Birthday fun in Fortaleza


Soph have you seen my glasses?

My birthday began with a 6am wake up alarm and by 8am Sophie and I were aboard a bus headed to Fortaleza – a mere ten hours away.

Brazilian bus riding is a fairly pleasant experience as it goes.

The roads may be a little more bumpy than in Britain, but the scenery is awesome – you don’t have to gaze for long to spot a large bird flying in the forest canopy or see a meandering river as you cross a rickety bridge.

Sadly even the most spectacular scenery gets repetitive after a few hours and I pop my headphones on to absorb my Portuguese audio lessons, which involves listening to phrases and repeating aloud.

I begin to mumble words to myself. Sophie serves up her I-don’t-know-you look and the Brazilians unfortunate enough to share a bus with me stare in bewilderment.

But ten hours is a long time and I’ve done enough long journeys now not to care what anyone thinks.

Finally we arrive in Fortaleza, a sprawling urban settlement on the coast that is capital of the Brazilian state of Ceará and the fifth largest city in the country.

A taxi drops us off at the cheapest but best hostel in town (according to our guidebook) and after a shower and a change into our finest clobber – Sophie looks beautiful, I look less dirty – we are off to celebrate my birthday.


Sampling an oyster… An acquired taste, but fun to eat!

The seafront stretches for miles and is lined by high rise hotels – this is clearly another tourist hotspot for Brazilians.

We wind up at a restaurant that has been recommended and toast the day with a caipirinha and several beers.

We stray from our usual daily budgetary restrictions to splash out on a steak.

Then, when a waiter comes round with a bowl of something as a starter, we are intrigued and so end up trying oysters with lemon, chilli and salt…though I don’t think either of us will be choosing them again!

After dinner we wander to the end of a pier, where we lie down to relax by the water. We dangle our feet over the edge before we are rudely interrupted by a man who declares he is a musician. I tell him we are fine thank you, we don’t want a song. He then asks for money.

I realise we are totally isolated in the darkness. There is nobody within half a kilometre. He starts swearing at us and demanding money.

“Let’s go,” I say to Sophie.

Fortunately, he doesn’t follow and we manage to make it back to the lights of the beach.


Party at Piratas

The Piratas (Pirates) club is a few hundred metres further along. It is famed for hosting the ‘best’ Monday night forró dance party in the country.

On stage a group of semi-clad men dressed as pirates are dancing energetically. On the floor the crowd is going wild.

Buying a drink is a convoluted process, but one that seems fairly common at Brazilian nightclubs.

First you have to queue to buy a drink ticket from a counter, then you take your ticket to a bar where you queue up before finally hand it over in return for a drink. I much prefer the British scrum system.

After demolishing a fairly repulsive cocktail, we join the throng who are boogieing away on the dancefloor to a medley of Brazilian beats…

Needless to say the next day is more or less wiped out… I’m 33 now, can’t be doing this anymore!


You’ll pay for all this excess in the morning Mr Vinter, in fact now you are 33 you can have two days worth of hangover hell!


About travellingtoothbrushes

We are a couple of journalists with restless toothbrushes. Our teeth scrubbers seem unable to leap out of their respective washbags to take up a permanent residency on the bathroom shelf. So, we've decided to let them live the way they want to and take them on a trip around South America...
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One Response to Birthday fun in Fortaleza

  1. Tia Annegret says:

    Happy very belated birthday, Phil!

    Never knew that Brazil has sandy beaches of t h i s sort!
    LOL to you Both!

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