A viagem (the trip)
I had received the news from the consulate just a couple days before my next scheduled trip. This was prefect, because I wanted to find and rent an apartment on this trip; that way when I came back I would already have the keys to my place and things would be ready. I didn’t want to show up to Brasil in 2007 with all my bags and nowhere to stay! If I hadn’t had heard back from the consulate, I don’t know how comfortable I would have been renting an apartment, not knowing if I would be able to live there or not.
After four airplanes and almost two days of flying, I had finally arrived in Recife on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The sky was blue, the sea breeze was blowing, and the streets were calm, as my cabbie drove me from the airport to the apartment I had rented for the week. It took me about two minutes to fall in love with Recife. It was different from Rio and São Paulo. Not sure what made it so different, but it was. It seemed a lot more calmer and laid back than the bigger urban giants of the country.
The town I had chose to make my home was called Recife. Brasileiros pronounce their “R’s” like “H’s,” so it is actually pronounced “Heh-See-Fee,” not “Reh-See-Fey.” Recife is a major city, on the north east coast of Brasil, just below the equator. I had only been there once, two years ago, changing planes on my way to Fernando De Noronha, and I remember I really liked the way the city looked–lots of tall buildings, right on the beach, and a pretty airport. Other than that, I really didn’t know much about the town, except for the research I had done on the net. I knew I didn’t want to live in Rio–I love Rio to visit…but to live, too expensive and too many tourists. São Paulo is cool, but too big, and no beach. Recife seemed perfect–a decent sized city, on the beach, with not many tourists and reasonable property prices.
So here I was, back in Brasil. This was my third time here–but this time, I had work to do. I had to find a place. I had seven days to do it. Some serious work lay ahead.
When I arrived at my place, the apartment’s maid, Bete (who worked for the owner), met me there and gave me the grand tour. Bete, and most everyone else in Recife, knew no English, but that was just fine, as I was excited to use all my new português I had learned in my second semester. After showing me my quarters, Bete took me with her to the mall so we could buy a sim “chip” and some minutes for the cell phone the apartment owner was letting me use during my stay. We hopped on the ônibus and headed to the mall–Shopping Recife was the biggest mall in Latin America, or so I was told. After we squared away the phone situation, we went our separate ways. I visited the grocery store to buy some snacks for the week and made an appearance at the town square for my first slice of português pizza this year, before returning to my place to crash out early. I had a big week ahead of me.