Wednesday, March 28, 2007


And now for some well anticipated pictures.... I am worried that my blog is becoming too much of an update on life rather that me being pissed at random things. I guess that's a bit of necessity since I am south of the equator. Nonetheless, risking my blog becoming lame, here's another post about my life and little else.

This is the view from the top of the building where I'm staying until April. As you can see, I'm 3 blocks from the beach; it's around a two minute walk. As of April 1st I move to an apartment that is about 4 blocks away from here (parallel to the coast), its closer to the bus stop and mall the same distance from the beach... and I'll have my own room.

The streets in this area are very busy. With cars, motorcycles, busses, bike messenger types (more on that later) and pedestrians. You can definitely judge the security of an area by its traffic. If you see a lot of cars... you're good. Things change fast... on one of my runs last week I transitioned from a nice road with plenty of cars to a road that had no motorized vehicles of and kind in around 3 blocks. I wasn't in a favela (explain later), but this area was only one step above it. I don't even think I saw bikes, only people sitting in the sun or the shelter of their poorly constructed living quarters looking at me like I was from another planet. Needless to say, I did a little interval work back to the main road.
The city is so busy running is difficult. This forces me to do most of my runs here: I know it looks rough, but keep me in your prayers and I'm likely to survive.
This is the beach at the closest point to my apartment. The rocks in the water are the reef that gave this city it's name (a recife = the reef). During high tide you usually can't see more than a few feet of sand. The picture shows a lower tide, but it gets lower. The beach is great for running, chilling, bathing, or playing sports (there are several volleyball nets, tennis courts further down, and pickup soccer games everywhere). I say "bathing" because the beach is not good for swimming.

Why? Well that's an interesting story. Once you cross the reef your chance of shark attack goes up exponentially. Its not just because the reef shelter's bathers, but also because there are more sharks in this area, and they're ill-tempered.

Keeping in mind causal relationships, scientists have shown the massive industrial development near Recife closed off fresh water estuaries where bull sharks nurse their pups. So shortly after the developments really took off, the shark population moved up the coast. Then, pollution killed quite a bit of the local marine life. Ipso facto the bull sharks are swimming around starving, and if you're near them, you're probably close to their cute, little sharklings... we all know this is a bad combination. Also, surfing is prohibited due to all this.

If you aren't being eaten, the beach is a pleasure. It's basically a full service ala carte buffet. Local vendors provide you with chairs and shade umbrellas for free. You order drinks from them, and just bask while other vendors come by. A veritable mobile smorgasbord is provided by the impoverished street vendors: fresh coconuts with hole and straw, shrimp, fried cheese, roasted cashews, bottled water, beer, juice, liquor, hot dogs, sunscreen, jewelry, soccer jerseys, sunglasses, night lights, hats, parakeets, CDs, DVDs. Basically most anything you might want while on a beach. You feel satiated and a little like a scumbag while enjoying the beach and the amenities that it provides because of the large population below the poverty line. Not to mention prices are great. Vendors definitely try and rip me off... prices start off higher for me than my dark skinned beach neighbors... but my Portuguese negotiation skills are quickly improving. Even so... the prices they try and rip me off at aren't even that bad (Gotta LOVE that exchange rate!), but I talk them down because I need to buy more frivolous items like Rocky VI in Portuguese... I guess if they want that extra loaf of bread they'll have to work a little longer.

After the sun sets, the vending moves away from the beach about two blocks. The prostitutes (not legal) come out right after dinner. Like 7PM... they don't waste time. Then again, maybe they're just nice girls waiting for the bus, on the wrong side of the street.

Sex, sun, food, liquor, action (when that tourist gets eaten by a bull shark)... Recife has it all.


Blogger Cassy said...

Nice girls waiting on the wrong side of the street? Hmmm... Sounds like you're having an excellent time, with everything you need at your, ahem, fingertips. Later dude.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Gregory said...

so how are those hookers treating you anyway?

i missed a TON of blogs while being gone for a week! and all of them are comparable to novels.

7:21 PM  

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