January 21st, 2007

(no subject)

We recovered the camera. The next stop was Recife (well, Olinda really). We had learned that flying was the same price as taking the bus and 10 hours shorter. Since we didn't want to spend lots more time in Salvador, we went to the airport figuring we would stay until we found a flight. I had never had this adventure before. I learned that the airline that usually has the best prices in Brazil only sells tickets to foreigners at the airport (Ok, this time, I just learned that they do sell tickets at the airport. I learned that they don't sell tickets anyplace else through a much more frustrating day). We left that night for Recife.

Recife is pretty icky. We got to our hotel well past midnight and the only people on the street were street boys offering to help me carry my bags. Since I wasn't sure where my bags would get carried to, I turned down the offer. We stayed there one night before moving on to Olinda.

Olinda is kinda nice. It is similar to Antigua, Guatemala. They have a mini-carnaval every sunday. The streets fill up and there is a lot of music. By 11, the music was gone and the streets were just full of drunk people. There is a regional samba, too. They do a very unusual looking dance that involves little umbrellas and/or dolls. I had seen it once in the US and wondered if it was being made up on the spot. Guess not.

I am deciding that Lonely Planet for South America kinda sucks. I'm using it less and less. In the normal food section for Olinda, it recommended a restaurant that cost about $25 per person. I know very few backpackers that would consider that an affordable restaurant. Two blocks away we came across a gem. I think the man running the restaurant was the most interesting part, but I also like that fact that most of the vegetables came from his garden and that it was about one fourth the price of the other place and still very good. Somehow, I ended up there three times in the next three days.

My friend left. I think it was because of the hotel rooms. Any time we shared a hotel room, the only thing that would wake me up was her kicking or making noises when an ant or cockroach would jump on her. When we had separate rooms, when she would invite me in, I would pass-out because of the horrible stenches left in the room by previous occupants. Can't say why, but all my rooms were nice.

The day that my friend left, two friends from the road showed up. I had wanted to get these three together, but missed by a few hours.

I stayed with these two for their two days in town and didn't stick around for much longer after they left. Olinda was bad for my Portuguese; there was a steady flow of English speakers and I went for days without having a single conversation in Portuguese. I decided that I needed to be more aggressive about avoiding English. I'm in Teresina right now. It is in the interior. I hadn't really realized until recently, but Brazil is a coastal country. As large as it is, almost everything of importance is on the water. Going away from the coast dropped prices a lot and made communities more Christian. Also, I don't think I've seen any foreigners since I've arrived here.

Being here might also help with my relationship with studying and writing. Having people to play with meant that I was spending very little time writing. I think this will help me catch up. If you are reading this, then I probably did catch up.

(no subject)

I realized that I drifted for a long time without thinking about where I'm going next. Right now, I mean that in a short-term, literal perspective rather than a longer-term more figurative one. I've been spending a lot of time researching the world (did you know that you can download the CIA world factbook). I know almost nothing about western Asia, therefore, I really want to see it. Visiting it sounds hard. It doesn't seem like it will be really practical to use it as the means of getting further east. I also learned that the Orient-Express does not in fact run in Asia.

My first draft of a world itinerary looks like I will take about another year to get to Korea. However, if something doesn't work out, the second draft will probably be 9 months longer.