February 16th, 2012
We’ve just departed Maceio, Brazil – my first landfall in ten days (I was on duty in Barbados and the stop at Devil’s Island was canceled due to weather). It was good to get off the ship for a few hours.
Maceio is known as “Brazil’s Beach.” The name comes from an old native word meaning “water that comes from the ground,” as there are many lakes and lagoons in the area. The beach is covered in palm trees and is quite beautiful. The trade winds keep the temperature manageable even in the height of summer and the water is very warm.
Behind the row of upscale hotels lining the coast, Maceio quickly becomes a city of rough concrete buildings and broken tile roofs. Poverty lives three blocks from the tourist zone. I was sitting on a bench, cleaning the sand off of my feet, when I saw one of the dancers deposit a bit of trash in a trash can, including an empty coconut that shortly before had been filled with delicious beverage (complete with straw and miniature umbrella). As soon as she left, the man sitting next to me hurried over to the can and went through what she had thrown away. The coconut was his ultimate prize – he brought it back to his companions and they smashed it open on the ground before eating it.
Two different worlds.