February 15, 2007
When I got to Fortaleza this morning, I wanted to walk to the beach around the center of town. I didn't see the bus station on my rudimentary map of the city, however, so I just asked a few people which direction to the beach. The consensus estimate of the walking time was fifteen minutes. One and a half hours later, I finally could see the ocean.
Once in the main part of the city, I arranged to meet with Daniela from Couchsurfing. She's a doctor who lives a few blocks from the beach with her four-year-old daughter Lara. She graciously offered me a place to stay, which was great because accommodation was getting expensive around Carnaval time.
Daniela and I went to Dragao do mar, a new, trendy area with lots of restaurants, museums, and a planetarium, tonight for dinner. There we met up with Nathalia and her cousin Marcelo, also from Couchsurfing. I felt rather parasitic when I learned that Daniela is a doctor, Nathalia is studying to be a lawyer, and Marcelo is just finishing his business degree. They were wonderful people with a wealth of knowledge of Brazil, and it was great to make some new friends right away when arriving here. Fortaleza has over 2.5 million people, which is more than all three Guianas combined, so it can be a bit intimidating if you don't know anybody.
The photo album for this entry is here.