Destination Fortaleza, capital of the state of Ceará.
Episode 10. Images from Downtown Fortaleza
It was already our final full day in Fortaleza. We had had a long night, with a barbecue and drinks. However, we managed to leave our pousada at nine am. First, we visited the local padaria (bakery) or fresh bread rolls or snacks. I ordered to fresh bread rolls with butter, which were roasted. Instead of coffee, there was fruit juice for a low price. One jar of 600 ml for less than one euro. No pulp that is dissolved in water, but pure juice, or juice mixed with water or milk, or orange juice. As far as I know is Fortaleza the only city in Brazil with such a healthy breakfast. Rio is also a city of fruit juices; there are many small fruit juice bars where you may choose from no less than fifty different fruit flavors.
The majority of our group took the bus to Praia do Futuro, to spend another lazy day on the beach. Eilen and I agreed to join them a bit later. We were about to visit the center of Fortaleza. Eilen studied Theater Sciences, and really wanted to visit the famous Teatro Jose de Alencar. Besides, I had much interest in the historical center. We walked in the direction of the center, but we first entered the shopping center. In contrast to Belo Horizonte, where you have to walk some kilometers and cross many busy avenues for your shopping activities, the center of Fortaleza is almost entire free of motorized traffic, and almost all shops are located within reasonable walking distance.
I got the impression that the shopping center had undergone a metamorphosis recently. The mosaic pavement appeared new and clean. Most shopping streets were two-way pathways. That means that there were to streams of walking people, divided by long rows of street vendors with their merchandise on improvised barracks, or spread out on colorful blankets on the pavement. The tropical sun was already warm, and had a contagious effect on the people. No murky faces, no moody moods, but relaxed faces, laughing eyes, and disarming smiles. No one was growling when you accidentally hit or stepped on someone. But they express a faint smile when you apologize. Wat a huge difference with Southern Brazilian city of Curitiba, for instance, were the people looked much more serious, like Europeans. We’d better keep silent about the murky moods of the Europeans…
The combination of sun and the sunny atmosphere of the people in the streets had a contagious effect. The relaxed and comfortable atmosphere was further strengthened by jolly music tunes that were played by street musicians, sometimes interrupted by commercials that loudly escaped huge sound boxes. These commercials were not recorded, but improvised by one employee of that store. You might imagine that women would do these commercials, but the opposite is true: all of them of them were men. Eilen and I crisscrossed through the shopping center, to obtain a good impression of the sunny atmosphere in the center. I made my pictures, but I was keen enough to hide my camera most of the time. Relaxed or not, you always may encounter pickpockets, anywhere in the world.
A small square was flanked by huge lion statues. They had a quite threatening appearance, with their dangerous jaws wide open. There was a small book fair on that square. No fair of novels and non-fiction books, but of study books. Study book, from the primary school to the university. During our stay in Fortaleza, in January, the summer holidays were still going on, the students would only resume their studies in February. Large piles of books were offered, from maths to Portuguese to biology. For me, these books were not that interesting. I prefer books about Brazilian history and culture. Near this book fair was a restaurant where Eilen and I had our warm meal. As I already have mentioned various times, Brazilians have their warm meals between noon and two pm, and they normally – when studying or working – have their meal in a restaurant. The restaurant offered a delicious buffet for a low price. We chose from dishes full of rice, beans, chicken, seafood, fruits, and vegetables. We shared a 600 ml bottle of guarana, what is quite common among Brazilians. After our lunch, we spent little more time in the center before we took the bus to Praia to Futuro, to join our friends.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom
- Travel in Brazil: FORTALEZA (09). Feira Beira-Mar (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Travel in Brazil: FORTALEZA (08). Mercado Central (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Travel in Brazil: FORTALEZA (07). Catedral Metropolitana (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Travel in Brazil: FORTALEZA (03). Street Market in Downtown Fortaleza (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Travel in Brazil: FORTALEZA (05). Dragão do Mar, Cultural Center Named After a Brazilian Hero (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)