Brazil, Day 1: Olinda / by vanessa

olinda

Yesterday I arrived in Brazil.  Or Brasil as I like to say.  We flew into Recife, which, as best I can tell, is Portuguese for "gasoline-smelling town." It's both a curse and a blessing that it is lined with the Atlantic ocean.  I'm not sure if it's the location or what, but English is a commodity here.  I spent the 30 minute cab ride to Olinda playing a fun game of pointing at vehicles and calling out "fabricados no _*insert city, or in my case country*_ with the driver.  This was the only way we could communicate.  The game was going swimmingly until I pointed to a Kia and said, "Korea!" to which my affable driver answered, "Boo!" He must not realize I'm an Egg. Finally he pulled a Portuguese - English phrasebook from the glove compartment, while he was driving, and handed it to me.  I thumbed through the book and asked the first suitable question I found, "Você quer uma bebida?"  (Would you like a drink?) I think I made a friend. And then I tipped him way more than I should have because I am a fat American.

After checking in at the pousada, we were served complimentary caiperinhas, of which I drank two, obrigado, sending me reeling for a nap. But because I am travelling with a fun-Nazi*, I vaguely remember being forced to go for a hike to the top of a hill overlooking Olinda and Recife, with a little marketplace lining both sides of the cobbled street.

And I wish I could tell you more about Olinda than that, but then I slept for about 14 hours.  Here is a picture atop that hill.

*I first tried that phrase without a hyphen and it took on a totally different meaning.