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Recife, the merging of rivers and cultures . . .

Gê 18/11/2002


magical, fascinating,

illuminated all year by the sun’s tropical rays,

strategically situated at the very north east of Brazil and South America,

open to the sea with the “sea-blue colour of the south” where the rivers Capibribe and Beriebe, who should have the last names “Brazilian Venice”,

protected by a barrier reef, hence the name Recife,

populated by the descendants of indian tribes who lived in harmony with the vibrant forces of nature until the arrival of the Portuguese who invaded (or “discovered” depending on your history) the region at the beginning of the 16th century with their weapons and their cross,

the little sister of Olinda, where there are many religious orders,

scared with the blood of the african slaves brought and forced to work in the sugar plantations,

changed by the occupation of the Dutch between 1637 and 1657 who arrived with more scientific and artistic goals,

assaulted and defended by its forts, battles fought between the Dutch and Portuguese, between others on Guararapes Mountain,

gentrified in 19th centure by the French, leaving their mark in the old city of Recife with his achitecture, the Teatro Santa Isabel surrounded by the iron statues, the Marcado São Jose, the trainstation,

rebel town which steered the flow of revolutionaries,

flooded town and devasted,

a convergence of rhythms, dance, indo-afro-brasilian like the Toré, the Candomblé, the Caboclinhos, the Maracatu, the Pastoril, the Frevo, the Forró etc.

Recife complete with the inequalities so harsh and visible at every moment . . . including the rich sugar cane factories built on slavery, now face the favelas of the formerly “landless”, now “homeless” and unemployed who provide most of the services of the luxurious neighbourhood of Boa Viagem or elsewhere on the streets, kind people, helpful, couragious, deft, artistic . . .

Recife, fascinating . . . magical . . . glowing . . . one must taste everything with ones eyes, ears and heart and let soak in the colours, smells and the multitude of images that live in constant motion in the streets with names like no other : rua do Sol, rua da Aurora, rua da Soledade, rua da Saudade, rua da Urião, rua do Sossego, rua das Flores, roa das Ninfas . . . streets in which the vendours cry out the name of the delicious fruits and vegetables they carry in their boxes: macaxeira! pitanga! manga! abacaxi! pitomba!

Recife nothing else . . . .