After Jericoacoara I went back to Fortaleza to be ready for my next flight.
Fortaleza is ok. The weather rarely deviates from 23-30 degrees, and this time of year there is no rain.
I was going to go back to the same hostel; there was nothing spectacular about it, except it had really fast wifi (my needs are simple; bed and wifi). However I really wanted to punish them for not storing my bags whilst I was in Jeri, and I chanced upon a two-bed, 2-bath apartment with a ‘partial sea view’ for the same money. Once I got over my guilt at having more beds and bathrooms than I needed, I spent my time there gently swinging in the hammock on the balcony, whilst enjoying my partial sea view.
So, what is there to do in Fortaleza?
Well the obvious one is the beach. There are two huge, urban beaches opposite to all the hotels. The best beach in town is supposedly Futuro, a bus ride away. I didn’t go because I’ve really seen enough beaches since arriving in Brazil (something I didn’t think possible when I was in Bolivia craving a beach). I was perfectly content to enjoy the one just metres from my apartment, no bus required.
There’s a market in the evening. They sell a lot of cheap clothes (Fortaleza is the centre of Brazil’s garment industry). There are also some alternative types selling artisan jewellery and such on blankets laid out nearby. I had a wander around but didn’t buy anything.
Another place to go is Dragão do Mar, which is a cultural centre and an art gallery, complete with cafes and bars, plus a bit of street art. They say it has great nightlife but I was exhausted and didn’t stay out beyond 10pm. Living the dream. Well who needs nightlife when you have a hammock and a partial sea view, eh?
There is nothing to dislike about Fortaleza, and it is popular with Brazilian tourists. However it really didn’t ‘grab’ me. Maybe I was just tired.
Meanwhile I am drawing near to the end of my time in Brazil. I could stay longer, I have another seven weeks on my tourist stamp and, as I understand it, I am able to go in a police station and request another three months if I want to.
However Brazil is relatively expensive and it’s probably time to move on.
I have found Brazil challenging due to my lack of Portuguese. Travelling through most of South America has been easier for me because I can speak some Spanish; if nothing else it does give you an extra pool of people to chat to. By comparison, I have felt a little isolated in Brazil, unable to make conversation with anybody except the few English speakers I have come across. It is a great pity because Brazilians are friendly and gregarious people and I would really have liked to have been able to communicate more with the locals.
I have certainly ended up completely hosteled-out. I have met some awesome travellers along the way, however if I have to have one more conversation with someone playing this game of travel one-upmanship so popular with 20-somethings, I will start screaming.
You know the type; (with sneer) ‘oh you got the bus there? I hitchhiked whilst standing on my head, because that’s the only way to get the real authentic experience….’
Yes, it does still count as travelling if you fly somewhere and it does still count if you stay in a little guest house or an Airbnb apartment rather than a hostel, because you can’t take being surrounded by these people any more. Nobody is giving out extra points on the travel scoreboard for the greater hardship you endure. You are allowed to invent your own rules.