Birthday fun in Fortaleza

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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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