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Recife, Brazil – Cultural Trip to the City

Written By: FOXY on September 14, 2009 6 Comments

Recife, Brazil - From Marco Zero to Recife Flat - Sep 2009 001So today I got up, ate breakfast and jumped into a cab.  First stop, Marco Zero which is the point the Portuguese settlers first landed in the 1500’s.  From there I took a self guided walking trip through the streets past many of the historical buildings of Recife and stepped into the oldest church in the area.  Strangely, my guide didn’t have much info on any of the sites (joke, ha ha) but they were beautiful.

Recife, Brazil - From Marco Zero to Recife Flat - Sep 2009 006After walking across one of many bridges in the area I saw a huge bazaar of people, street vendors and shops.  Not a single blue eyed person for miles.  Mind you, I’ve got my $1,500 DSLR camera out and I’m snapping photos while every other person either stares at me or my camera.  Their eyes were not evil or unkind, instead they were intrigued, surprised and maybe even a little envious (of the camera).

Recife, Brazil - From Marco Zero to Recife Flat - Sep 2009 028I saw a park in the distance and headed towards it.  As I approached the entryway I found a $5 Real note on the ground!  I looked all around but no one was near.  To me it’s next to nothing ($2.50 USD) but to the person that likely lost it, it’s 1/3 of a day’s wages! 

Recife, Brazil - From Marco Zero to Recife Flat - Sep 2009 045At no time did I feel unsafe; in fact, just the opposite.  I would smile at many of the women, younger girls, even the older ladies on the streets and they would often smile back.  Some would give me huge grins of happiness.  To the men, I would often give them a slight head nod of respect and they would often do it back or give me a thumbs up.  I stopped at a por kilo (pay by the weight) restaurant and had a good meal.  The server was very friendly and refused to take the tip I offered her but I made her take it anyways and she shot me a huge grin.

Brazil’s weather, seasons and cities are backwards to the USA.  The southern part of the USA is like the Northern part of Brazil.  Where I’m at in Recife is analogous to Alabama (really any Southern USA state).  So most of the people are poorer, simpler, less materialistic and friendlier here compared to Rio de Janeiro.  I’d say Rio is most like Los Angeles and Sao Paulo is a bigger version of New York.

Recife, Brazil - From Marco Zero to Recife Flat - Sep 2009 057Anyways, back to Recife.  As I’m walking I’m using my iphone to guide me on the map.  I nearly bump into two policemen standing on the street.  I gingerly give them both a salute of respect and they both give me positive responses.  I get about 20 paces when I hear the sounds of boot steps behind me so I glance back to see one of the policemen.  He tells me in Portuguese that my camera is not safe here, that someone will try to steal it.  Wow, you know you’re not in the best area when the police tell you to put your camera away.  I’m surprised because it feels like a safe neighborhood to me but I heed his advice.

Recife, Brazil - From Marco Zero to Recife Flat - Sep 2009 061Next I jump on the Recife Metro and head for my hotel.  On the way I see a stop for “Shopping.”  Now that’s really strange.  Why is everything else in Portuguese except for the “Shopping” stop?  I decide to get off to check it out.  The station looks normal but as soon as I’m out of the train car and standing on the platform I decide this wasn’t a good idea. 

Recife, Brazil - From Marco Zero to Recife Flat - Sep 2009 062The area outside the station is rough.  Maybe the shopping is up the street or close by but I’m not interested in trying to find it.  I see 10-12 thugs standing on the narrow exit walkway of the station.  They stare at me and my camera like a mouse about to eat the cheese sitting on a trap.  No thanks, I get back on the train and get off at the closest stop to my hotel. 

After a brisk 20 minute walk I’m back to my temporary home in Recife.  See all the photos from my Recife day trip here.

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6 Responses to “Recife, Brazil – Cultural Trip to the City”

  1. Denys says on: 15 September 2009 at 11:17 am


    The word “shopping” or normally called “shopping center” in Brazil, stands for “Mall”, it means you were close to a shopping Mall. Normally shopping Malls are pretty big and very safe areas in Brazil.
    My suggestion still for northeast is Salvador. Enjoy your trip.

  2. Linda says on: 15 September 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Hey J, I thoroughly love the pictures. But, is there any way that you could label them so I know what I’m looking at? I’m living vicariously through you and don’t have a clue as to who the statues are of or what the bronze castings represent. Love and miss you bunches. Linda

  3. Helen McHargue says on: 15 September 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Nice photos! Love the mural, the food shots, fish in the bottles and the smiling police. You reallly know how to use that camera and it looks like you’ve left all the tourists behind in Rio. Keep smiling…


  4. Thiago Rodrigues says on: 1 October 2009 at 6:15 pm

    hi my first American friend, how are you? I hope you are well! when you return to recife?
    I loved seeing the pictures of my city, thank you!photos are cool!!!

  5. Thiago Rodrigues says on: 1 October 2009 at 6:27 pm
  6. JAMAL says on: 20 September 2013 at 1:51 pm

    I visisted recife (porto de recife) in 2005 and i was in ship M.V.PEARL with all pakistani crews we stay in recife around 7 day during carnival season. i love and i ll never forger recife
    in my live …i visited town mostly by bus and by walk…
    miss u recife..

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