17 June 2015

Amanda in Brazil: Part I

Two and a half weeks ago Amanda made the long flight down to Brazil to spend two weeks in Northeast Brazil. The trip marked about three months into this period of research and 6 months (halfway) through my entire dissertation research. It was Amanda's first time in Brazil, but for me it was very new too, since I hadn't been to the real northeast before and it's culturally and ecologically very distinct from where I've been spending most of my time, in the Cerrado.

We were able to meet first in Brasilia, oddly enough our flights both had connections there around the same time. We were able to have breakfast together, Amanda had her first pao de queijo (a very popular Brazilian breakfast pastry, like cheesebread), and we spent a few hours talking before our next flights to Fortaleza.


We only had one night in Fortaleza before leaving by bus the next day for Jericoacoara. We had a nice long walk on the beach and had a dinner of seafood and caipirinha. Caipirinha is the national cocktail of Brazil:
  • Muddle one lime with a teaspoon of sugar
  •  Fill the glass half full of ice
  • Pour over with cacha├ža (a liquor made from sugar cane)
Mostly in Fortaleza we just relaxed after our long journeys.

The Fortaleza beach. There were two main sections, this is the area with a lot of fishing boats, a few shabby seafood restaurants, and a fish market. To the North was a more recreational area with nicer restaurants, lots of people walking and running, and some active volleyball games. I don't know about the water, but the beach was surprisingly clean for a big city.

Amanda's first caipirinha, we managed to have one per day (let's say at least one) during the trip. You can also see the more recreational side of the beach here in the background.

A sunset viewed from a Fortaleza boardwalk.

The next morning we set off early for a bus to take us to Jericoacoara. The bus took us through a few communities, but mostly the countryside. We stopped in a weird story book land restaurant that was set up to look like a snow white palace, odd place. It was all mostly uneventful until we arrived at a town called Jijoca where we all dismbarked from the bus. We filed off, took our luggage, and then walked to a kind of buggy-bus where we loaded the luggage onto the roof and then jumped aboard. The buggy trip was maybe an hour and took us through a countryside that began as heavily vegetated and slowly transitioned to a very wide beach, it was very bumpy the whole way. We also passed through a few small towns, fishing villages really.

Once in Jericoacoara we settled in pretty quickly. It's an surfing town with no paved roads, just sand everywhere. All roads leading to it are sand. Twenty years ago it was a small fishing village, then a few surfers, wind surfers, and kite surfers discovered it was a perfect place for them because of its high winds and big waves. They hiked five hours from the nearest town to get there, their gear on the back of donkeys. Today those donkeys have been replaced by buggies and motorcycles so they room free in the town and in the countryside.

We spend our days in Jericoacoara eating delicious seafood, drinking caipirinhas, and lounging or swimming on the beach. We also made a few excursions on a buggy to see the areas around, including some fishing villages, a few fresh-water lakes, and a lot of sand dunes.

The donkeys in town were super tame. Amanda made a friend out of this one.

A few nights we came up to this dune to see the sunset. One time I got stung by a nasty wasp. Mostly it was nice though.

These donkeys in the countryside are much more wild, and wouldn't let us come close.

There are fishing villages all around Jericoacoara.

Amanda under the Pedra Furada

We think our buggy driver was a professional photographer, he took better photos than we did.

Amanda looking like a rockstar.

A fish market in a fishing village. As fresh as you like.

The fishermen helped each other out a lot, any time a boat was coming in, a dozen or so people would come out to help pull it in.

This photo is deceptive. We didn't actually start a highly successful fishing fleet.

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