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.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

August 9, 2005

Hi, Everybody...

It’s time for this week’s BLOG; I have lots of pictures for it. My friend, Norman had to do double for all of the pictures to be included, so you need to click “photo Archives”, then click “August 8, 2005” and when you’re done, click “August 9, 2005” to see all of the pictures. They were taken at two different places: Cumbuco and Paracaru. In order to get to the pictures you can “cut and paste” the following link or I will include it the link in my notification as usual.

I decided to go to Cumbuco on Thursday. Cumbuco is a small village that is located twenty miles west of Fortaleza; it has a beautiful beach with lots of dunes and sand as well as a calm ocean. As usual, Ocean View picked me up at the prescribed time of eight-fifty. We stopped and picked up some other people; the bus was completely full this time with no room to spare. My old friend Alber began speaking as we passed by downtown Fortaleza and explained all the things that were available at Cumbuco. We arrived at the resort around ten o’clock.

One of the options was a dune buggy ride over the sand dunes and roads around Cumbuco and out to Banana Lake where you can ride on jet skis if you are so inclined. I chose to do that since I had done it before and it was fun. Along the ride you stop at on top of a huge sand dune with a small lake at the bottom. You can rent a board and slide down the dune to the water below. It’s a lot of fun though a little bit scary.

Because of the size of the buggy only be four people can ride in it at a time. I was lucky enough to be placed with two beautiful sisters from Sao Jose dos Campos (by Sao Paulo) and a gentleman from Rome, Italy. We all were loaded into the buggy and away we went.

We drove out to the lake and Ubi and I both slid down the dune; the girls elected not to try it. All along the way the driver stopped and allowed us to take lots of pictures. (I have to say that Sandra and Sabrina were the most wonderful scenery imaginable.) We stopped at Banana Lake for refreshments and spent a half an hour there before continuing. We rode up and down the dunes for another half an hour, the girls screaming every time we took a particularly steep decent or slid around a sandy curve.

We arrived back at the resort at nearly noon; since the girls weren’t hungry yet we decided to lie in the sun and swim for a little while before eating. A walk to the beach is only yards away. We selected a cabana where we put our things and went into the ocean for a swim. The water was comfortable, probably close to eighty-five degrees.

After forty-five minutes or so we were getting hungry and ordered our lunch. As I said last week, lunch in a lot of the restaurants in Brazil are served for two; we ordered fish and shrimp and split the two lunches between the four of us giving wonderful exposure to lots of fantastic food.

After lunch we went back to the beach, tanned (or in my case, burnt) for a little while longer, then swam for another fifteen minutes and prepared to return to Fortaleza. We left Cumbuco around four and arrived back in Fortaleza before five.

I want to take a minute here to tell you about Sandra and Sabrina; they are typical of the Brazilian women that I have met here; warm, fun-loving, happy and very, very beautiful. I think that they are two of the loveliest women that I have had the pleasure of knowing anywhere. Both are well educated (Sandra is a dentist and Sabrina is a chemical engineer), open, intelligent, quite relaxed and sure of themselves. Like last week with Sinara and Valeria, the women were kind enough to include me in their day. I can truthfully say that I felt quite privileged to be a part of their vacation in Fortaleza.

On Saturday, my friend Andy and I went to Paracaru, a small city with the population of around thirty-five thousand people sixty miles west of Fortaleza. Andy was looking for property for some European investors and I was looking at the city with a possibility of staying there my next trip back. Our friend, Peter and his beautiful girlfriend, Susie showed us around for several hours before having lunch and returning to the city.

Paracaru is a located between Cumbuco and Lagoinha; it is a working city meaning that it is not dependent on the tourist dollar to make a living. Mostly agriculture and fishing provide income to the citizens. It terms of the States parts would be considered poor, but I didn’t see any poverty there like I see in Fortaleza. The streets are immaculate and there is no trash or graffiti anywhere in town. The city, like most Brazilian cities is built around the church. It is a beautiful church with a large square surrounding it. Just to the east of the church is a library and if you take several steps down from the square there is a nice French restaurant and the ocean below. The city has lots of music, a dance troupe that is famous throughout Brazil, a wonderful festival and is very civic minded which provides many opportunities for it’s citizens to have things to do.

We rode around town, taking pictures and looking at several things. At one point we saw a house for rent; Peter called the owner and found that the rent was $210.00 American a month! It was a medium sized house; probably around a thousand square feet but Peter didn’t go into details with the owner since I wasn’t planning on renting it at this time. It was one block from the beach and four blocks from the town square. (Prices tend to be higher the closer to the square you are.)

There are several houses for rent or sale around Paracaru; small houses can be bought for as little as $3,000 American; mansions can run close to a million dollars. A large, nice home near the square can be purchased for around $35,000 American right now.

Peter said that the large homes around town are owned mainly by rich people from Fortaleza that want to own a weekend home; they might come out for a while when school is out or during the holidays but mostly the houses stay vacant with a maid and gardener watching over the property most of the year. So far, the Europeans haven’t discovered Paracaru yet though they are buying property in both directions from there.

We were all getting hungry and Peter and Susie suggested a little restaurant that had grilled chicken and steak for lunch. We ordered both and had rice, beans, and Feijoada, a Brazilian dish consisting of pork, chicken rice and beans in a delicious sauce. To drink we split a two liter bottle of Guarana. The whole meal cost ten dollars; two dollars and fifty cents apiece; you couldn’t buy that meal in the states for fifty dollars!

Andy and I left around one-thirty and drove back to Fortaleza, enjoying the beautiful countryside and the cleanliness of rural Brazil. Ceara’s western coastal area is quite beautiful; much more green and rolling that the area to the east of Fortaleza. It could be anywhere in Eastern Oklahoma, the wine country of California or Southern Canada. The last of the Brazilian coastal forest is in Ceara; it has mostly been destroyed and turned into farm land in the rest of Brazil.

Saturday night Andy and I went to a Rodizio for dinner. Rodizios originated in Southern Brazil, and moved north and east. There is a large table full of several salad ingredients and another area that has pastas, potatoes, rice, and several kinds of cooked meats in sauces. The highlight of the restaurant is the grilled meats that are served from a large spit. The waiter brings a skew with a type of meat on it and a huge, sharp knife. At your table you have a small plate with tongs; if you elect to have some of the meat that he is offering he will slice a piece for you to which you take with your tongs. There are generally ten to fifteen types of meat including roast beef, pork ribs, chicken, filets, sausages, lamb, roasted pork, tri-tip as well as bread and grilled pineapple. You can eat as much as you want and really get your fill. (The ribs are wonderful!) After a delicious meal we topped things off with dessert and coffee.

I am enjoying my time in Brazil very much; it is a wonderful place to visit or live. Every day I see wonderful things and experience new things in life. My strongest impression is of the Brazilians themselves. They are wonderful people; they show hospitality to strangers like myself that I would never experience in the United States.

I still believe that the Brazilian women are the most beautiful in the entire world. Not only are they physically beautiful but they have a wonderful attitude toward life that makes me have to rethink my own attitudes and feelings. All the women I have met have been warm, loving, caring and have kept a smile on my face.

I hope you like my BLOG and pictures; as you can see, Brazil is treating me wonderfully. Friday I’m going to revisit Morro Branco and this time ride the buggy; I’m sure I’ll have lots of pictures, as usual.

Please write or add a comment to the BLOG; I always like hearing from everybody and your comments are appreciated.



Blogger james said...

Sure, John, you say you're just traveling around down there. What about digging tunnels into bank vaults? You didn't have anything to do with that, now? Pretty advanced from our hi-jinks in high school, ol' buddy.

9:27 PM  

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