In the Steep Streets of Colourful Olinda

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“Is this mommy?”

Mark is pretending to read the newspaper while I’m pretending I’m relaxing with a coffee when in fact, we both know that I will get a two-minute break max—it’s okay, I’m having an espresso, not a Starbucks “grande”.

I glanced at the newspaper. Mark is pointing to the “sunshine girl”. The picture is small and in black and white, yet I feel a sudden burst of confidence. That girl is hot! My son thinks it’s “mommy”!

Wait. Should I take Mark to the optometrist? Is it tired? Dehydrated and confused?

“Mark, leave mommy alone. She needs coffee.”

Feng is being nice, he wants me to get a break. I appreciate it but I shrug. It’s okay.

I’m dirty, sweaty, my legs are covered in sand and my hair is so messy that the pair of sunglasses holding it back are stuck in it. The guys are as dirty—maybe even more… definitely more by the look of Mark’s shirt. But I don’t care. We had fun. We lived. We saw stuff, smelled stuff, touched stuff. You don’t come out of life clean.

We spent the day in Olinda, a picturesque little town a few kilometres from Recife. Considering the traffic in Boa Viagem, I thought the twenty-kilometre long trip would take over an hour. I had forgotten that Brazilian bus don’t slow down. Ever. Even when picking up or dropping off passengers.

“Okay, Mark. We are looking for bus 910. That’s nine-one-zero and… here is the bus!”

Numbers and destinations are clearly marked on the front of buses, which is pretty convenient.

Feng grabbed the stroller, I grabbed Mark and we jumped in. You don’t pay the fare to the driver who is too busy speeding but to the cobrador, an employee sitting inside the bus. Once you hand out the money for the ticket, he releases the turnstile and you can look for a seat (good luck with that one).

The system is not friendly to a couple of idiots with a kid, a stroller and no idea of the ticket price. Yet, we made it through the turnstile and I sat with Mark (friendly Brazilian always give up their seat for a kid, it’s amazing!) as we sped by Boa Viagem and Recife.

Mark is still into churches and the perspective of stepping into the one he spotted on top of the hill made him climb all the way up. The view on the Atlantic Ocean and the skyline of Recife in the distance was gorgeous.

After this nice break from gritty Recife, we walked along the Praia do Pina up to our bairro of Boa Viagem… and this is how we ended up dirty, sandy and sweaty at the coffee break.

Olinda license plate

Olinda license plate

Steep streets of Olinda

Steep streets of Olinda

Colourful buildings and street art

Colourful buildings and street art

Igreja da Misericórdia

Igreja da Misericórdia

On top of the highest hill, Boa Viagem and Recife in the distance

On top of the highest hill, Boa Viagem and Recife in the distance

On top of the highest hill, Boa Viagem and Recife in the distance

On top of the highest hill, Boa Viagem and Recife in the distance

Horse spotted

Horse spotted

Street art in Olinda

Street art in Olinda

Carnival masks

Carnival masks

On top of the highest hill, Boa Viagem and Recife in the distance

On top of the highest hill, Boa Viagem and Recife in the distance

 Igreja da Sé


Igreja da Sé

Snacks on the market square at the Igreja da Sé

Snacks on the market square at the Igreja da Sé

Snacks on the market square at the Igreja da Sé

Snacks on the market square at the Igreja da Sé

Snacks on the market square at the Igreja da Sé

Snacks on the market square at the Igreja da Sé

Skyline of Recife in the distance

Skyline of Recife in the distance

Steep street in Olinda

Steep street in Olinda

Façade of a building in Olinda

Façade of a building in Olinda

Façade of a building in Olinda

Façade of a building in Olinda

Mosteiro de São Bento

Mosteiro de São Bento

Steep street in Olinda

Steep street in Olinda

Street art in Olinda

Street art in Olinda

Birds...

Birds…

... apparently bring mail in Brazil

… apparently bring mail in Brazil

Olinda

Olinda

Beach of Boa Viagem

Beach of Boa Viagem

Beach of Boa Viagem

Beach of Boa Viagem

Beach of Boa Viagem

Beach of Boa Viagem

Beach of Boa Viagem

Beach of Boa Viagem

No... this is not your mother...

No… this is not your mother…

Coffee break

Coffee break

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

6 Comments

      • Martin Penwald on

        Si, probablement. J’ai fait Manhattan, les quartiers pauvres de Philadelphie, Roubaix-Tourcoing, Orléans et d’autres villes à rues minuscules avec des camions, vu les photos, ça devrait passer. À l’aise, même.
        Au pire, c’est que des petites voitures en stationnement, on peut rouler dessus pour gagner de la place 🙂

        • Le pire ici ce sont les pavées… des trucs bien disjoints. Y’a des réparateurs de pneus à tous les coins de rue du coup. Et pour te garer tu ne galèrais pas?

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