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, July 17, 2005

July 17,2005

Hi, Everybody….

Well, it’s another week in Fortaleza, Brazil. Life is still good, the sun has begun shining every day and the rain has stopped until next February (I hope). The city is full of Brazilian and European tourists (its High Season here) and is bursting with people and fun things to do.

Exciting news: Norman finally got the Web Page done and I can include pictures with the BLOG from here on out. Below is a link to pictures so that you can get an idea of what I am talking about. Please link to July 17th for this week’s pictures of Morro Branco and Praia dos Fontes.

As I said in last week’s BLOG, I went to Morro Branco and Praia dos Fontes on Tuesday for the day. I called OceanView Travel Friday afternoon to arrange a trip there; I always use OceanView because I think it is the best tour agency in Fortaleza.

A bus arrived at 8:30 in the morning with my old friend, Alber as the tour guide. (Alber had been one of my tour guides when I was here in 2001; this time his English was much better than before.) After greetings were exchanged, I settled down in the bus; soon it would be filled with people. The bus continued picking up several more people before beginning the journey to the beach.

Morro Branco is an hour and a half east of Fortaleza; it a beautiful protected area now that has several sand cliffs and a trail leading to the beaches below. There are two ways to see Morro Branco, by sand buggy or to walk; I chose to walk. The bus let us out at the entrance to the walkway at the top of the cliffs. Walking for about three kilometers (a mile and a half) among the streets of the village you encounter several little stalls which sell everything from sand-bottles to bikini coverings to lace to refreshments. When I was here in 2001 there were only about a dozen, but now there must have been fifty or more.

In the middle of the area is the Church of Saint Peter; it’s very small and very beautiful. It is large enough for the population of Morro Branco but not much more. The streets are made of cobblestone and shooting off in all directions from the church are cobblestone walkways with houses along both sides. In small villages like this, the church is the center of the city. It is VERY beautiful.

At the far eastern edge of the village the trail down to the beach begins. There is a map which shows the area from Morro Branco to Praia dos Fontes and gives approximate kilometers to each as well as other interesting sights along the way. Then the trail begins.

While you only go down about two hundred feet you encounter a twisty, winding trail that has natural sweet water springs, nine different shades of sand and a wonderfully cross section of the land in that area. It takes about a half an hour to traverse from the top of the cliff to the bottom and you see many beautiful colors along the way. The sad thing is that people have carved things into the walls of the cliffs; this is why it has become a state preserve area today. (It was just moved into this status less than a year ago.)

When you reach the bottom, you walk along the ocean back to the buses at the bottom of the cliff about five kilometers away. The water is warm, the surf is low and the smell of the ocean is your friend. From the bottom you can see how Morro Branco has begun to be built up; when I was here in 2001 there were three small buildings on the beach; today they have houses springing up everywhere. Soon it will be spoiled for the tourists.

We loaded on the bus and left Morro Branco for Praia dos Fontes about five kilometers east. The road lead us past the local school and police station, past clean and well-kept houses, along several fields of agriculture until we encountered a dirt road with a fence between the road and the Ocean. We drove for a kilometer to an entryway and into one of the hotel/resorts of Praia dos Fontes.

This resort area is open to the public; I visited it the last time I was here also. When you walk in, to your right is a very nice small water park with slides, a man-made stream and other things to have fun in the water. Ahead are several stores where you can buy shirts, swimming trunks and other memorabilia to remind you of your stay here.

There are three pools and two very nice restaurants that serve everything from hamburgers to full meals. Around the main pool are several cabanas with lots of chairs and tables. The main pool is very large and the water is warm. Across from the pool is a large restaurant where you can get food luncheonette style. Your food cost R$2.95 per 100 grams (about $1.25) and you have a huge assortment of meats, vegetables, pastas and other good stuff as well as twelve to fifteen types of dessert. There are also cans of coke, guarana and other soft drinks, beer and bottled water.

If you cross the pool area you can walk down the cliff to the beach; there are several areas along the descent where you can stop and rest or take in the view of the ocean as well as wonderful cabanas along the way. The view is spectacular and you can see for miles in every direction. Once you have reached the bottom and the beach you can walk along it or take a swim or just relax in the sun. The water is very warm and not too salty in that area. The surf is not high and it’s really a lot of fun to play in the water.

At three-thirty Alber gathered up everybody and had us pay our bill as well as the transportation to and from the beachs and our entry into the resort area. The entire bill, including all transportation was $22.00 American for a wonderful day of fun in the sun and sand. The bus transported us all back to our doorstep; I arrived back at my apartment at 6:20 in the evening.

OceanView, along with other tour agencies provides several day-trip packages like this; costs are between $12.00 and $15.00 for the day. It’s much better than driving; the buses are comfortable, the tour guides are very knowledgeable and you arrive rested and ready for a day of fun.

This week I think I’m going to Laguainha for the day; I’m saving Canoa Quebrada for when my friend, John is back in town. All in all, there are a lot of other things to do that make a vacation/living in Fortaleza a wonderful experience.

Last week two friends and I went to Dragona del Mar for pizza; the pizza in Fortaleza is wonderful if you don’t care a lot for tomato sauce. Pizzas here have a lot more cheese than tomato sauce and the crust is sometimes filled with cheddar cheese.

The weekends are a time to play in Fortaleza and you don’t have to be sixteen to have fun. There are block parties in every neighborhood, several dance clubs and night clubs galore. Half the city shows up for fun somewhere on Friday and Saturday nights; the dance clubs are filled with people ranging in age from fifteen to seventy-five, all to have fun.

Daytime means beach time in Fortaleza; the east beaches are filled with people. You might run into a friend or someone that you haven’t seen for a year while there. Thousands of people flock to the beaches to eat crab, play in the water and lie in the sun. Because there are more women than men in Fortaleza it is a wonderful spot for all of us single guys to watch the best bikinis in the world.

Anyway, this is life in Fortaleza; a life of fun, sun, sand, gentle breezes, excellent food and a life completely different than anything I ever experienced in the United States…for a third of the price. I’m thinking that I might NEVER come back!!!

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s BLOG; please write and let me know or write your comments at the bottom of the page. I hope you all have a wonderful week; I know that I will.



Blogger Sandra B said...

Sounds like you are had a good time, the ladies in the photos were very cute.

2:52 AM  

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