Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil - February 2004
Sometimes, when a special opportunity comes up to go somewhere new, you just have to take it. So when I had a chance to go to Brazil for a week, I jumped on it.
What a great decision! Brazil is everything you have heard: the people are wonderful, the women are beautiful, the food is excellent (especially the seafood!), the beaches are fantastic, the water was warm....except for the fact that it was rainy season, which meant periodic 10-minute downpours, the weather was great. I had a fantastic time and would love to go back.
Unfortunately, I didn't take as many pictures as I had hoped to. And worse, I never found any slide film, which was really disappointing. But fortunately, some of the pictures I did take turned out awesome. It's a beautiful country, and quite photogenic. Next time I'll get more shots.
Flying into Sao Paulo's Guarulhos Airport, which is well outside of the city center, it is easy to see the scale of the city: 17 million people, South America's largest metropolitan area, and the hub of the continent's commerce. From the air it looks somewhat like Los Angeles; many relatively equal-sized buildings with occasional outcroppings of taller skyscrapers. And it's spread out far like LA, too.
The airport at Sao Paulo counts as my farthest point south on the globe; Sao Paulo sits on the Tropic of Capricorn. Since it was daytime during my flight in, and cloudy on my flight out, I never had the opportunity to see the night sky from this latitude. Which is really too bad, because I would love to have seen the south celestial pole.
Fortaleza, on the other hand, is a city of 2 million people, at 6 degrees south latitude, right on the coast. It's fairly large, certainly bigger than poor old Hartford (where I live now) but not quite as big as Boston. We stayed in the Praia de Iracema area, on Rua Dragao Do Mar. Praia de Iracema is one of the hot spots for nightlife; there are four or five blocks of nothing but bars, clubs, and restaurants. And they're all open as late as they want to be - which is usually sometime around sunrise.
But the real adventure - and the point of having the pictures here - was our trip down the Ceara coast. We took a dune buggy onto the beach from Fortaleza all the way out to Morro Branco, which is about 50 miles. My behind was sore for three days after, and the sunburn I got took a week to peel off.
The point of the trip was to go see these sand formations on the coast where the sands have different colors, as you can see following. But on the way we got stuck in a downpour, which was just murderous, and the ride back on the highway was pretty hairy, since dune buggies really aren't made for travel on pavemement - though it was great on the sand.
The pictures following are from random points along the way, and really they're all self-explanatory. You can see the dune buggy we rode in, and there are pictures of a 4X4 going through the same crossings we went through, to give you an idea of what the ride was like. The 4X4 contained some South African friends of my Brazilian hosts who were also visiting, and added to the atmosphere of this being quite the international trip.
At the end of the list of photos you will find a number of shots from among the sands themselves. And you will see a shot of our whole group having lunch somewhere in there (without me, of course, since I was behind the F100. In all of Brazil I only got one picture of me). I hope you enjoy the pictures!
And, well, that was it. I was only there for four days, but so much happened. And there were a lot of things I couldn't take pictures of, because they happened at night. Plus it was rainy season, so these sudden torrential downpours kind of discouraged me from taking my camera out all the time. But I got a lot of great shots and had lots of great experiences, and that's really what vacations are all about. So this one was great!
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