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.

Friday, July 29, 2005

July 29, 2005

Hello, Everybody….

Well, another week has come and gone in Beautiful Fortaleza, Brazil. I had a rather interesting week with lots of great things happening. Because of my wonderful friend, Norman I have included pictures again; this time I went to Mundau. You can either “cut and paste”, click on Photo Archives, then on July 29th or I will include the link to my notification.

Tuesday morning, bright and early at seven o’clock I received a call from Andriana of Ocean View (as I said, I ALWAYS use them) telling me that they would pick me up at seven-thirty to go to Mundau. Mundau is a very quiet, almost uninhabited beach ninety-four miles west of here. The mouth of the Mundau River flows into the ocean at that point and there is a little fishing village located just east of the river’s mouth and a resort area about three kilometers east of that.

The drive out takes nearly two hours; there is a short stop for a restroom break and coffee, food, etc. near the half-way point. A lot of the route is the same as it was to Lagoinha the week before through green rolling hills, lots of agriculture and palm trees of various sorts. It is a beautiful drive, the road is good and during the week there is very little traffic to contend with.

We arrived at ten thirty and were briefed as to what things were available at the resort. The highlight is a two hour trip on a boat that goes up the river nearly five miles before turning around and coming back. I, of course elected to take the trip. Ocean View had all of the tourists for the day at the resort; about fifteen in all and we decided to take the trip.

The day was beautiful and warm, the water pristine and the beach perfect. We were loaded into the back of a truck and driven the three kilometers to the boat where we boarded for our trip. The boat took off and cut across the bay to the river. For the next two hours our guide showed us beautiful jungle islands, various types of fish, wild animals and other things that were along the river. We stopped for a little while to walk around and enjoy the river and the beach. During the complete trip there was no sign of civilization, just water, jungle and beach.

When we arrive back at the resort the lunch that we had ordered prior to starting our trip was ready for us. I was going to eat alone but two beautiful Brazilian women, Valeria and Sarini invited me to join them. What an absolute delight that was; Valeria spoke no English though Sarini did speak some. We had a lot of fun trying to communicate, them with their struggle with English and me with my terrible Portuguese. Anyway, we finished and then went to the beach for the afternoon.

The water was warm and the sky was clear, the beach was quiet and you couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful time. While I was there I got to know everyone in the group and I got to take a lot of pictures of them. Tetiana and Glasia are from Rio, Gabriala and her mother are from Sao Paulo, Valeria and Sarini are from Goiania. (I have to say that Sarina is stunningly beautiful; she also is totally Brazilian in her appearance and attitude; warm, congenial and fun-loving.)

We loaded up for the evening and drove back to Fortaleza where everyone disembarked to their various residences. It was a quiet ride back because everyone was tired from a wonderful day of pristine beaches, warm water and wonderful sun. As always, Ocean View gave excellent service throughout our tour.

Thursday I was invited to my friend, Erica’s Master’s degree presentation of her thesis on the ecological and geographical effects caused by tourism at Praia do CantoVerde, a small beach seventy-three miles from here. If you have never attended one of these presentations it is quite an event and to be asked to be a part of it is quite a privilege. It was held at the University in the Geography Department; there were three professors and Erica. She spoke for more than an hour continually about this project. While I didn’t understand everything, because of her graphs and maps I could comprehend a lot of it. She told me later that she did quite well.

Erica and I along with other people have discussed the situation in this area quite a bit. The Portuguese have come here and invested hundreds of millions of dollars, buying up land and turning the property into huge developments, destroying the landside, throwing out the natives and generally doing no good here. They bring in Portuguese money for investment, hire Portuguese skilled labor such as architects, engineers, etc., use cheap Brazilian labor as they tear up the land and then, when the resorts are built they take their money back to Portugal. The Portuguese still think of Brazil as their colony and treat the Brazilians that way. They are condescending to the natives, they don’t spend any money here and act like they are doing everybody a favor.

They are buying every bit of beach front property they can for as cheaply as possible; they kick the Brazilians off and leave them to survive the best that they can. This is one of reasons why there is so much poverty in Ceara; the Portuguese, Dutch, Swiss, Germans and Italians pay nothing for the property and leave the Brazilians of the beach villages with no place to live, no income and no means of support. The people come to Fortaleza for jobs and there are none; they spend the little money they have and then have to live from hand to mouth.

The village at Praia do Conto Verde has passed a law that the land cannot be sold to anyone who isn’t part of the village; it has to stay in the villagers’ domain. Of course, the Portuguese are fighting this in Brasilia and the rest of Brazil is watching the results; if the villagers win, then this policy will probably be adopted throughout the country’s beach land; if not, there will be no way of stopping the developers from decimating the pristine beaches of Brazil.

This is the end of the Brazilian tourist High Season in Fortaleza; the Brazilians will now all go back to work and the city will begin to be filled with European tourists. The Italians, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Germans, the Swiss and some Spanish will begin coming here and swarming the bars, restaurants, beaches and hotels for a month. You can spot the tourists in a second; they usually are dressed differently and if they are a single man they will have a young beautiful Brazilian woman (many times a prostitute) hanging on their arm. They will spend a little money and make a big mess but Fortaleza is a poor city and welcomes the tourist dollar. Unlike the Brazilians that visit here, they will not appreciate the land nor the people; they’re here just to have fun and get away from their mundane life in their European homeland. In a month they’ll go home and Fortaleza will settle down to the day to day life once more.

I love it here; I like the beaches more and more each day. I love the Brazilian people and what they have to offer. Most of my friends are Brazilian and I spend hours talking to them about everything under the sun. They are very knowledgeable and love to hear a different viewpoint. I am continually complimented by them about my knowledge and love of their country. I feel like I belong here.

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s BLOG and please feel free to post a comment as always or write me an email. I’m still debating where I’ll be next week; either back to Morro Branco and Praia dos Fontes or to Cumbuco; I’m saving Canoa Quebrada for another day.



Blogger Sandra B said...

You look very happy John

1:39 AM  

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