent about an hour and a half trying to hail a cab, before giving up and going to the shopping mall to eat dinner, which was also not ideal. Finally, we walked back to where the concert was going to be and bartered with one of the street food ladies for a bottle of rum and an enormous bottle of Coke. The concert was awful, but we were just happy that it wasn't raining yet and that we had stopped looking for cabs. At long last Oelito and our bus arrived on their way back from Olinda, which had also been a bust.

So there we go. Posts on Olinda, Salvador, and the interior to come.

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