Location: Joao Pessoa, Brazil
Bon Dia from Joao Pessoa! We just landed here and have started our adventures off with a wild bus ride to where Dora lives.
Dora Saclarides was the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, and was able to acquire a teaching position at the University Federal in Joao Pessoa (J.P.), Brazil. Its a beautiful city situated on the Eastern most tip of the continent of South America. It is the capital of Paraiba and has a population of 674,762.
Since Dora was living in Brazil for a year, we had to go visit her while she was there. We got two weeks off of work, boarded a flight and took off for South America. Upon arrival in J.P. we decided to take a public bus to Doras home where she lived with several other students. We boarded the bus with our hands warmed by two delicious Brazilian empanadas and took off down a road that was riddled with potholes and crammed with locals. We passed by neighborhoods and watched as life in Brazil unfolded before our eyes. Denos Portuguese language skills came in handy as we had to make several transfers throughout the city. A few hours later we finally found ourselves at Doras door. We were met with a very worried version of Dora who admonished us for taking the bus, not knowing the area, and being two hours late for the appointed meeting time. (Sorry Dora). We settled in and took in our surroundings.
The apartment was situated two blocks from a beautiful sandy beach that stretched for miles. There was a boardwalk that was filled with cafes and food stands, volleyball nets were set up and there were students and families out enjoying the sunshine. Further down the boardwalk there were fresh fish markets, and gift shops, all wrapped in the hubbub of daily life. Dora lived with several other residents in a communal living space. There was a shared kitchen and deck, and her room was very cute and small.
We bought fresh fruits and veggies from the local markets and partook of healthy, fresh Brazilian juices every morning on Doras porch overlooking the beach and in the afternoons we would explore or visit Dora as she taught her students at the University.
We were able to meet the kindest lady named Fatima who cooked us a wonderful dinner and invited us to play music and sing with her friends. The warmth of their hospitality will always be a highlight of our trip to Brazil.
Dora was the perfect host making sure we saw the markets, visited churches, danced with the locals and of course tasted the local fire water Cachaca. Deno bargained for fresh blue crabs one night and we had a spectacular crab dinner out on the deck that evening.
We had magical evenings walking for miles on the beach, and listening to the sounds of the Atlantic ocean hit the shores.
The trip to Joao Pessoa still fills my mind with sunny memories, and of a life that is happening so far away. We hope that one day we will return again to enjoy the simple and beautiful life that we found in Joao Pessoa, Brazil.
Denos first visit to Kodiak to meet the parents. It was very jam packed with hiking, music, church services, family and friends. Deno fell in love with Alaska and all its outdoors glory. Our family was so happy to meet Deno and I thank God it all went well.