Lindo Olinda! (Beautiful Olinda in Portuguese)

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
Trip End Jan 19, 2007

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Nigth before last got our very posh Guanabara bus (v wide seats, legroom and virtually horizontal) down to Recife. Managed to sleep ok and arrived this morning in Recife. Got the Metro from the bus station into Recife and then a bus straight out to the N (about 20 mins away) to Olinda.

Went for a wander to find somewhere to stay and eventually a local guide from the Tourist office drove us up the hill to find somewhere. Pousada Astral Alta (I think) was nice with pool and got it for about 55 Reais a night inc break in the centre of the old town. After a swim we went out for a wander around the streets. It is quite a small town and all the buildings are old and different colours and many are run down. There are 22 churches in the area, again many are completely run down and not open. Was pretty quiet and very few tourists so was nice to just wander around and look in the churches that were open. In our time here we went to about 2/3 of them all!

After a siesta we went out up the hill again to see the churches and view of Recife at dusk. We sat at the top of the hill and Dave had a capirinha (is now seriously addicted to them) and then we tried some of the street food. Tapioca was not what we thought and is in fact a type of pancake that you fill with sweet or savoury - we had it with chicken and cheese and was nice. Will stop talking about food as some people have commented on my obsession with it on this blog!!!

Today after a lovely breakfast we went for a wander around the west side of town which is where the newer bits are which arent as nice. Also checked internet and found out about awful terrorism scare in London.

Then we went to the Santa Teresa convent which was certainly a highlight for me. Lovely walled square with Dutch blue and white tiles and a lovely chapel next door. Whilst in there I thought I recognised someone and sure enough it was Nick Raynsford, Labour MP and former Minister. I know him from the fateful referendum campaign more than anything. He seemed to remember me and we chatted about our travels etc (he is on hols here with his wife). Referendum wasnt mentioned (!) Felt a bit weird after seeing him -reminder of work and home and all that

Reminds me of election campaigns which I keep meaning to include. Venezuela was in the throes of an election campaign although election is in December! President Chavez is going for it again having managed to get the constitution to be changed to do so. Electioneering so far seems to consist of painting most walls with candidates names and numbers and so far Chavez seems to have 95% of the walls I would say!

In Brazil election campaign started about a month ago and poll day is in October - and people complain about long election campaigns at home! Main thrust of the campaign appears to be a combination of the above, posters with photos and candidate numbers (but little mention of political party or slogan or any message!), people waving flags at sides of roads and virtually hitting oncoming traffic and my favourite, blasting out the loudest music possible at any time of day including 8am on a Sunday or midnight! Great way to get votes! President Lula seems to have most local candidates supporting him from what I can see but a lot of people here seem very frustrated with the corruption in politics here (recent stories on BBC state that about 80 politicians have been recommended to be expelled from politics due to corruption etc

Anyway, back to Olinda after lunch (which usually consists of whatever we have stolen from breakfast) we left by bus to go to Recife city.
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