Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Report # 7

Bom dia a todos - Howdy (good day) in English - Now in Fortaleza which is on the far north-east coast of Brazil. I am just 2 degrees south of the equator so if someone knows what that means in Klms?? - maybe 50 klms? There is a lookout on one of the buildings here where you can go up and look out to sea and see the equator in the ocean - I think it is yellow colour! Anyway it is 28-30 degrees C everyday here and nights are 22-24C and it is humid - and this is mid winter!

Another big city - 2 million I think built right on the beaches like Gold coast but all the beaches in town are heavily polluted so the beach freaks need to travel 2-30 km out of town to swim and the famous Jericoacoara beach is 5 hrs west of here with huge sand dunes and lovely beach - but that is not the Brazil I wish to know - it is for tourists and no locals go there. Now Tues morn here 11.00am and I arrived last night 2 1/2 hrs late at 18.30 and bus to town walk a couple of kms by which time I was soaked thru. Am in big Internat Hostel with clean rooms good mattresses - it is off season so not many people staying. Prices are not up for the Carnaval as it is not big on the tourist list.

Well, I think I left you in Salvador last week. I stayed till Sunday and just soaked up the sounds and music and people. No special sights to visit as in Rio but a wonderfully vibrant city and I would include it as a “must” on any trip here. The music was what caught me most - they play something all the time day and night - up till maybe 02.00am. Saturday i explored the centro and was amazed at the number of street stalls lining the streets - I mean they were almost continuous leaving only a metre or so for passers-by - they sell fruits, drinks cigs, clothers, sunglasses, watches, CDs DVDS and any thing imaginable that you might want to buy. So I just walked among them all with absolutely no trouble and no fear. I had bought my ticket to Fort beforehand and chose Sunday as deprture at 20.00 (the only time) but as it happened it rained all Sunday so it was a bit of a lost day. Sat night I went out to try the town with some others from the hostel - a French guy, and a Barcelona girl who is living short time in Brazil and studying the percussion music. So she knows many locals - some suspicious ones if you ask me! - but we met one of these - a guy who was dirty and dreadlocks and and unwashed but nice guy - and he went to every location where there might be action but nothing really exciting. Stayed in a reggae bar for 45 mins and had a beer - lots of pros in there and some drunks and verrrrry loud English music played endlessly - justy two dors down from my hostel - I hear it every night - same songs every time. We then went to several places with live music but preety much justlike a open air club scene lots of people drinking and hoping to meet simeone and enjoy some dancing. But not my scene really. I called it a night after about 12.45.

One of the couples in the hostel - French but she was born in Brazil were robbed in Rio daytime when they walked up a small street and got to a point where there were no houses or people; they turned around and were confronted by three teenaged kids in masks with knives who threatened them - bit of scuffle and argument and they took camera and day-pack and some money. But I have always walked where there are people so I guess that helps my safety. As I was walking to bus stop on Sunday to go to terminal a policeman saw me and stopped me and asked which language and then spoke in English(!!!) and asked wher I was going , when I told him to get a bus around the cornere he said wait and he would check itwas safe. He walked to corner and saw two cops on other side of road so said ok it was okay. Wasn”t that kind!!! of course they depend on tourists for economy so they have to protect them or they have no job - but I was grateful.

No drama on trip up - slept all night - no-one next to me - had already bought food for the trip so I didn”t have to use the fast food crap they sell at roadstops. Rained al night I think but by b/fast stop at 09.00 sky was almost clear. My cold had given me a runny nose all day Sat and Sun. On the trip I had heavy sinus blockage which was uncomfortable. But this morn I found I had some Sinus pills in my medicine kit so I have taken some. If that doesnt fix it I will take some antihistamine. During my last few days in Salvador I was approached several times by prostitutes - not many of them were that pretty - and they were asking R50 plus hotel room R10-20. Just interesting that these very young women are in that game - most of them have babies at home as they dont care about condoms - the church says it is a sin to use them(!!!!)

So, Monday night arrive here and Monday is the fun night for Fortaleza. I was put in a room with another Aussie guy - from Sydney - he has been in Brazil for 3 months now and this is his fourth trip so he speaks some Brazilian and know all the ropes. He offered to take me on a tour of the beach area and the local nightlife. So we walked for a couple of hours bought some kebabs from a street stall and then walked around the bar area. He has stayed in a flat in one city on the edge of a favela - R200 a month and visited the favela and got to know the people and eat their food etc. Everything only half the price of what it is outside the favelas. He said most of the good looking girls we passed - who were were not with a man - were pros. They certainly like to be looked at and give lots of come-hither looks and smiles. the hostel is one block from the sand which is 100 mts wide with another 100 mts of paved area which was full of stalls and people - Australia could do with some of this freedom and relaxed atmosphere!!! When we enterd the bar area there were a million people and dozens of bars and restaurants - for the Brazilians as well as tourists. But it was astounding the number and quality of pros that were working. I gues we saw 300-400 and we stopped and chatted with 8-10. Each bar has them sitting at tables or standing along the sidewalk looking provocative. They weere far more attractive than the ones I met in Salvador. Just dozens and dozens of stunning women all giving us the eye. In addition there are girls touting for customers to use their bar - I guess they get a commission. All this in an area say 2 blocks by 6 blocks - hard to judge. Ben the Aussie told me they get you to buy them a drink and while you are there their girlfriends join in and order drinks and food and then you get the bill !!!! We also met two very tall gorgeous chicks who were far more provacatively dressed than any others - they gave us the eye as well but Ben says thay were transvestites. We met another two pros later and chatted for some minutes - both of them 18 and one told us she/he is a transsexual or transvestite - not sure which but she sure was pretty. Met another couple one of whom was from Belem (mouth of Amazon) and visiting friends. Ben liked her so agred to go back and talk later. I got home about midnight and he showered and went out to find her. He told me this morn she was a pro and comes here regularly from Belem because there is more work!! anyway he took her for a drink and them her friend turned up and ordered drinks and food (and he is supposed to know the score!!) so he got landed with a bill!!!

Anyway, they tell me the carnaval starts Wed or Thurs and will have more pros and more non-pros plus dancing and drinking in streets but they say not really much worse than waht we saw last night. So I will let you know. I am now going to try and buy some thongs - footwear!! - and boardshorts as itis so hot. most things here happen at night as the days are so hot. Many Brazs that I meet say they like Fort while many tourists have told me it is a “nothing” city. I will let you know my opinion later. Cheers for now Hugs to all Nobby PS I promisd to tell you total distnce travelled so far - forgot to add it up but I guess it is about 5000 kms - roughly one day in five spent sitting in a bus - c”est la vie - así es la vida - assim é a vida.