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, August 21, 2005

August 21, 2005

Hi, Everybody…

Well, it’s time for another week’s entry into the BLOG; I'm getting toward the end of the writing now. I’m coming back to the States the first of September and will suspend Brazil Traveler until I return. (I really don’t think any of you will want to hear the boring live I’ll be living in the US) In the meantime, my wonderful friend, Norman has included pictures from last week’s trip to Cumbuco. As always he has done a great job of setting things up for your viewing pleasure; just copy and paste, then click on Picture Archives then click on August 16th for the first batch and August 17th for the second batch; I will send you links in my notifications.

There won’t be as many “wild life” pictures as usual; it was a very quiet day and there were other things of interest.

I had hoped to go to Morro Branco and Praia dos Fontes again last week but there was a mix-up and the only thing available was another trip to Cumbuco. I have already told you about the beach and won’t go into any lengthy details about that.

Ocean View provided me with transportation and another wonderful guide; I think her name was Kati. (It’s actually a longer name but I forgot to write it down.) As always when using Ocean View, I encountered total professionalism with her at the helm. It’s a relatively short trip to Cumbuco; I only had to wait a half hour before reaching the resort.

Once we arrived, we split up into groups for the buggies. I was placed with a young couple, Sabrina from Switzerland and Leonard from Holland and a young boy from France; Sergio. (It turned out that Sergio had been born in Fortaleza, then was adopted and moved to France…this was his first time here since he was six weeks old!) Both Sabrina and Leonard spoke excellent English which made it much easier for me.

We were really lucky…we got the same buggy driver that I had had a week earlier; we both immediately recognized each other and shook hands and exchanged hellos. Soon we were ready to take to the dunes again. Having run them a week earlier I knew what to expect but the others didn’t.

Our driver took off gently, then began taking the first dune. Riding the dunes can really be exciting; the ones in Cumbuco are somewhat unique in that they rise so high. We would find ourselves screaming our heads off as we dove down a two hundred foot Dune. Ten minutes out we stopped at the same lake as we had the week before for some sand-surfing. Because both Sabrina and Leonard were expert snow-skiers, they thought they could use the same principles to sand; they found out that it doesn’t work that way. (Sabrina later told me that anyone living in Switzerland skis every day from morning to night during season.) They took four or five spills apiece before being able to do a passable job of going down the dune. After fifteen minutes, we decided to move on.

From there we went to Banana Lake, a little rest stop a few kilometers from Cumbuco. There you can ride ski boats, swim in a fresh water lake, have a Guarana or beer and relax by the water. There are lots of trees and shade and it’s quite comfortable. We had a drink and left to ride the dunes again. (I discovered that the batteries ran out in my camera; I had some more back at the resort but it didn’t help me there.)

A half an hour on the dunes was a lot of fun, especially when observing the look on Sergio’s face. Fear was the description of the trip. Here he was, out in the middle of nowhere with three gringos, two young ones who spoke a little French and some old guy who kept asking “OK?”, zipping over sand dunes at fifty kilometers an hour, bouncing up and down and getting constantly hit by the wind in his face…why wouldn’t there be a look of total terror? Anyway, for the rest of us it was a lot of fun.

When we arrived back at the resort, our buggy driver laughingly said that he would see me again next week. Sabrina, Leonard and I were hungry so we ordered lunch. As I said earlier, food is generally cooked for two at these places. The food has always been outstanding (Everything that I’ve eaten practically while in Brazil has been excellent.) and plentiful. We ordered fish and shrimp, had two kinds of rice, two kinds of potatoes, vegetables, and fruit. The cost of this was less than eleven dollars apiece.

The West coast of Ceara is one of the best Wind Surfing areas in the world; people from all over the world come here to wind surf and kite board. August through October provide some of the most excellent wind conditions you can ever imagine. My friend, Peter has been doing it for years from Paracaru (see last week’s BLOG). Today, Cumbuco was full of wind surfers and wind kiters. As I walked the beach I saw at least five or six boards and several kites. It’s really fascinating to watch. The kite-boarders will come down to the water, make a run, then flip up in the air only to ride the wind back out to sea, then come down again and do another run. I stayed for more than an hour watching them.

At four we headed back to Fortaleza where things were calmer. It had been another wonderful day in Fortaleza.

Sunday, Andy and I drove up the East coast to Prainha, a small resort community a half an hour east of Fortaleza using the coast highway from Beach Park east. When I was here four years ago the area around Beach Park was primarily barren, perhaps ten or twelve houses in the area; now it is built up and there are resorts, houses and condos everywhere. These are not cheap housing; they are beach houses that are quite expensive.

Entering Prainha, you would never know that you’re only fifteen kilometers from Fortaleza; it has its own personality and doesn’t associate its self with Fortaleza at all. It is full of mom-and-pop stores, has a couple of little restaurant/bars, a bus station, a square, its own school and all the things that would be expected by a self-contained community. On the hill overlooking the village are large houses which are owned by people in Fortaleza who want to get away from the city for a weekend.

Andy and I spent a half an hour driving around and looking, assessing whether it would be a good place for a client of Andy’s. We then decided to return to Fortaleza. Being hungry, we stopped at a restaurant along the way. It was Father’s Day in Brazil, so the place was filled with families. They also had a small group that were playing jazz and bossa nova.

Now, those who know me know that I will take every opportunity I have to listen to jazz, especially bossa nova and Brazilian MPB. Being a musician myself I can expect an occasional flaw in the music; when you’re playing live that can happen. Folks, in my ENTIRE LIFE, I have NEVER heard as bad of music being played as was coming from the bandstand. They were worse than my first band in El Paso, Texas! We had to endure almost an hour and a half of the WORST playing I have ever heard. I wanted to get up on the bandstand and take over the piano but Andy wisely told me that if I started, we’d never get out; they would have me finishing the gig and afterwards, the piano player would probably either bug me for lessons or shoot me for embarrassing him. After an hour and a half of cringing and wishing I were somewhere else, we returned to the car and home. Andy put some nice Brazilian Calypso on to calm the ear drums.

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s BLOG; as usual, I would like to have your comments, either on the BLOG or via email. Have a good week. My next BLOG will include lots and lots of pictures since it will probably be the last one that I write from Brazil. It will contain pictures of Lagoinha, Pecem, Morro Branco, Praia dos Fontes and Canoa Quebrada and will be actually about two weeks coverage.



Blogger Norman said...

Hiya John!
I decided to fly a 737 from Fort to Miami. Well, I could have had the real thing you know, but instead, due to time constraints I decided on one in Flight Simulator. Well, I left the thing running, checking every so often. I was embarrassed when it ran out of jooce about halfway to Floriddy and ditched itself in the ocean. Luckily there were a couple of jangada fisherman out there so I caught a ride back to the states with them. The only bad part was they forgot their charcoal lighter fuel so all I had to eat was raw fish.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Sandra B said...

Excellent scenery! Looks like you had a very good time.

Give us a call when you get back to boring old Phoenix.

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