I’d arrived in Fortaleza a couple of days earlier than I’d planned, but that hadn’t mattered for my host Auri, and his family (Luciana, Levi, Guillermo and William – a homestay student from the US). I was welcomed in with great warmth which helped me recover from the cheese-induced food poisoning. Auri speaks English very well, but the rest of the time I was speaking in Portuguese. I still don’t speak that well, but Luciana has a lot of patience and so we could speak about lots of things, including creationism v evolution.
I’d heard of Savana Bike and dropped by to meet Daniel, a mechanic there. They spent the best part of an hour making my bike spotless, an impressive job considering how dirty it had been earlier. The mechanics were fun to talk to, and before I left I was given a memento for the trip – a Savana Bike staff t-shirt. Daniel also mentioned that his family had a house down the coast in Morro Branco and that I could feel free to stop by on the way.
As far as tourism goes, I didn’t do much in Fortaleza. I was more interested in hanging out with the family and playing table tennis. They volunteer to host study-abroad students and so even though William’s family paid the company that organised it all to set it up they receive no money. One thing William does to help is to give English classes to Levi and Guillermo every Saturday morning. I watched the class and gave some tips – being an 18 year old without any experience or guidance had meant it was difficult for him. Hopefully he feels more confident now.
Auri, Levi and João, Auri’s co-worker, joined me as I headed out from Fortaleza. Leaving had been difficult, and even though I’d explained my need to leave so I could get to Salvador there was an offer of a ticket to Salvador if I had wanted to stay longer. I’ve received lots of warmth from people through the trip, but I think Brazilians are doing a good job of trying to win the title of saying “what do you mean you’re ONLY going to stay 1/3/5/21 days?” the most sincerely.
Riding with Auri we chatted away the whole time and we got to the town 20km away without problems. I helped João, who is riding to lose weight, help stretch as you can see in the pics! Auri and co headed back towards Fortaleza to eat some more of Luciana’s delicious cakes, while I pushed on along the wide, perfectly-paved road towards Morro Branco. It heated up as I got close, and as I was low on water I stopped at a bar to ask to get some more. Being a Sunday, there were plenty of patrons drinking away and so I got a few beers poured for me in exchange for my story. If any cyclist is thirsty and wants a rest, going to a bar is a great way to do it. So many people willing to give you a beer or four.
The beach town of Morro Branco is famous for its falésias or cliffs, which have been eroded away by the Atlantic. I was lucky in terms of timing, as arriving just before sunset the colours were really nice. The only problem being the camera. The lens was very dirty – not helped by the sand – and the camera itself… I definitely will be buying a new camera when I’m home next.
Daniel had given me the address of his family’s house, and after a fair amount of confusion (mainly caused by not owning a phone) I found it. His brother, Junior, was there with many family members and as with most Brazilians they were incredibly welcoming. They were about to head back to Fortaleza but I was told to make myself at home, that I could stay as long as I wanted, that if I stayed for a few days they’d be back and we could go bouncing around the beach in buggies, that the fridge had some food and I could definitely eat it all, oh and there was some food left over from lunch for me.
Morro Branco falesias