Carnaval Warmup

Trip Start Jul 06, 2005
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27
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Trip End Mar 10, 2006


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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Brazil is dangerous. You here soooo much of this...and it is I guess, moreso than many places weīve been. What you donīt hear enough of is that Brazilians in general are some of the nicest people on the planet. EVERYONE has a smile for you, everyone wants to talk, help, shake hands, whatever. I LOVE it! Just wanted to say that, as it continues to make the Brazil leg of the trip for me.

Olinda

Havenīt had to deal with this kind of arrival since Bolivia or Peru! We caught a bus out of Pipa to, well, nowhere really. Waited a couple hours on the side of the road by a ticket booth with not much else around, paid a crazy sum of money to get 3 hours down the road to Olinda, then got kicked off the bus again, in what for us was basically again, the middle of nowhere. Getting dark with ALL our gear, some cabby tries to convince us we canīt take the bus and he can fit four guys, 4 massive bags, 4 small bags, and a surfboard, into something the size of a Dodge Sprint. Soooo funny as he tries to cram the surfboard in and prove to us itīll work! Ditch him laughing ourselves silly, and proceed to wait another hour for the bus in a dodgy area of a dodgy town...with ALL our stuff. Awesome. A lovely woman managed to get us on the right bus and make sure we got off in the right spot, and after being hustled by about 100 "guides" at the bus station, we actually made it to a hostel. Whew! So...

Olinda is a BEAUTIFUL old colonial city, tiny cobblestone streets winding everywhere and several impressive old churches and monestaries. The place is also starting to kick off for Carnaval already with lots of drumming and partying in the streets everywhere. To top it off we got a pretty good deal on a nice room - so life is not so bad at the moment! We managed to get up to see Alto Se, the church overlooking the entire area from a hill, and into Convento San Francisco, which has an AMAZING series of tile pictures winding through the whole place depicting the life of Jesus and Saint Francis of Assisi. Built in 1577 it was the first Franciscan monestary in Brazil.

(Aside...)Iīm actually writing this from Recife, Olindaīs big brother city only 7 K away, and it sucks. Big, dirty, smelly, and feels seriously dodgy to walk around, but had to come here for cash. Iīm so glad as I sit here I have about $500 in my pocket (as do Simon and Tyler), my camera, and its now dark outside... the same outside I have to walk through to find a bus, somewhere, home to Olinda. Wicked. Cool dadio, next section should be the conclusion of this scary tale (if there is a next entry...)!

OK, survived, cash intact. Its now the next day, and Olinda is going OFF. There are blocos practicing their thing everywhere in the streets (picture about 50 drummers, highly co-ordinated by a leader with a whistle and drum, rocking and dancing through the cobblestone streets, with all of us dancing like fools trailing behind). Today we started off a little more low key with a 10 AM church service - very interesting as it was held at the Sao Bento Monestary, which was founded in 1587 and still houses 27 monks who lead a service complete with beautiful chanting and singing of prayers. Tonight is supposed to be the big night in town and there are huge trucks blaring crazy loud music and blocos warming up all over the place. Add that to everyone in the street carrying a drink (or three) and should make for some madness. Will have to let you know how it all turned out next time! Only one more stop before Carnaval in Salvador and Brazil has already kicked off the party in style! Chau queridos amigos, hasta la proxima,

--Shawn_in_detox?
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