This is how life-experiences are made… out of nowhere and when you least expect them!

After an unforgettable first day in paradise, I spent two days at the hostel with my only route being from bed to the bathroom and back. Sick to my stomach and feeling as if the end of the world was round the corner, I had no clue as to what had caused this and what would be the best way to get through it. Funny that everyone had one more thing to add to my list of things to be careful of (be it the mosquitos, the sun, the rain, the food, the water… of course on top of local organized crime!) and in the end I ended up so sick without even knowing what caused it. With no strength to even think of getting up, I spent two days in bed resting and trying to keep myself hydrated. Thankfully, coconut water and resting in the hammock saved the day, so on Thursday evening I was ready to take a few steps further from the hostel. And what steps those were! Dancing steps!

This is how I experienced my first forró dance. Mauricio, the owner of the hostel I’m staying at invited me to a forró evening, which I accepted without even knowing what it was, but I was ready to get to know the local nightlife, especially given its so safe in Jeri to stay out after it gets dark 😉

I was told the party started at midnight, so there was ample time for me to get an afternoon nap – after all I can’t remember the last time I went out on midnight, I’m usually back and in bed by then!

By midnight there were 7 of us going to the party. From what I hear, there’s one party every night, the only thing that changes is the type of dance and the location, but everyone gathers in the same club and dances to the same tune. Thursdays and Saturdays are forró nights.

I had to look for a video that would quite reflect what it felt like to me (as each dancer has their own style), so here is the closest to what I experienced last night. Imagine an open-air pub, a live band and barefoot (sweaty) dancers on the dance floor… you get the image!

So, one of the girls of our group who has ample dancing experience showed me the basic steps, which seemed very easy at first, but that was only when I would dance to the rhythm on my own. When coupled with a partner, I had to let him lead. That was the hard part! Mauricio was my first Brazilian dance partner. Oh, what a moment to check one of the items on my bucket list.

Dance the lambada with a Brazilian. – CHECK!

Well, it might have been forró and not lambada, but felt like the same thing to me. Brazilians have so many types of music and dance it’s quite the task to even remember the names of the rhythms, not to mention dancing to the tunes or making out the differences between them!

Poor Mauricio did his best to lead my stiff feet and body and to take control, but I felt like a cucumber trying to dance like a linguini! I did, however, laugh a lot at my lack of dancing skills and Mauricio’s patience. I’d like to think that the fact he left the party shortly after had nothing to do with his experience dancing with the ‘cucumber’. 😀

I spent some time looking at the dancers on the floor, trying to figure out what it was I’d been doing wrong and trying to imitate some of the moves on my own. One thing I noticed was that most women were dancing on their toes, rather than on the whole sole of their feet, like yours truly. So, that was one thing to keep in mind. Toes, toes, toes. At some point I noticed a guy was asking almost every girl around me to dance, and was rejected by each and every one. Well, when he came closer to me and asked me to dance, I realized it was not the looks (which was not appealing to my taste anyway – imagine much shorter, chubby, bold guy), rather the smell of his sweating body that kept me from hitting the floor with this one! He did insist a bit longer with me than with the other women, probably thinking I’m an easy target being the most obvious tourist.. short blond hair, tall big girl – again sticking out from the crowd of shorter, petite, brunettes all with long hair! He even suggested he was a ‘professor!’… in dancing (I assumed) but that didn’t tempt me one bit!

Then another guy came up to me. I had seen him perform quite the dance a while before and seemed like an ‘OK’ guy; also sweaty, but at least not smelly. Quite tall for the Brazilian standards (and in any case taller than me) so when he asked I hesitated a bit telling him I don’t know how to dance, but he didn’t seem to bother (or understand what I said!). This was Ricardo. Ricardo did not allow any room for error. He grabbed me, held my body tight and close to his and led the dance, no questions asked. I had no say in anything, so we ended up dancing quite smoothly, I must say. The rhythm was intense and fast and we used a big part of the dance floor doing pirouettes and swinging away. He started slowly, probably checking me out to see my dancing skills and when he obviously saw he could take it one step further, he did. The dance became more sensual, he was leaning his forehead on mine, holding me even tighter and maneuvering my hips with his hands. There was not much I could (or wanted) to do. I was the linguini and it was nice! It did at some point become somewhat awkward for this European girl as his moves and embrace got sexual rather than sensual and I could feel him trying to be more intimate… I bet he would never have imagined what went through his partner’s mind all the while he was trying to… well, be a latino lover in a way 😀 Oh, those thoughts, hehe. Like, ‘ok, what do you want now? Am I going beyond the line here? Am I allowing for too much? Should I stop and leave? Everyone around seems to be acting the same way.. am I too European for the local standards?’ Oh, I was going nuts at some point. Then I remembered what I’d read on the plane on my first trip out of the Netherlands. Let reality be reality. And so I did J

We danced to two songs, which for the local standards lasted around 20-30 minutes as the band just wouldn’t stop singing and since I haven’t done any training in the past days, I considered this to be my metcon of the day 😀

The music normally stops at 3am but just after 2am the police came and the music stopped. Everyone left to head to another place where the party was supposed to continue, but eventually there was no such place and we ended up at the beach. It was very quiet and not much happening; only one ‘barraqueiro’ a local selling caipirinhas from his cart (the barraqua) at the beach. I stick to water all night (fearing more stomach issues obviously) but I didn’t mind it one bit. We were trying to communicate with Ricardo, getting some help from time to time from one of the girls that spoke Portuguese. I was fascinated by the fact I could understand 1/3 of what he was saying (or drawing on the sand)! Ricardo works two jobs. During the day he works with the horses that take tourists around the beach and in the evening he work at an Italian restaurant. He’s been living in Jeri for 6 years and 3 years in Sao Paolo, where he also worked two jobs (construction and restaurant). He spoke of Jericoacoara, the lagoons around the village, the big rock that is the symbol of the place but also of the fact that I am a natural born dancer and that out of the 3 girls he danced with during that night I was the best one… and don’t ask me how I understood all this, but I did (and double checked with my interpret too!).

Oh what a funny night. A night to remember. After the beach talks and getting to know each other it was time to part ways.. He did try to convince me we’d have loads of fun staying together for longer, but it was ‘boa noite’ time in my books!

There will definitely be more dancing in the next days (samba night tonight!) and more practicing my Portuguese language skills, so stay tuned 😀

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