Fortaleza (lit. “Fortress”, Portuguese pronunciation: [foʁtaˈlezɐ]) is the state capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. With a population of over 2.5 million (metropolitan region over 3.4 million), Fortaleza is the 5th largest city in Brazil. It has an area of 121 sq mi and one of the highest demographic densities in the country (8,001 per km²). To the north of the city lies the Atlantic Ocean; to the south are the cities of Pacatuba, Eusébio, Maracanaú and Itaitinga; to the east is the county of Aquiraz and the Atlantic Ocean; and to the west is the city of Caucaia. Residents of the city are known as Fortalezenses.
We are coming into Fortaleza and it is 7:00 AM local time. This will fortunately be a docking port and not a tender port. Being able to dock is sooo much more convenient, but as we keep being reminded by Thom, our cruise director, the expeditionary nature of the Grand Voyages require tenders in many ports because they are off the beaten path, small ports which simply are not designed to dock large ships.
We are waiting for breakfast; we ordered room service for delivery at 7:30. Kay and I have a tour arranged with the Cruise Critic group. I believe the rest of our party has a similar tour which they arranged with the ship.
I have a few minutes and internet connection is good so I will post a few photos from yesterday. I will post additional information about Fortaleza later today.
Eko, one of our fabulous cabin Stewarts, returning our laundry
The aft pool. They were attempting to fill the pool, but the seas were so rough the water was sloshing out! They had to give up and drain it again.
Kay reading on the veranda. We are only 2 degrees south of the equator and she still needs a blanket…
The dinner table at Black and White Formal night
A part of the Dining Room decorated for the evening
Inca, one of our great waiters.
Geddy is our other waiter. Geddy lives in Bali and studied Hotel management and accounting. He is married with one child. Geddy has his own business, a laundry service and also does local tours. Currently he is working nine months a year with HAL, gaining experience and saving money. He is a great young man.
Janet & Carl
Sandra and David
Kay and I
Beautiful skies and sea
Well, we are back from an interesting but very wet excursion. Our guide Joanne spoke very good English and was very personable. It was just starting to sprinkle rain as we left the ship, before we had been gone more than 10 minutes, the rain came in torrents and never stopped. Joanne was quite upset, but our group took it in stride. After all, we are all victims of the whim of the weather. It was interesting that Joanne, like every Brazilian guide we have had, expounded on the problems of Brazil. She believes the majority of their problems stem from lack of education and corruption of government.
Joanne our guide
Flooding in the streets
Doesn’t this look like fun?
There seemed to be naked manikins everywhere… Why?
Among places we visited was the Museu de Arte e Cultura Popular, a restored waterfront prison which features many interesting works by local artists. Here Kay found a beautiful necklace made from mother of pearl and shell inlay. It was a very reasonable 30 reals, about $18. The artist and vendor was also lovely.
We also visited the Metropolitan Cathedral, I got some inside photos but weather did not permit any photography of the exterior.
At the Central Market, which someone described as organized chaos, we saw much beautiful cloth and linen works. There was a little of everything there, including some interesting faces.
Fortaleza, unlike the other large Brazilian cities we have visited is really a beautiful city. It is modern and relatively clean. Even the poor areas are in much better repair and neat, unlike what we saw in Belem and Manaus. Along the beach area is the most prosperous area where apartments of approximately 1000 sq ft sell for $250,000 and up. It is really a shame that the weather was so poor for our visit, I believe this would have been a stunningly beautiful city.