Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My two visions of Recife

Truth be told, I have been doing a lot of thinking this year about what's next. I am still too confused about my own desires to have come anywhere close to an action plan, but I did create a notecard on Recife for the mental file.

When the plane was touching down, I had that old feeling... that twinge of excitement. It's a certain "knowing" that's rare to show but, in my experience, shouldn't be ignored. Something of a gut instinct, I suppose. I loved the skyline: modern highrises against a deliriously blue ocean. The airport itself was my favorite in Brazil thus far: clean, bright, well-organized, seemingly efficient, even artsy. I liked the city's size and buzz and colors: and I liked that I was, for the first time, seeing a face of Brazil that I'd so longed for.

Oh, Recife! The bridges, the old downtown, the history: all of it vibrant and interesting. My glorious 10th floor hotel room with a balcony facing Boa Viagem and the Atlantic provided enough entertainment that I had no inclination to go out at night!

"I can live here," I thought.

On the other hand, the buses were average; the metrô incomparable to São Paulo. Mercado São João was interesting, but neither as clean nor as agreeable as Porto Alegre's Mercado Publico (let alone Sampa's Mercado Municipal)--and the neighborhood felt downright dodgy. Moreover, I think I would become depressed sooner rather than later to consider the alarming poverty and the stench emanating from the polluted river.

So, though provocative, "I can't live here," I thought.

But I'm not sure. I certainly think another visit is in order.