Recife, Brazil

Trip Start Jan 26, 2009
Trip End Mar 27, 2009

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Where I stayed
Carnival Splendor

Flag of Brazil  , State of Pernambuco,
Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We were up with the sun in great anticipation of a wonderful day in Recife.  The appointed hour to meet our hosts at the pier came and went so direct contact was in order.  Our cell phone, most unfortunately, did not work outside of North America (now we find out!) but a kind soul from the local cell phone company made the call for us and we were off and running to catch a shuttle bus into the city proper. 
At last we met up with our most gracious hosts, Josinaldo and Edna Franca who took us to many of the classical tourist sites but, more importantly, gave us first hand knowledge of their wonderful city and of the State of Pernambuco.  Between stops we drove through both old and new quarters of this "Venice of the New World", past the homes of the rich and famous and of the poorest of the poor.  We stopped for refreshments at the main beach in the city (6 km of beautiful sand with warm water and a natural breakwater to protect the bathers from the local shark population (always good to know!))  The beach is fronted by high rise apartments, each with a spectacular view for their residents and yours for the asking for a mere $1 million.  We continued on to a huge shopping mall (largest in Brazil - Halifax Shopping centre times 100 for the home crowd) where we were joined by their two beautiful daughters, Camila and Karina, for a Brazilian lunch wherein we sampled a wide variety of local and international dishes.  After lunch Dr. Camila returned to school and the rest of us continued on to discover more of Recife, including a visit to Castelo Sao Joao with its fantastic museums overflowing with incredible tapestries and rare works of art.  My military "inner me" was naturally attracted to an incredible display of ancient armour and weapons.
Alas, in what seemed like a blink of the eye, our all too short visit with Josinaldo and his beautiful family came to an end with the need to return to our home away from home.  Josinaldo, bye the way, noticed my quick glances at my watch and assured me we would not "miss the boat" and with navigator like precision made good on his promise to meet our departure ramp time.
We were back on-board in short order and soon sitting down to a pleasant evening meal as the sun set and Recife fell astern.  Our table, bye the way, is well situated on the upper deck of the Gold Pearl restaurant with both side and stern window views (special thanks to Senior Carnival Cruise Director John Heald and our singing Matre di, Ken Byrne, for the fantastic table and eclectic mix of tablemates).
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