Brazil – Feliz ano novo!

Brazil – Feliz ano novo!

A very very happy new year to everyone! New year’s day was the day we were ‘en route’ for exactly one whole year. And what a year it has been! It’s been fantastic and it’s going to be hard to ever top it, if at all possible. The bad news is that the end is nearing. The good news is that we still have 3 more months to go…

Salvador is the 3rd largest city in Brazil with roughly 3 million people living in its metropolitan area. A big city with big city problems that used to be Brazil’s capital in the time of sugar cane and tobacco plantations, slave trade and diamond mining. The main tourist attractions are a small area with cute old colonial buildings, the Pelourinho, and some of the beaches. As a tourist you want to stay in those areas as everywhere else is considered unsafe. After a couple of days of exploring Pelourinho and its cute streets it’s nice to take a cab to one of the beaches and visit the old fort (where we learned how the Dutch tried to take over a couple of times) and watch how Brazilians spend their days on the beach.

From Salvador we flew to Recife and went on to Olinda. Again a town with a cute old centre with lots of colorful colonial buildings. A favorite place for Brazilians to visit (and party) as well as it was absolutely packed at night during the weekend with food (tapioca) and drinks (excellent caipirinhas!) widely availabale at the food stalls.

After a couple of days in Olinda it was time to move on to Fortaleza and its beach town Cumbuco where we met with my mom again. It was so nice albeit a bit strange to see each other again after we said goodbye some 5 months ago in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We are staying together in a nice, small resort near the beach this week so we have a lot of time for catching up. We decided to celebrate New Year’s Eve on one of the beaches in Fortaleza (with nearly 1 million other people) where a number of concerts of famous Brazilian artists and a large fireworks display were staged. A fun experience but unfortunately it was not all that easy to find a place to eat (Pizza Hut) or score any decent bubbly (sidra, cheap cider)…

There’s not much to do in Cumbuco but still a lot of tourists come here, especially from Europe, because the area is famous for its warm sea water and strong, constant winds and thus… kite surfing! Having done a lot of wind surfing (albeit a long time ago), kite surfing was always one of those things I had to try one day. Being here for 8 days there were no more excuses so I started a 4 day course. The wind hasn’t been all that good for beginners so after 3 days I’m able to control the kite in the water and do my body drags, but I haven’t been on a board yet. Tomorrow is our last day here but the forecast is good so I’m sure I’ll be able to surf a few meters. 🙂 My instructor is Brazilian and speaks English with a heavy Portuguese accent (they tend to pronounce some d’s and t’s as ‘ch’ as in ‘check’) so he constantly says things like “Starch the kiche in the winch and gech on the boarch”…

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