We started out Sunday as we liked to start a lot of our mornings, leisurely lounging around our hotel. We would take turns getting showered and ready while the other girls sat at the pool, checked email/Facebook/Twitter*/checking account balances, read, napped or nibbled away at the hotel’s breakfast buffet.


*I should add that, on this particular Sunday, Lauren won posters in a Twitter contest that MLS was running.


Eventually, we packed up our purses and our camera and we went back to explore more of Olinda. Including, of course, more old churches.


And more steep hills.


And some of Olinda’s Carnival puppets.


Apparently Olinda is a great place to celebrate Carnival and they have the (creepy) Carnival puppets to prove it. We ran into a few puppets around town, but somehow managed to find ourselves in a creepy Carnival puppet depot. Not a place you want to venture alone. Or at night.


While we were walking back to the hotel, we noticed that the library seemed to be open. Well, it wasn’t. But there was a security guard on hand and Katie used Spanish and hand gestures and blue eyes to get us inside.

It wasn’t fancy but it was fun to see. (For the library nerd of the group, anyway.)


It was a warm morning, so we didn’t adventure around Olinda for too terribly long. The hotel pool and the caipirinhas — always the caipirinhas — were calling our name. It was the perfect afternoon to spend poolside.

It was also the perfect afternoon to spend at the beach, which was our plan for later in the afternoon: to tear ourselves away from the pool long enough to get to the beach. Because that, boys and girls, is what vacation is all about.
We packed up beach bags and a change of clothes and headed off to Boa Viagem beach, which is right in Recife.


There would be no swimming on our trip to the beach because Boa Viagem has a shark problem. There are signs everywhere warning you of the aggressive tiger and bull sharks; the beach is considered one of the most dangerous places to swim in the world.

But the sharks can’t keep you from getting a few chairs and an umbrella from a vendor (they loan you supplies, you buy a few drinks from them) and staking out a place in the sand.


Our first half-hour at the beach was magnificent. And then Mother Nature reminded us that it was the rainy season in Recife. We huddled underneath our umbrella as the rain rolled in. Our umbrella vendor was the Patron Saint of the Beachgoer and he ran around in his Speedo, bringing us extra umbrella after extra umbrella until we were encased in clever little umbrella cocoon and out of the rain.

The weather hindered our plans; we packed up our beach bags and crossed the avenue in search of a restaurant. Instead of bathing in the nonexistent sunshine, we nibbles on appetizers and watched Belgium/Russia.

After that, we amped up our Americana and headed down the street to Underground. Underground was the bar where many of the Americans staying in Recife had decided to gather to watch the USA game.

As it was expected that the bar would be packed with Americans (the proprietor hired an English translator for the afternoon), we arrived early enough to watch the Korea/Algeria game, too.

As soon as we walked in, we were waved over to the table of our fellow Midwesterners who were staying in our hotel. Perfect!

It was the start of a beautiful vacation friendship.


It was a great time, being obnoxious American fans and cheering like maniacs for the entire match. We were so incredibly patriotic that a (presumably Portuguese) even came over to our table to specifically yell at us! (To return the favor, we went to his table to do our celebratory dance near him when USA scored.)


You might remember this game. Portugal scored to tie the game in extra time and it was awful and I don’t want to talk about it any longer. It was a draw that felt like a loss.


As proper Americans, we rallied in the face of adversity and squeezed in a cab and headed back to Olinda. Our band of merry Americans finished off the night with a trip to the Creperia. Because chocolate crepes are therapeutic. Then we headed back to the hotel, took a quick swim and crawled into bed. We fell to sleep with visions of stars and stripes (and not that awful last-second equalizer!) dancing in our heads.


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