Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Arrived in Fortaleza on Sunday and haven´t stopped since. Plenty to be saying about this place which is growing on me, even if the accommodation isn´t. Initially I wasn´t impressed, sitting on the beach and wondering why it was being treated as a rubbish heap with piles of papr plates and plastic cups being discarded by all and sundry. Also I couldn´t decide whether the city wanted to be Ipanema (there´s a lot of new buildings sprouting up down by the main beaches in Mereilles) or a English beachside resort (Southend springs to mind when walking along the cracked promenade on the west side of Iracema beach.

But at night this area - which is deserted during the day - becomes another place. It´s rather like Brighton, with lots of bars and one club in particular: the dubiously named Pirata (Pirate) bar. However, the Pirata´s big night is not the weekend, but on Mondays, apparently being the ´craziest Monday in the world´. And for those of you who haven´t seen it (i.e. almost all) it really does look like a pirate ship. Which seems appropriate when you see the number of lecherous older men propositing girls barely out of their teens. Yet it all sits oddly with the music they play: the Pirata is through and through a forro (a kind of country music from the Northeast) venue.

Already we´ve had rain - today it was almost every hour. On Sunday it rained intermittently during the evening which was amusing to experience, especially as I was at the Dragao do Mar cultural centre where different dance troupes were putting on exhibitions of forro. Every time the heavens opened the public fled from the open air stage, abandoning these poor dancers and depriving them of an audience! But really it was little more than a drizzle - nothing that someone used to English weather couldn´t manage. As you might guess, I found I had my pick of the seats!

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