February 16, 2007
Daniela's apartment was only a few blocks from Dragao do Mar, so I walked there in the sweltering heat today. The outside area was deserted unlike last night, but I was more interested in seeing the Museu do Vaquieros (Cowboy Museum). It was quite well set up and gave a great history of the cowboys of Brazil. They lived tough lives in the vast Brazilian wilderness, and eventually they became so important that entire towns sprung up around their existence. They have more modern equipment to help them today, but continue to maintain their important role of providing beef for the meat-hungry Brazilians.
Also included in the price of admission was a room full of ancient textiles and artifacts, and a modern art exhibit. Kurt Schirner, the main artist on display, painted peaceful beach scenes in the late 1990's, but his newer paintings depicted people cutting each others' hearts out and heads off. No explanation was given for this change in style.
Tonight I went with Daniela and her friend Echevania to dinner in another part of the city. Along the way we got stopped at one of the many police checkpoints set up to make sure people aren't driving drunk or stealing cars. This was the first night of Carnaval, so police presence was greatly increased. I found out, however, that there is no big Carnaval celebration in Fortaleza, so most of the locals head out to one of the smaller cities in the area for the party. That's what I made plans to do tomorrow.