By Tamashin
I was duty bound to reply to Richard Conti’s article of May 24th particularly in defense of João Pessoa in the North East of Brasil.

First though, I would like to say that not only do I live in JP, but I also speak with many locals and gringos, consider myself to be well read on most things JP and have indeed written many posts and articles on this fair city. Further, in my attempts to buy a property here, I have befriended many estate agents.

What I will attempt to do is finish off some of the statements made by Richard with facts. All, of course, meant in the nicest possible way.

The value of the Dollar is falling but are people just spending the dollar in JP? No there are people from all over the world and you do meet a wide range of travelers here. Those that choose to stay need to be catered for, homes are built, if you want one in a particular area or of a particular quality then you have to pay a little more or less. I am currently home hunting and can provide a detailed list of all the properties in my main areas of interest. I can honestly say I haven’t noticed prices severely inflating”. Greed of estate agents was mentioned but is it not just the laws of supply and demand coming into play?

No improvements, Richard? As I write the airport is being refurbished and modernized to accommodate more flights. This doesn’t seem to inhibit the number of flights coming in at the moment. More companies will be flying to the North-East by January 2008. You can fly to JP from many of Brasils main cities, or you can always fly in to Recife or Natal which is not unlike flying into Gatwick, Stanstead or Luton to get to London. As you leave the main road to the airport you join well tarmacced main roads including the BR101 and the BR230. Both are undergoing major work in some form or other. The BR101 is being turned into a super highway all the way to Recife and the BR230 is undergoing road widening towards Campina Grande and the interior. A little further in by the university the road system has been completely redesigned and redeveloped. The northern areas of Bessa and Intermares are having the earth roads replaced with block paving and the drainage systems are being installed and overhauled. There are many other places where you can see road works being carried out. Note particularly in the South around the famous Farol or lighthouse. The road system has been completely redesigned and a new science and technology centre is in the process of being built. New condos are being built too in that area. The money is coming from somewhere and I believe Lula and the local councils are investing heavily in the area. Did you not know about the work going on with the dams and the rerouting of the São Fransico river?

As for overcrowding I think the pudding is being over egged somewhat! Take a look at the wide open spaces of Intermares and Bessa or look to the Southern areas of JP where there are new road systems in place awaiting housing projects.

Let the buyer beware! Sound words, Richard and a worthy maxim to boot but it applies the world over and not just to Brazil.
If you feel JP is an area of particular concern, then give us examples, share the horror stories help us understand why we should be extra cautious.

Beach erosion is happening all over the world, including England. Why Robin Hood Bay is disappearing before our very eyes and yes, the burghers’ of JP have recognized this and have taken steps to prevent further damage by implementing a beach erosion scheme. The barrier can be seen at the round-a-bout at the bottom of Cabo Branco. You cant criticize someone for protecting the beach. While we are on about Cabo Branco lets not forget the new lighting columns that have been put in along the paved beach front area.

I, for one, am not disheartened by João Pessoa. I love it here, the people I meet, both Pessoenses and Gringoes, love it here but mostly my good lady wife and children do too. The looks on their faces when we drive home from school along the sea front by Tambau and Manaira say it all.

I look forward to your future articles. Meant in the nicest and sincerest possible way!

Readers comments:

I am 100% in agreement with your article, its the market that dictates the price, the last few articles using the word “greed” to reflect the rise in real estate prices is wrong, any individual has the right to ask what they want for goods or property, the market will say if he is greedy, for it, won’t sell beacuse of his greed. I lived in Seattle and in the begining of the 90’s, an apartment that cost USD$80,000, todays is easily sold for USD$ 230,000, my brother just sold his, is this greed ? of course not, its the old saying “Whatever the market will bear”.

— Ed

Tamashin is a retired civil engineer who first came to Brazil in 1993 to help build a community centre for street children in Rio. He now lives in João Pessoa with his Brazilian wife and children.

Previous articles by Tamashin:

Popular Brazilian Expressions Part 7
Popular Brazilian Expressions Part 6
Popular Brazilian Expressions Part 5
Popular Brazilian Expressions Part 4
Popular Brazilian Expressions Part 3
Popular Brazilian Expressions Part 2
Popular Brazilian Expressions Part 1
Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 5
Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 4
Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 3
Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 2
Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 1
Brazil: The Great North Road Part 6
Brazil: The Great North Road Part 5
Brazil: The Great North Road Part 4
Brazil: The Great North Road Part 3
Brazil: The Great North Road Part 2
Brazil: The Great North Road Part 1

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