After the slow and rocky ferry crossing, Atlas and I arrived past nine o’clock and still found ourselves eighteen kilometers from São Luís, which occupies an eponymous island jutting out to sea. With the windows fully sheathed, we passed a long low area of wispy sand pines, through which flashed a slightly sagging moon to the north. The smell of dry pine needles flooded the car. Without any road signs to guide us, we followed the flow of traffic through a chorus of welcoming crickets towards the beckoning moon.
While I was not thrilled to arrive in a strange, new city after dark, the translucent glow of São Luís’s lights soon replaced that of the low winter moon and our way was assured, to yet another remote, dilapidated equatorial port, the New Orleans of Brazil. [p.177, To Belém & Back]
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