Monday, March 21, 2011

Ze the Cool Guy

On Friday, we had this amazing day out with Jose Albano, a relatively well-known Brazilian photographer who I can't seem to find much about online, disappointingly. This is going to be a pretty quick rundown, but guess what - I finally got to take photos! I haven't been taking any except for in my homestay (which I'll show you later) because you just don't want to call any more attention to yourself as an obvious non-Brazilian than you have to. But, in our huge group of twenty-one plus Jose and Oelito, we could do the tourist thing a bit.

First we went to this old-style cemetery, which dates to Portuguese colonial times. It's very overcrowded, and there haven't been any new graves added in a long time, but families apparently re-use their plots - we did ask, and this apparently does entail digging up whoever was down there before. So I'm not totally clear on how that works. 

This is Jose Albano's family plot - yep, that enormous metal statue thing. I don't know who his ancestors were, but they must have been bigshots.

Okay, I don't know why these won't rotate, I'll work on it, but this is the inside of the old prison in Fortaleza which was converted into a market and cultural center about fifty years ago. 

There was a small museum upstairs, in which I found a wooden statue of a rendeira, or a lacemaker. One of our professors mentioned them in passing last week, and after doing a little reading about it (there's not much written on it) I think I'm going to be doing my independent study project on the industry.

This is the Dragao do Mar, a huge cultural center in the center of the city. The architecture is really incredible. The orange roofs in the foreground are really well-preserved historic buildings, and they're the reason they built the huge red bridge connecting the parts of the center. There are restaurants and nightclubs and at least one museum inside, but we went in the morning just to look around in the building. It's named after a man called Dragao do Mar, or Dragon of the Sea, who ran a business which ferried goods and slaves from ships in the harbor to the port itself, and was apparently instrumental in stopping the slave trade in the city, as he refused to carry slaves on his ships. 

This is the view back towards the city from a pier on the Beira Mar, a beach in the center of the city where most of the nice hotels are. The area is rocky and fairly still, making it bad for swimming, so the development of the city allowed the fishing industry to remain.

 This is the beach where the fishermen keep their boats. Nearby is a fish market where a lot of it is sold. And there's Jose in the corner.

Everything so far has been in the center of the city, but this is off to the west. It's on top of the highest hill in the city, and is the only place where you can really see the skyline. Don't be fooled - there's WAY MORE CITY off to the left of this picture. It's huge. It doesn't feel that big from street-level, though.

After our day out, we went back to Jose Albano's house, which was an experience in itself. His house is awesome, with colored glass bottles stuck in the walls with light shining through, and a ton of albums of his photos. It was awesome. We collectively made dinner and ate it outside in the woods, where it was a beautiful, beautiful temperature.

Yep, that's right - this exists in Ceara. Enormous sand dunes. I do not know how they came to be there, all I know is that they're awesome. This is way to the west of the city, about ten minutes from Jose Albano's house. 

Gorgeous. We all climbed up the hill, and then you run and jump off the other side and land further down on the side of the dune. It feels like you're jumping off a cliff, but you land in soft sand. Amaaazing.

Again, so cool. 

That's all for now.


  1. Looks epic molly! I wish I could go sand dune jumping with you! :)

  2. Fantastic, Molly. Great to see some of what you're seeing.