WHAT IT BECOMES
In Recife, like in many tropical cities, dust, sweat, and humidity mingle in a soundless force that sometimes feels like another element of na ture. Dust carried by ocean wind and river breezes is kept in motion by an army of buses disgorging brown plumes of exhaust. Dust and bus smog settle across everything in a fine grey gauze, which sweat con geals into a thin gel on the neck and forehead and in the creases where limbs bend. Humidity adds a sense of suffocation, not just of one’s breath but of the skin itself. Rain is no relief, only making sweat bead and trickle faster, and giving the dust a mudlike quality that stains buildings as it streaks windows and eyeglasses.