We arrived in Recife on Saturday morning after a surprisingly easy 14 hour bus journey! The seats were very comfy and we slept most of the way. It was soooo hot when we arrived! Jeans are fantastic for keeping warm in the heavily airconditioned bus, but terrible as soon as you get out. We had a hostel booked in Olinda, the little town on the other side of the river, so we headed straight there.
The hostel was very basic but our cheapest yet, so seemed fitting. We still had our own bathroom and a fan so I was happy! We went straight into the centre of Olinda to explore as we knew we didn´t have many days in the area. I was very tired though, so perhaps didn´t enjoy it as much because of that. The town has a scheme for helping ex-street children, training them as guides to the city. Whilst it is a fantastic scheme, th fact that it was low season meant we were totally outnumbered by them! It got quite annoying while we were there as there were people constantly asking to give us the tour. We did eventually take one up on thir offer and we had a walk around the old centre, guided by a 15 year old explaining the history. There are some really beautiful buildings and lots of churches. All the churches are relatively modern since the originals were burnt down by the Dutch in 1630 (I think!) and they had to be rebuilt. In the evening we went to a bar in the old centre which had live music. Very enjoyable.
On Sunday we went to Recife to the beach called Boa Viagem. It was another beautiful urban beach, like Copacabana. We had a wonderfully relaxing day. :) We had a delicious fish for lunch (check out the pics, esp the one of Myra looking pleased with herself with the remnants of lunch!) and I bought my third pair of sunglasses since I´ve arrived (having no luck with them at all! Need a hard case!). We swam a little in the shallow parts by the shore but had been told countless times by locals that there was a very serious problem with sharks! There are several attacks every year! Crazy.
Te following day was one of those annoying days where nothing quite works out and everything takes a bit longer than expected. A bit frustrating. Anyway, we were trying to get 2 hours up the coast to a city called Joao Pessoa. We had hoped to arrive by early afternoon but it was already dark by the time we turned up. Before we left the UK, Myra and I joined an organisation called Servas (check it out at www.servas.org) which is a peace-promoting orgaisation with a network of "hosts" and "travellers" and you can arrange to visit and stay with members as you travel. We had been in touch with a guy in Joao Pessoa and we a stayed in his house for 2 nights. We had our own room and we felt really welcome. We probably wouldn´t have come up to this city if we hadn´t made this contact but we were so glad we did. The city was so so beautiful and had a wonderful atmosphere. It felt very different to all the other cities we visited, really open and safe and clean. The city has a lot of incredible beaches, including a spectacular one which is the most easterly point in the whole of Brazil (again, check out the photos-paradise!). In the evening, our host took us out for picanha (meat and more meat) which was delicious, and a good chance to have a proper chat with him. A lovely guy who is a keen traveller and scuba diver so lots to talk about!
Myra and I really loved the city and were sad to have so little time there. My time in Brazil is coming to an end but i can already tell I will be back... :)
On Wedneday morning Myra and I parted ways (so sad! miss you myra!) - she to Fortaleza and me to Rio (via Recife on the bus then a plane) ready to catch the bus to Iguazu Falls. 22 hours... wish me luck!