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Notes on the Geography of Brazil: Boa Viagem

In 1709 Recife had a population of 16,000 people. Now it has 1.5 million in the city and 3.7 million in the metro. Where do they live? The city has spread out to the north, west, and south. Here we look at an affluent area between the sea and the airport.

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Seen through a (sealed, naturally) hotel window on Domingos Ferreira Avenue, which is a main street for traffic heading south from Recife. Never forget: Brazil may be vast, Brazil may be wild, but Brazilians live in highrise. Maybe not always, but as generalizations go, this one's good.

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Side streets aren't much more interesting. This one is parallel to the last and one block closer to the ocean.

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Fear not: the local Walmart is nearby, masquerading under another name.

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If you need something more stylish--shops or office space--you don't have to go far. That's RioMar Recife, sitting on an islet a mile from the sea; the developer (Grupo JCPM) runs shopping centers across Brazil. The three towers are the Plaza Business Center. You know, Americans don't have a monopoly on tedious names.

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Residents have a better idea. You know where they're headed.

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Lots of sand; better yet, there's a reef (recife in Portuguese) that calms the beach waves. The reef isn't coral, though; it's a sandstone from consolidated beach sands.

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Think there's a premium for apartments facing the sea?

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The sand goes on for miles.

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There's one small impediment, but bull and tiger sharks don't discourage everyone.

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The Edificio Aguas Claras in 2016 offered apartments of 2000 square feet for about $450,000.

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The bike lanes are free.

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Cape Town, Perth, Southern California, Recife: they all have a lot in common.

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A monument recalls the development of the neighborhood, Boa Viagem, about 1930.

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Is everything new in these southern districts? Answer: no. Here's a church from 1787.

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There's an active congregation, too, an indicator of greater piety than many North Americans and godless Europeans are used to.

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