Doug McLean World Tour 1999-2000Back Home Next
Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2000 12:32 PM
Subject: April 8-12, 2000: Fortaleza II
Current Date/Location: Tuesday, April 25, 2000...in Recife, Brazil.
I leave Recife tonight...back to Fortaleza for a day or so (it is on the way to Belem)...then onwards to Belem...up the Amazon by boat to Manus...then who knows???
April 8, 2000 (Sat- Fortaleza, Brazil):
Estou quebrado. This is a Portuguese expression...literally translated, it means "I am broke"...it can mean that you are either out of money...or that you are tired and broken which was true in my case...when I woke up this morning, I felt destroyed. Hmmmm...maybe I am getting too old for this dancing all night stuff...hmmm...maybe it isn't me, it must be that I am drinking too much Coke...or more likely, that I am not drinking ENOUGH Coke...smile.
Anyway...got up...went to use the internet for a while...don't remember much else that I did that day...I think I tried to catchup on journals, e-mails, etc. I am finding it hard to motivate myself to want to go to the beaches. I have been on the beaches for months...and after a while, one area with sand and salt water kinda resembles another area with sand and salt water (NOTE: I realize that very few of my friends have any sympathy for anyone tired of going to the beach...but, really...this life is tough...smile...well, sort of...). Also, I think it had something to do with thinking about a particular doctor in Recife...ah, it is always comforting to know I can blame Luciana for my lack of touristic ambition today and on other days...my mind is constantly thinking about her...cést la
Later on, went out with Cristina, Marcos, and some of their friends to Orbita. It is a nice club right in the new square, called Dragao do Mar. There was a good band playing that actually could sing American songs in
pretty passable English...a rarity here in Brazil. We danced there until 2am.
April 9, 2000 (Sun):
Visited Praia Porto das Dunas (note...when I first saw this, I thought it was Praia Porto das Bundas...this will be very funny for anyone who understands Portuguese...anyoneelse, go meet a Brazilian and ask them what this means...smile...). Went to the Sunday House (yes...they only use this house on Sundays.) of Guillerme's family. It is near the first waterpark in Brazil, Beach Park. First thing I noticed about the house was that it was surrounded by coconut trees that were full of yellow coconuts! I mentioned that I loved coconuts...and next thing I know, my newfound friend Ronaldo (a cousin...I think), and I are getting out the ladder to pull down some coconuts!
Needless to say, I was estatic! I climbed up and pulled a bunch down...and then we proceeded to cut a hole in the top and drink it...mmmmmm...very fresh and very good! I know it sounds silly...but it was a true high point of my trip...I have seen all these darned coconuts and drunk lots of them...but there is something very satisfying about going out and gathering your own food (or in this case, drink), rather than depending on someone else's skills and abilities to bring it to you...kinda appealed to the Hunter/Gatherer Instinct that I think is present in everyone (yes, especially men I guess...so crucify me if that sounds sexist.). Not that it takes much to hunt down the wily coconut...it is not like you have to sneak up on it...they pretty much just sat there (or rather, hung there) as I stealthily (sp?) climbed the tree, hunting them in their native habitat (a coconut palm tree). They did offer some resistance to my efforts to detach them from the tree...but finally, I (the MIGHTY HUNTER!) prevailed...and they crashed to the earth below...where we fell upon them quickly before they could run (or roll) away! We disembowled them with a special coconut knife which extracts just enough coconut (therefore leaving a small hole) to allow one to insert a straw and drink the Coconut Milk (or rather, Coconut Water as they say here in Brazil)...ahhhhh...it is one of the necessary
evils in the food chain of life...some coconuts must die so that we may live...rather than mourning their passing...we should celebrate...and draw strength from their supreme sacrifice! I hope the "Coconuts are People Too!" activists don't protest my participation in the slaughter of literally hundreds of coconuts during my stay in razil...smile......but, hey, I'm not ashamed of my activities...just call me a rebel!NOTE: Coconuts are the sacred fruit of the CARVE society...name another fruit or vegetable that contains meat!???
Then Guillerme pulled the dune buggy out of the garage...and we (Guillerme, Cristina, Ronaldo, aunt?, and I) were off! First visited some of the local sights one big hotel with a lighthouse and grand view of the ocean and Fortaleza. Then we headed to the little beach called Prainha (which means...little beach). We each got messy with another caranguejo (crab)...and then headed back to the house. On the way, I narrowly missed having a Fabio incident...I almost got a bird in the face at high speed...but it narrowly missed hitting me (by like 4 inches...no kidding...it passed between my shoulder and my head...too close...much too close...).
Back at the ranch (or rather, the Sunday House) we had feijoda (beans), rice, and chicken for lunch...then lounged on the hammocks...ahhhhh. Claudia (remember, my ex-girlfriend from San Francisco...everyone around me are
relatives of hers) called during this "hammock-time" and interrupted my bliss!!! (The nerve of some people!) ...but, I did get up and talk to her for a few minutes...oh, it was tough to leave the hammock...but these are the sacrifices I make for my friends...and I had to give her lots of grief for not being here in Brazil...and as you can see from these notes...I still am...hee hee.
We then went to go visit Beach Park briefly...for me it is just about like any water park in the world...but for Brazil, it was the first they ever had and is famous for that reason. One note...we sat down at a table and I ordered a coconut (as is my habit)...when it arrived and we got the bill, it was 2.90 Reals for the Coconut, plus .29 Reals as a 10 percent tip. This place makes a killing...but what is more, I gave the waiter a 50 Real bill...and he returned 46 Reals to me...I made him give me the additional .80 Reals...I was not about to pay 4 Reals for a coconut (normal price is
.80 Reals to 1 Real...no where near 4!. NOTE: As a traveller...waiters, taxi drivers, etc. think they can short you on change or take advantage of you...this does happen...not just in Brazil...count your money...if you don't, and allow this to happen...you are just ensuring that it will happen again and again to more tourists in the future. Demand correct change...it is only right.
We returned to the Sunday House...said goodbye to everyone and headed back to Fortaleza. Back in Fortaleza, went to movies with Adriana, Cristina, and Marcos...went and saw the movie called "Hans Stadt". Story of a Dutch guy
coming to Brazil in 1550s...captured by indians, he lives with them for awhile. It was a really well done production...and they spoke lots of languages and didn't wear any clothes throughout the entire movie (the indians not believing in clothing)...when was the last time that any of you saw a movie where all the actors were naked for the majority of the movie and it actually had a plot??? No...don't e-mail me and tell me...somethings I just don't want to know...
Then walked around...went to some alternative markets near the Dragao do Mar...sat at a bar on plaza Dragao do Mar...it was a lovely night, we had a wonderful chat/conversation...returned to apartment around 1am.
April 10, 2000 (Mon):
Woke...fixed Cristina's computer (not really sure what I did...but nevertheless, it worked). Spent lots of time today studying Portuguese. I got out the Portuguese language book that Luciana had given me and started doing the exercises. There were passages in Portuguese and English translations...so I practiced reading in Portuguese with Tereza and Cristina correcting me...it was great! I think I need to do more of this! NOTE: If you are going to learn Portuguese...realize that if you get a book, it is probably going to teach you Portuguese as it is spoken in Portugal...not Brazil...this is generally OK...but sometimes will cause problems. EXAMPLE: I read that the word for girl is RAPARIGA...so when I saw Cristina, I said "Oi, Rapariga"...meaning "Hi Girl"...this is OK to say in Portugal...but in Brazil, Rapariga still means girl...but more the type who hangs out on street corners late at night in skimpy clothes waiting for bus rides...if you know what I mean. Cristina was wonderful about correcting me, and
saying that Moca is what is said here in Brazil...but just a case in point...there are some differences in the language...but, that is part of the fun, I guess!
Later, Cristina, Danielle and I headed to Praia do Future (Beach of the future) to Barraca Birute (Barraca means tent or hut). Hung out on the beach for several hours...enjoying the sun, coconuts, and crabs (this time in a crabmeat soup...mmmm). Danielle speaks some English and is trying to increase her fluency...so we took turns reading passages from my Portuguese book...it was good for both of us. Then went to a restaurant overlooking the city to watch the sunset. It was wonderful! ...and the ice-cold, sweet coconuts were 70 centavos...this is about 40 cents USD each...so, needless to say, I drank 4!!!!
Returned to Danielle's house...had some chocolate mousse pie...mmmm...guess I am not going to starve to death here in Brazil, eh? Returned to apartment...had dinner of cake, icecream, and fried bananas...I guess that very soon I am going to only be able to fly business class, eh??? (Movie Reference: Swingers. Rent it!)
I have never been to a place that had a great thing to do on a Monday night...except here in Fortaleza. There is a large bar called Pirata (Pirate)...and it specializes in having a killer Monday night...hmmm...go figure...kinda the partying equivalent to Monday Night Football, eh? Anyway, I had heard about it all week...so tonight I was going. Cristina, Danielle, and everyoneelse around here has jobs (go figure)...so I went alone. And sure enough, it was packed with people dancing Forrol. It was fun...I stayed for awhile...but I guess I wasn't into it. Hard to want to go party hard when you are alone, and the only girl you want to be with is 12 hours away by bus...just call me pathetic. Took a moto-taxi back to the apartment and went to bed around 1am...going to take a van to Jericoacoara tomorrow
morning and figured it would be better to be fresh for the trip.
April 11, 2000 (Tue):
Woke around 7:30...took shower and started to get ready for the van to Jericoacoara which would arrive at 8:30. At 8:00am the doorman for the apartment complex called and said the van was here...so I rushed to put my backpack together and head out for 3 days...I would return to Fortaleza on Thursday.
But, when I arrived downstairs, the guy told me that instead of going in his van as arranged...I would be put in with another group. And this other tour would not go to one of the promised beaches. I requested a discount for the
inconvenience...he said he couldn't because it was not his bus. So I told him goodbye and headed back up to the apartment. NOTE: If I have learned anything on my trip...something that starts screwed-up stays screwed-up. I
have found few exceptions to this rule...if your tour guide starts changing things at the beginning you are in for a long ride...and not one you will like. I have found it always better to avoid this type of thing...and these
types of people do not receive my money.
I explained to Tereza and Cristina what had happened back at the apartment...that I would look into other busses to Jericoacoara, and that today I was going to go use the internet. Used the internet for a long time...to catchup on journals.
Walked around by the pier...watched some beach volleyball on a Banco Do Brasil court...saw a great sunset.
Back at the internet place...chatted with Luciana again...it does my heart good...and I am practicing my Portuguese with a willing teacher (and I correct her English...it is great for both of us). In the middle of our computer chat, I decided to go back to Recife sooner rather than later! I am just sitting here in Fortaleza thinking about her...constantly...and would rather be with her...than without her. So, I decided that I am going back to Recife as soon as I can find a bus ride in that direction...figured I would surprise her, so I didn't tell her of my decision. Rushed back to the apartment...but, found out that I had missed the busses for tonight...but would go tomorrow.
Long story...but I have a friend back in Los Angeles, Mary Lynn, who lives there while her husband, Stenio, lives in Fortaleza, Brazil and runs the restaurant that they own. I had never met him, but Mary Lynn e-mailed me that I should call him while I was in Fortaleza. He had been working up until now...but tonight Stenio called and we arranged to go to one of the local bars. We ended up going to a bar called Paticuapa (sp????) near Danielle's house...it was very cool. He told me about his (and Mary Lynn's) restaurant...he is obviously driven to make it succeed...but noted that the Brazilian clientele is somewhat fickle...some places open big...are amazingly popular for a short period...then crash because some other place becomes popular...quite a cycle. He was trying to have his restaurant depend on repeat customers...and a loyal clientele...taking time to establish, but paying off in the long-run. He is having good and bad times with it...and it is hard being away from your wife in a different continenet...all in all, he is a great guy, and I wish him and Mary Lynn all the best of luck with the business.
Returned to the apartment around midnight.
Wednesday, April 12, 2000
Woke...read some of Darwin's Origin of Species ...it is good...but alot to take in one dose...so also started in on Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo.
Went to the internet place...met Dave/South Africa works on yachts...talked with him for awhile about yachting and how to go about being a yacht-bum travelling around the world on other people's yachts...also saw Danny/Australia (who I had met with his girlfriend Audrey/Brazil last night at the internet place)...we sat and chatted for awhile...he is experiencing some things that are a little more advanced in a foreigner-Brazilian relationship...where to live, what kind of life/lifestyle are you willing to live with/work for? Lots of tough decisions...
Went back to the apartment...said thank you, obrigado, and Mil Beijos to Cristina and Tereza...they had been wonderful. They smiled because they knew I was going back to be with Luciana.
I got to the bus-station...bought my ticket...and then had about an hour to kill. Called Luciana...and asked her when I should arrive (I was going to surprise her by arriving tomorrow)...asked her, maybe Friday or Saturday...she said whenever...but the sooner would be better for her...smile...she had no idea I was at the busstation with a ticket in my pocket to see her tomorrow morning. I teased her a little and told her I might come in next week...but would check bus schedules...smile...can´t help being a little bad, eh?
Hung up, hopped on the bus, and headed back to Recife...again. Hmmmm...I feel kinda like a yo-yo going back and forth...guess that´s my middle name right now...(Bonus points to my friends who can figure out the double meaning in the last sentence...family members are excluded.)