Now I’m in Sweden after an amazing week with many happenings in Brazil. Wedding, beach days, sun, bath, parties, ineffective Brazilians, shootings, language problems and catholic moms is just some of the things I have experienced. Many both negative and positive things during a fantastic vacation week in a country I don’t want to come back to.
Let’s start with the wedding, since that is the whole reason why I got there in the first place. It was my former roommates Christoffer and Lidia that were to get married in her hometown of Fortaleza. Since Brazilian women are only allowed to marry once in a lifetime (at least in the church) the family and friends put all their efforts into that. And how they had put their efforts, it was a fairy tale wedding with everything that is required. As Christoffer’s dad said, the wedding planner probably had watched to many movies, cause every little detail there is was there. A little girl who carried in the rings, a waterfall of roses falling over them when they left the church, silverware with their names, everybody arranged according to height, and thousand other stuff. Everything was perfect into the smallest detail (since I’ve lived with Chris I have also heard the price discussions, and this was not cheap).
But everything was perfect, and so, so beautiful. Lidia was so pretty, the pries was really good (Irish!), the ceremony had enough length, and then the dinner and party. The dinner we didn’t think that much about, compared to the party =)
I had one assignment, or actually two. In the church, me and a Brazilian boy were to read a part of the Bible. First him in Portuguese, and then me in English. Not until right before the ceremony I was told which passage I was to read, so I couldn’t rehearse, but it went well anyway.
Lidia and her grandpa
Mrs and Mr Nyman
My second assignment was to take photos (big surprise, huh?). When we got to the dinner there was first hundreds of official photos that was to be taken of Chris and Lidia by the official photographers. Since I have taken good photos of them before and they liked it, I was asked to join the other official photographers. So along with them I took hundreds of photos, and they became just as good as those from the official photographers. I gave all of them to Chris and Lidia a couple of days later.
The nice couple
Swedish guys and Lidia
The party was so much fun; everybody went all in. Not in the start, but once we Swedes and Norwegians showed them how things are done we got everybody going. Wildest on the dance floor was probably the bride and groom’s parents and aunts. We had so much fun, and everybody danced with everybody. An open bar that was emptied was also a good grade for the party ;)
There wasn’t that many from Christoffer’s side at this trip. We have been nine in total. From Santa Barbara came me and Ola. Chris’ two childhood friends Kristian and Andreas came, as did Andreas’ girlfriend from America. Then Chris’ parents. His mom is from Norway, so the people from her isde was a bunch of jolly Norwegians. Aunt + husband plus a close friend to the family. All of us have stuck together this week and had the time of our lives. We have been like a big family that has done trips, ate and partied together.
Among other things we went to a big water park Monday. We had so much fun, and also the elderly came along in the wildest slides. The worst one was Insano. 41 meters tall and a water slide that basically went straight down, or at least 50 degrees angle.
Insano - I rode that!
The elderly partied with us a lot, but not all the time. Saturday, us kids went to a big festival at a beach with over 15 000 people, and everybody had the same clothes, which you got along with the tickets. We were a bunch of about 15 people that slept in one of Lidia’s relative’s cabin out in the countryside close to the festival. We slept in hammocks and inflatable mattresses out on the patio and we woke up at seven in the morning when the parents came and gave us fresh coconuts from the garden and showed us how you make cashew nuts, which is a kinda complicated process from taken the FRUIT and then have the nuts.
We have also spent a lot of time with Lidia’s relatives. Brazilian families are together all the time. And they talk to you all the time. In Portuguese. It doesn’t matter if you doesn’t understand anything, they keep on talking.
So is it for everybody. No one knows any English. We have learned some Portuguese. One of the most common expressions is “sautchi” (don’t know the spelling). It means Cheers! The other one is “sim”. It means yes. From that you can come pretty far…
But I can say that you should watch out for Brazilian families when you meet girls. A very good tip.
The weather has been very nice. It has been mostly overcast, and also rained some days, and that has been so perfect. Those days the temperature has been around 30C/80F. When there is pure sunshine you couldn’t be outdoors. Fortaleza is right beneath the equator and it is whole bit above 40/100 when it’s sun, and it is impossible to move. With the overcast it has been a perfect heat.
So far everything sounds all good.
But how about the negative stuff? They have actually been quite many.
The heat was a problem, but not as big as the other things. No one knows any English. And that is not just among regular people. Cab drivers, hotel staff, airport employees, no one speaks English. In our gang there has only been Lidia and her friend Mariana who know both English and Portuguese, so they have been our interpreters during the week. But often you can’t be understood. And don’t try to speak Spanish, cause they hate that almost as much as they hate Americans.
The ineffectiveness. Nothing works. Nothing is the way it’s said to be, everything is so complicated, people doesn’t care about anything, they couldn’t care less if something is working or not or if something is wrong. Especially when it comes to times. We Scandinavians have all week used the expression Brazilian Time. You always have to add an extra half hour, at least, when you have decided on a time. And there is not two clocks that are the same. And no airplanes ever leaves on time.
Not feeling safe. I have not been able to wear my necklace of watch during this week. It is not safe, and we have been warned by many people. I was planning on going out on the beach outside our hotel and take some pictures, but the hotel staff stopped me and told me that if I go out there with my camera I will be assaulted immediately. If you’re a gringo you can never walk alone. Not even in the nice neighborhoods. And you can’t rely on the Police, they are so amazingly corrupt.
This was shown from its worst spot during the festival we went to. Two in our gang got their cameras stolen, and some money disappeared as well, all from pocket thieves. But the worst thing was that there was a settlement between two people on the festival and one of the guys shot and killed the other guy. In the middle of the festival area.
The country is also very poor. There are so big areas of slum, favelas and shed villages.
So how is it now if you add everything? Well, the week has been so much fun and the wedding was amazing. The weather has been great, and I have gained a whole lot of new friends. But one reason it went so well was that we were busy all the time, we had activities planned and almost always hung out with people from there. If we hadn’t had that, I would not recommend people to go on vacation there. It is just too complicated. Nothing works, no one understands you, and it is not safe to be outside. I’ thinking about going there to the FIFA Soccer World Cup 2014 (some games will be played in Fortaleza) but then live with people I got to know now (we have already got invitations) and only hang out with them all the time.
Beside that I will not return to Brazil I’ll just have to live on the beautiful memories I have from this trip and appreciate everything nice I have experienced.