I just got back from Brazil. I didn’t “just go to Brazil”; I went to Paradise, which is another name for Brazil. I had wanted to go there since I was eight, so this was a pilgrimage for me. I had read about it, looked at maps, listened to the music, watched movies and dreamed of Brazil since I had been a small child; it was only fitting that one day I should go.

Like every good American, Rio de Janeiro was the obvious destination. After watching Fred Astair and those 20 beauties on the wing of a Pan Am Clipper “Flying Down To Rio”, where else could I go? I wanted to see it all. However, after telling a neighbor of mine who was from Brazil that I was planning on going, she suggested another destination: Fortaleza, Ceara. I had heard of it, but that was all, but with the help of a World Atlas, several travel books and the Internet I soon became familiar with it, or at least that’s what I thought. The reality far exceeded the fantasy.

 

Fortaleza, Ceara is the number one destination of Brazilian tourists and the number one millionth destination of Americans. Americans don’t even know it exists. Everyone that I told about it looked at me as though I had just mentioned going to a planet in a far-off galaxy (There are less than fifty Americans in Ceara, a state of over seven and a half million people). In order to go there, I had to become a Brazilian for two weeks. It was ABSOLUTELY wonderful. Even though I didn’t speak the language (Portuguese), not only did I make it, but also I had the most wonderful time I could ever imagine.