26.11.2015 - 26.11.2015
Now when it was daylight outside the hotel window I had a look and saw Iracema Beach, a 4,5 km long sand beach named after a female Indian chief. Even though the hotel had low standard it had the best view so far. Fortaleza’s main income is tourism why the beach plays in important role and during New Years a New Year Festival is being held here at Iracema Beach. The people of Fortaleza enjoy another beach though – Praia de Futuro (Futuro Beach). But as a tourist you should avoid that beach, especially at nighttime when the beach is deserted.
Rodriguez came and picked me up at 8am for that City Tour I had in the morning. He showed up with a private driver who drove us around to different parts of Fortaleza. Fortaleza is located along the coast in northeast Brazil and known to be the best of two world’s – an exciting city right on the beach. The sunny sandy beaches combine with city tours among well-known landmarks as the cathedral or the Palacio da Luz. Metropolitan Cathedral of Fortaleza took about 40 years to complete and consecrated in 1978. Even though it is newly built they made sure to make it look old and about 500 years old, with cracks and other signs of old. It is built in Roman-gothic style and counts as the third largest cathedral in Brazil. The city history begins during 16th Century when Spanish entered Mucuripes Cove. Though the colonizing itself started in 1603 when the Portuguese Pero Coelho de Souza constructed his Fort of São Tiago and founded the settlement Nova Lisboa – New Lisbon. During 17th Century Northeast Brazil was invaded by the Dutch who constructed their own fortress. After intense wars the Dutch surrendered and gave the fortress to the Portuguese, who renamed it Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Assunção (Fort of our Lady of the Rising), after which the city Fortaleza got its name. Fortaleza was founded as a village in 1726 and on the same location as the fortress once was standing.
A huge different between Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza is that the favelas in Fortaleza is very close to the wealthier areas. Maybe that’s why the central parts of Fortaleza are full of junk blowing in the wind? Rodriguez explained that the people here in Fortaleza are happy but poor. We stopped by a big market. The market was spread out on several floors and it was escalators and elevators to get from floor to floor. Lots of clothes and local products like Cashew nuts, alcohol, souvenirs and food was for sale here. I’m lucky I had Rodriguez with me because none of the people here spoke English. Before we left the market we bought fruit drinks that tasted great. But after watching how the drinks were made I understood why. Apart from fruit and ice crushed together, they scoped cups of sugar. Rodriguez recommended graviola that is a fruit supposedly preventing cancer. But I felt for pine apple/orange drink instead.
Then we went to a leafy park where the shadow gave well-needed coolness. The sun showed off with its best shine and broiled heavily, most certainly more than +30 °C. We walked towards the most central parts of the town and stopped by a square with a complete nutcase of a man who split coconuts in half with almost every body part he had. If it wasn’t the head, elbows or hands he used his butt, feet or mouth. He was insane. I wonder what he was high on? Rodriguez explained that the man actually earned much money from the audience watching and that the crazy man earned even more money in one day than Rodriguez did as a guide.
Back at the hotel for lunch and then the afternoon free. I didn’t felt to do anything so I went down to the beach and chilled. The sun was still high up in the sky which it is when so close to the equator. So a lot of sun block, cool clothing and a cap was necessarily. Just next to my hotel is a pier that stretches far out in the sea. Took the opportunity to walk out on that pier just in time for the sunset.