One can’t help but notice the essence of Brazil and its pulsing rhythm. The sing-song calls of the beach hawker, to the echoing roar of soccer fans, there is an intangible percussive quality.
We walked with our new friend and guide, Tarso, down a long pier off Fortaleza’s best beach, Beira Mar. The jangadas (triangle sailboats) drifting for catches to our left, industrial barges pulling into port on our right. We found a tranquil beach bar and took in a gorgeous sunset. The sun’s radiant path confused me as it never went horizon to horizon being so near the equator here in Brazil’s pre-winter. Tarso’s friend Paul, nicknamed Cabeza for his large cranium, joined us and we pieced together our night’s conversation between their Portuguese and our English, and our lack of each other’s native tongue. Tarso encouraged me to shoot out my Spanish to assuage mis-translations. We shared a few Antarctica, Brazilian beers.
They laughed at me for the price I paid for a pair of “real” Ray-Bans from a friendly vendor who broached our lunch table earlier in the day. They said there’s three prices to pay: one for a local Fortalezan, one for a Brazilian tourist, and then one most expensive of all for gringos like us down from the States! They took us to a local’s bar more inland called Sherlock’s English pub where we befriended the Aussie owner who said he was passing through eight years ago and never left. By night’s end he crumpled up our tab and invited us to his 40th birthday party on Saturday.
Today is opening day of the Cup and Brazil’s flags and streamers are ever-present. Sounds from FIFA’s Fan Fest and fireworks are echoing from the beach in the day build-up to the host nation’s game against Croatia. This country is absolutely ready to burst!
Brennan Karle is a Las Vegas teacher who covers prep sports for the Review-Journal. He’s in Brazil for the World Cup. You can see photos of his trip on Instagram at brennankarle.