Location: Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil

After visiting Fortaleza, Brazil and feeling comfortable there, I decided to finally retire and spend some time persuing my dream: moving to Brazil. I'm spending six months in Fortaleza deciding if this is what I really want or if it is just one more step in my life. I have been fortunate enough to do everything I ever wanted to do, have had a good career in Air Traffic Control and am now ready to go out and have fun. I played jazz for many years and it is my second passion. I also just finished the first draft of my novel, "Song For A Sad Smile" and will work on researching my next book. My idea is that all of us should "Do the Dream" and follow your heart, no matter how old you are. The final question that you'll ask when your life is almost over should be: "Did I do everything I wanted to do?" If your answer is anything except "yes" then you're not living life to its fullest.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I finally got my email up Friday night around 8:30 and spent Friday night and Saturday morning going through and answering the 95 emails that I have received since I've been here. Now I can communicate through something other than smoke signals.

Well, I'm here; it's different living here than visiting, that's for sure. The biggest hurdle is the language; while Spanish is similar in the written form, in the oral form it's totally different. I had hoped to be able to at least communicate a little but the words are spoken completely different and I'm not understood most of the time and can't understand a word that is being spoken.

Everything is done "whenever"; whenever I want to, whenever I can get around to it, whenever there isn't something else to do, whenever somebody more powerful doesn't want it first, etc. Because of that I have been spending a lot of time at the apartment waiting for "whenever"; whenever I can get the lease signed for the apartment, whenever I can get the telephone in, whenever I can get connected to the Internet, whenever I can get cable TV, whenever I can get the shower fixed, whenever I can get the bottled water, whenever I can get the maid here to do my laundry, clean, iron my cloths and cook two meals ($7.00 a whole day!!!) get the picture. You had better stop thinking like an American and expect things to operate on "Brazil time"; another word for "whenever".

It's the end of the rainy season so there's been a lot of rain, mostly at night. Thursday and Friday it rained later than usual; usually it ends by 7:00 or so. It can rain very hard but there doesn't seem to be much wind associated with it; it almost comes straight down. Not only that, but it isn't a cold rain; it's almost shower temperature. The weather is great this afternoon; the wind shifted and has dried out the air some.

I've been eating good though differently; mostly I have been eating very light compared to what I eat in the US. The main meal here is the mid-day meal; that's one of the reasons why Brazilians remain so slim. The dinner might consist of a couple of pieces of cheese, a little meat and perhaps some grapes and that is about all. I think I've lost three or four pounds so far; I'm noticing that my cloths are fitting looser than before. The pizza here is so good it's unbelievable. Almost everything I have eaten has been wonderful except that most of it has chicken and I'm not a big chicken fan; I prefer beef or fish.

My apartment is nice; I knew what it would be like because I stayed one floor below when I was here in October and they are all exactly the same. It's around 650 sq. ft. with two small bedrooms, two really small bathrooms, a kitchenette, a dining and living area and the bedroom air conditioned (a real plus). Because I don't need a dining room table, I'm going to rent a keyboard and set it up there. The living room is really small, but it has a little TV and such. I've hooked up my portable CD player to some nice speakers I sent down as well as power and have music. (I brought down 130 CDs from Phoenix.) All in all, it's pretty comfortable and I'm surviving quite well.

Fortaleza is big; old but big!!! They're building apartments like crazy and, by American standards they are inexpensive though not as much as a few years ago. (Real estate inflation has hit EVERYWHERE!!!!) I had hoped to look at a penthouse condo here but it had sold by the time I got here. That's kind of good because I wasn't sure I wanted to let loose of the money and buy anything until after I made a decision as to my future. Most of the city consists of older buildings and is definitely "third world". You see an awfully lot of poverty here and even the people that are middle class are not as well off as you see in the US. The only thing that I can say is that after living here, I never want to hear about how poor people have it in the US; they don't even know what it is like!

Because people eat


Blogger aracati_gringo said...

Hi John
I will be back in Aracati this week so feel free to come and visit WHENEVER you feel like it .

1:31 AM  
Blogger Ed Skinner said...

When in Rome ...
I thought you were learning some Portuguese from tapes (CD?)? Perhaps there's a language school where you could trade some classroom time in Portuguese with some time doing conversational English.
I wonder if you'll be seeing some of the Gaijin effect? (I'm probably spelling that wrong.) Foreign visitors to Japan are treated politely by locals but foreigners who take up residence sometimes report a more brusque treatment.
Enjoyed the pictures (by direct Email) buy my mail program choked initially because they're so big. I eventually sorted things out but it was still a pain. Once that was straightened out, however, it was nice to see what you see looking out your windows. Looks like you're really in the middle of everything with water in range, too.
Sure would be nice to have the pictures in your blog. Maybe you've already looked but at home page, if you click Help and then, on the right, click "How do I post pictures", it claims to say how to do it.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Norman said...

Hiya John,
Ed is righter than he knows. In many ways Brasillys are a LOT like Japanese. The endless arroz bowl is only the beginning. Yes means "whenever"...etc. Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.
They are also herd animals. Strange herd animals.
I really enjoyed your commentary. I read every word with great interest. As always you are a great relater of details, and the fun is in the details as we see how the experiment is coming along. You have my rapt attention!!! Please don't get bored with the narrative. Continue! (And quit bugging the maid while she's trying to clean up around there!)

5:46 PM  
Blogger Yourson said...

Where are you?

11:29 PM  

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