On our way to the “Venice and Brazil” tour the bus took us to the “Cultural Center,” which is an old prison with cells converted into stalls for crafts people. The bus took us past the old fort, through downtown.
But what interested me was when the bus passed the old train station that turned out to be just across the street from the market. I told the guide I was going across to look at the station. She told me it was not safe. “But it’s just across the street, I can see it, and the four policemen between me and it.”
“Well, hide the camera when you go across.”
I learned later that recently that someone grabbed the camera from the wrist of a woman making the same crossing. The wrist was broken in the scuffle. At dinner one of our table mates told us there were two attempts to snatch her purse within the market. She held on but this confirmed Recife as kind of a rough place for purses and cameras. Another cruise mate was not as fortunate. He was wearing a gold chain (not a good idea). As he was standing in line to get on the shuttle bus back to the ship someone rushed him and knocked him and his wife over, an accomplice grabbed the chain and ran.
When I entered the train station, the attendant called me over and asked I sign a registry. He was very happy when he saw “Alaska.” Here are some pics from the station. The ones taken of the outside were from the bus. I was true to my word to the guide.
The Cultural center itself has three galleries of cells, now shops, with walkways along each gallery supported by wrought iron. At the point where the four arms of the prison intersect is a large two panel mural “Frei Caneca” (the name of the revolutionary) by Cicero Dias depicting the revolution of 1817. There is a panel of the leader being shot by a firing squad, arms outstretched, looking Christlike. There are also panels of priests leading soldiers and of people trying to barricade the door against the army outside.
On the way back from the catamaran the bus gave us the option of going back to the ship or being dropped off in the old Bario, oldtown. She said this was a safe neighborhood and we could easily walk back to the ship without the likelihood of being robbed.
To see the first post from Recife click here.