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Saturday 23 Jan 2010
Jericoacoara, Brazil

Arrived in Ceara on the way to Jerry Kwah Kwar a

JUST ABOUT made the flight at 5am this morning... had about 4 hours sleep. Room was still hot despite having TWO fans.. I couldn't wait for the air con room I had waiting for me at my ultimate destination, Jericoacoara. My destination du jour is a kite-surfing paradise, supposedly some of the best wind on the planet, and although the primary season is August - November (most constant wind and weather), there is still good wind up until the end of January, after which the weather becomes decidedly more gusty and rainy (not good for kiting!).

Ever since having had a taste of kite-surfing in Tarifa 3 years ago, I've been mostly land-boarding in the Phoenix park as it was easier to get to. At the back of my mind, though, there has always been an insatiable urge to FULLY complete a course in kite-surfing and finally see if it's for me or if I should just stick with the landboarding (the last time I did kite-surfing, the course stopped just as I was about to learn about getting up on the board). No doubt my landboarding skills would be of immense help to me as well.

The closest airport is Fortaleza and upon arriving I got a one-way bus ticket to Jericoacoara at a kiosk beside the tourist counter. About 35 reais (13 euro). The trip is about 6 hours, including 1 hour going in a 4x4 "Jardineria" from the last town with paved roads to Jeri. This was going to be my first time to experience the Brazillian bus service which, from all accounts, is a very comfortable service.
Check the map to see the distance between Fortaleza and Jero. It's so relatively small that you get a real sense of how large Brazil is (or how much time it would take to bus it all!)

Before leaving on the bus, I stocked up on the last 600 reais I could get from the ATM. It seems that in Brazil, there is a limit on how much you can take out of the ATM with a european bank card, probably for security reasons, so 600 reais (about 250 euro) is the max per day. Jericoacoara doesn't have any ATMs... and until only 10 years ago it didn't even have electricity, let alone Internet! Just a remote fishing village.

Taking the Jardineria...
Taking the Jardineria...

4x4 bus from Fortaleza...
4x4 bus from Fortaleza...

I wasn't disappointed about the bus. It was extremely comfortable with reclining chairs and even a toilet and DVD player in the ceiling (although it was showing a rather crap Christian Evangelical movie called "Fireproof"!). The time flew by. As we passed through remote areas of the countryside, I marvelled at how practically EVERY section of road had a village or farm of some sort. Even in a small country like Ireland, remote areas would often be bereft of life save for the odd farmhouse. As we changed over to the 4x4 and began the drive through dunes, getting supposedly as far away from civilisation as was possible, you would turn a corner and another small village would appear out of the desert. None of the great expanses of lonely plains that you see in Australia or mid-West USA. I guess it's because Brazil's weather ensures pretty much any point in the country is livable as even the dunes have some greenery in them, so stake your claim! That's Brazil for you!

The Jardineria section of the trip was a great laugh. Like being in a giant beach buggy! The odd time the truck would have trouble getting through a sand-dune we would all be ready to jump out and push. But thankfully that never happened!

Despite now being 2 degrees south of the Equator, the weather here is surprisingly mild (almost room temperature) at a constant 27-30C and a fresh breeze. Apparently it stays at this temperature throughout the year! Lovely!

Beach front of the town
Beach front of the town

The people up here a noticably more indigenous Indian-looking than anywhere else I've been so far. They have a very distinct almost "Hawaiian" look. They don't at all look like the people I met in Guatemala who would have been of Incan descendancy. They don't seem to be disenfrachised either, and run most of the businesses in the area.

Chill out Bars on the...
Chill out Bars on the...

Finally arriving at Jeri after a bumpy hour in the sand dunes and driving along the beach, the first thing that strikes you is just how well structured the place is! Everything is low-key and laid back, with ambient Jack Johnson tracks issuing out of backpacker bars, but it's all top quality. Anything you want, from Sushi to Knee-support bandages (which I needed for kite surfing), they seem to have it! The restaurants are great, wonderfully decorated in beach BBQ style, and there are countless pretty little pousadas that line the sand-streets. Even some of the shops have sand-floor interiors! It caters for tourism but it hasn't lost it's Bahain surfer soul. It's almost like a beach version of Kao San Road, but replace the craziness with chill out sessions while downing Caprinhas under a full moon. I fell in love immediately!

Dunes stretch for miles
Dunes stretch for miles

Breakfast overlooking La...
Breakfast in Pousada

It's now part of a protected reserve so there's no chance of major developments ruining it any time soon. As a result street lights aren't permitted.

Surrounding the village are the expanses of sand dunes that seem to dominate the horizon.

My pousada (with huge double bed, plus single bed, plus TV, plus ensuite, plus.. yes..YES.. AC !!!... not to mention a fantastic view with the included breakfast) is only costing 60 reais (25 euro) a night so I quickly decided I was going to spend a long long time here.

First kite lesson in the morning so early to bed....

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South America Twenty Ten

Travel blog by peterforan

Moiagasm!

Moiagasm!


After previously dipping my toes in Latin America via trips to Cuba and Central America, it's time to go for the big splash! 3 1/2 months to take in as much as I can, armed with little more than my camera, laptop and a few dodgy Spanish phrases.

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Photo Album

  • 4x4 bus from...

    Jericoacoara

    Brazil

    4x4 bus from Fortaleza to Jeri
  • Taking the...

    Jericoacoara

    Brazil

    Taking the Jardineria along the dunes!
  • Jeri is...

    Jericoacoara

    Brazil

    Jeri is beautiful
  • Beach buggy!

    Jericoacoara

    Brazil

    Beach buggy!