This will be a long post. Get yourself some coffee, tea, coconut water, a caipirinha or whiskey if you’re on the other side of the world and it’s getting late… just get comfy, it’s a juicy post!
You know, it is not easy to write about exciting things when you are in a shitty mood and it’s definitely not fair to let things be unsaid because you let someone or something ruin your day or even your own self(!) by waking up thinking ‘yeah, let’s be miserable today..’! Hell no! (Tee, hope you see the progress I’m making here! 😉 )
I will tell you about Tee, about Dennis and Karine and Nadine and Marina and Nicolette and Savio and Felippe and the Wizard’s Eye… God, I have so much exciting things to share with you! …and the way things go, by the time I finish and post this I will probably have a shitload of new things happening that I will want to share with you!
I am starting to get the broader picture, starting to see a pattern in my feelings and reactions and that makes me so happy! At last I see a positive curve in the progress of my self-improvement. I’ve worked so hard on myself to achieve that and, although there’s still a long road ahead of me to explore, I can see that the 5+ years of psychotherapy, 3+ years of CrossFit and 6+ months of solo traveling are starting to give some results! The feeling you get after all the struggle that it was worth it… Priceless!
So, here I was comfortably sitting in my little bubble in Jericoacoara, away from the world but more connected to it than ever before.. Friday morning, my last Friday in the village and I was feeling miserable for having to leave the next day, trying to find ways or excuses to stay longer, to dance forro one more night, to see one more sunset, one more capoeira at the beach, spend one more day with my friends. It seemed that during my last 10 days in Jeri I met more people than during the whole first month, came closer to locals, started understanding so much more Portuguese, enjoyed my time to the fullest apparently cause that’s what most of us humans do, appreciate something when it’s the time to let it go.
If there is one lesson I’ve learned so far in my 6 months of traveling solo is that happiness is around the corner – all I have to do is leave the house cause life is out there, waiting to happen. So I did. I gathered all my will power, put on my bikini and forced myself to go to the beach – yes, I know it may sound crazy not to want to go out lay in the sun, but I felt awful. I really needed to push myself.
I kept telling myself “one more coconut water, one more afternoon at the Milano Beach Bar and you’ll be fine, you got this, girl!” The sun was hot on Friday and so was the sand. Walking towards the Hurricane Hotel, the place that gave me the chance to pamper myself by enjoying the delicious dishes, fruity cocktails and amazing infinity pool, I caught myself noticing the small things, the fine details of this scenery. I didn’t want to leave anything unnoticed, no memory unregistered in my mental hard drive, however small or big. Absorbed in my own thoughts I heard a loud “Heeeey, Joana!!” and there he was, Felippe, the guy who knows everyone in Jeri, the owner of the Hawaiian canoe I so much enjoyed, getting ready for a full day of kite-buggy surfing with some tourists. I walked towards him, faking a smile (practicing the “fake it till you make it” concept). He invited me to join the group that was getting ready to go to Preia (a beach further away from Jeri) and then for some kite-buggy fun on the sand dunes. To be honest I had no desire whatsoever to have fun, all I wanted was to be left there on a sunbed, talk to no one and prepare myself for my new reality. A reality that would not find me walking on sand every day… Instead, I found it in me to fake it one more time and accepted the invitation. Felippe’s bright smile and positive energy did the trick. So here I was, on a 4×4 truck with two South Africans, one American and a Brazilian, off to a new adventure. The guys were so cheerful and excited for the day trip. Turned out that they were the Wizard’s Eye crew of which I knew nothing, but found out a lot!
Wizard’s Eye is the name of a sail boat cruising around the world for almost 4 years now. It is a sponsored project called Wizard’s Eye Expedition documenting the whole journey in episodes available on YouTube. The cool thing about this whole expedition is that the guys try all extreme sports or activities that they know or hear of, literally anything they put their hands on! This time they stopped in Jericoacoara, their last stop before heading to the Caribbean. Dunes, kite-surfing and buggy-surfing were on their list and there was no better place for this.
From one moment to the next, my day changed from black to white, I met fun people, saw new stuff and had an amazing experience riding the buggy on the dunes! To be honest, I almost peed in my pants when at some point (as it was already too dark for us to see where we were going) the buggy came close to turning over to the side, but still it was an unforgettable experience and would do it all again in a heartbeat!
I didn’t have the time to post a lot of pics, but here’s my digital album of the whole day :p
Got back home at around 7 in the evening, dead tired, but would not miss my last Samba night for the world! I went for dinner with my friend Nadine to one of the best restaurants in Jeri, Tamarindo, and then met up with the rest to dance the night away drinking caipirinhas. Do you really need much more to be happy?
In a way it is a good thing nightlife in Jeri finishes between 2 and 3am. Allows for some time to sleep and still enjoy the next day! And Saturday was my last day in Jeri…
I woke up early as always but getting out of bed was harder than usual. But, it was the last morning, I had to make the most of it so I made me a take-away coffee and walked to the dune. The tide was low, the fishermen had just brought the catch of the day and people were gathered around their boast to select the best fish. Some were walking along the beach, others jogged and the beach restaurants were starting to set the sunbeds and umbrellas. The buggies were leaving Jeri packed with tourists to show them the best of the National Park and bring them back in time for the sunset and Saturday night party.
I walked up the dune, listening to my music, sipping my coffee and trying to absorb the view. It was particularly cloudy and dark. Maybe Jeri was saying goodbye in its own way. I was so sad. Pffff… tough morning!
I got back home and started packing and putting aside clothes I would give away. Seems that my backpack is getting lighter and lighter every time I pack it.
By the time I finished packing it was already early afternoon. I still had time to enjoy the last sunset before returning the key to my home. So it was Milano Beach Bar again. You cannot imagine the state of mind I was in! It was like I was grieving and couldn’t stop the tears from coming down my face. I was trying to rationalize it, but practice is always harder than theory. Thankfully, my vibes reached Tee and Nadine and they both came looking for me. Those two ladies were simply God-sent! Silly gossip about men always help cheer up, especially when accompanied by one or more caipirinhas. In no time my tears had dried, we were laughing loud and having one of the best afternoons I had in my time in Jeri. When it was time for the post-sunset capoeira, we got our drinks in plastic cups and walked down the beach to watch. Words are sometimes not enough…
Next stop was at one of the local pizzerias on Rua Principal. More laughs, more fun. It’s so weird.. being so sad yet enjoying the moment so much! Having those ladies keep me company was more than I could have asked for. And to think I’d only met them a few days back…
After dinner Nadine left and I went home with Tee to return my key and take my backpacks to the ticket office. We then went for a last walk to the square, some more capoeira and banana-roskas! You should def try those, an interesting alternative to the usually acid fruits used in caipis. At the end of Rua Principal are all the ‘barracas’ like in the pics here, offering cocktails all day and all night.. Music playing from the speakers and people dancing on the sand.. in front of the beach.
With a babanaroska at hand, we went to the main square where there was one more capoeira going on. Dennis joined us and took this great video (cause my freakin’ i-phone is giving up on me lately and I cannot take videos in the dark…)
…and the clock was ticking, and it was time to catch the bus. Even at the last minute I was offering to exchange my ticket for another on Sunday, anything to keep me in Jeri… So with red eyes, I got on the bus and off to a new adventure. I was secretly hoping something would happen that would keep me there, anything. But my other self got on that bus and out of my comfort zone again.
After 7 hours I got to Fortaleza at 5.15 am, tired as hell, sleepy and sad. My friend Savio had arranged a transfer for me (he’s been an invaluable friend since day-1!) making it a bit easier for me, especially since I now was no longer in my ‘safe’ Jeri environment.
I am again walking on hot asphalt, cars and tall buildings all around me, people rushing, drivers shouting, feeling unsafe, having to put away the little faux pendant I have constantly had on my neck in Jeri, hide my phone, be alert for any threatening signs. Where I got at the hostel and sat waiting for time to pass so that I could check in and have some coffee. I was shown to my room and met two girls with whom I shared the dorm. They both were headed to Jeri…
But just like that, things turned from shitty to super yet again! One of the girls, Nicolette, who’s originally Dutch would stay a whole day in Fortaleza and I am so glad I got to spend it with her! We went to the beach, had lunch by the sea, hit the pool and did a bit of a workout and talked a lot. What a great company she was! Then in the afternoon I met with my friend Savio, we had one coffee after the other, tapiocas and an almost 4-hour conversation about… well, about a bit of everything! He is such a positive person, motivated, optimistic, always on the lookout for new learning experiences and always willing to open-handedly share his knowledge and ideas and his network hehe! He introduced me to his friend, Karine, with whom I ended up spending the rest of the night but also the next night. Girl talk, laughs.. a new friend in my life!
Last night we went to Piratas, the only club that is open on Mondays in Fortaleza and plays forro and other types of local music. OMG! what a shock it was to be there! What a difference with what I was used to back in Jeri!
First of all, the women were so dressed up that I kinda felt out of place in my shorts, plain top and flip flops. They were wearing high heels for crying out loud! Chapeau, ladies, I really don’t know how you do it. But the biggest shock came once I started dancing with a guy and then another one and another one. Their way of dancing is quite different in the sense that – are you ready for this? – they actually keep a small distance between their bodies! No hip rubbing, neck sniffing or ear biting! I guess my dancing partner in Jeri was right after all. You don’t dance with everyone the way you dance with a partner that you click. Of course every partner has his own style but at least there was a common point of reference in Jeri when it came to passionate dancing. There was a minimum passion standard hehe. I guess I can’t hide the fact I preferred the way I was already taught to dance in Jeri. I’m happy I learned there and was shocked in this way in Fortaleza rather than it all happening the other way around. If I’d been used to keep distance and be as serious as the couples in Fortaleza, I would have had a much more difficult time going with the flow in Jeri.
But oh well… it was a new experience, I did dance barefoot without caring about the rest and had a great night with my friend, Karine and also met a very funny and interesting young man, Heitor. Karine was so sweet, going up to guys and asking them to dance with me 🙂 But this guy Karine knew already as he never misses a forro night and they have danced several times. You could see it in his face and body posture that he was really there enjoying the dance, changing partners every couple of songs, showing the same excitement with all women… tall, short, blond, slim or not. He knew the lyrics to all songs and would sing aloud as if no one was listening. The definition of feeling carefree… How can I not love this country and its people?
God I keep writing and writing and this post is endless. Seems that so many things happen every day. From highs to lows in a matter of moments and all it takes is the smile of a new person coming into your life, or a message on your phone when you least expect it, or someone telling you you inspired them, or people reading your blog and contacting you ‘just because’.
I never thought I’d be saying this, but I am starting to feel privileged. I keep meeting lovely people, day in day out, making friends, being helped, loved, inspired and at the end of the day challenged to become an even better version of myself. Somehow things are falling into place on their own. I guess the “Let reality be reality” tattoo is very close to becoming reality too 😀
to be continued…