FORRÓ AND JERICOACOARA
Trip Start Dec 01, 2002
24Trip End May 26, 2003
You just don´t know the place I got done visiting. Why, it´s fabdabalabulous!
Jericoacoara beach. (That´s its real name, I wasn´t just getting funny with the syllables that time.) It was my second-favorite Brazilian "lugar" (place) the first time I was in Brazil, and it´s just gotten better.
It´s still naturally breathtaking. Jericoacoara is a village of 1300 people. It lies behind some big, rolling, pasture-green hills that mark a sharp curve in the land before the sea below. To either side of this curve, beaches untouched by man float off into distant disappearance. Rain-gray ocean tries climbing the beach in puffing waves.
But, what sets Jericoacoara apart are the large, white-as-salt sand dunes that have been blown into their solitary positions all across the coconut-plam-dotted, sand landscape. At times, ten dunes can be seen at once: leaping along the beach or towering behind inland. They beautifully fill the eyes. So round. So soft. Perhaps they appeal to us so because they remind us of humankind´s child-born obsession with the female bosom?
It´s the type of place where you just go walking, walking, and there´s always some place you have to go see.
So off I went, climbing the giant bosoms. Adventuring, I got cannoned through the sea´s waves. I skipped through coconut forests. I took huge, running, skyborne jumps off the falling faces of the dunes. I passed free-range, chewing donkeys and goats and bulls. I returned to a big, blue lake - where I once believed a monster to live - and went snorkelling. I ate ham-and-cheese sandwiches in the rain, and danced with Greta Garbo.
The nature was as good as ever. There seemed to be more tourists, though. Only, this seemed to make the place better, as native Jericoacoarakoalas, as they´re called - by me - embraced the visiting Brazilians and foreigners in a twirling love spin that was better than skipping through coconut forest.
In case you didn´t know, many foreigners, usually in their twenties, strap on big backpacks and travel around South America for months and months at a time. Some of them stick together in the "in"-spots; others do some more local mingling.
And more of these backpackers, by far, come from Israel of all places. That´s right. In that country, everyone goes to the mandatory two-year military service, and then afterwards lots of them take a big, fun trip. It´s mostly guys, but also girls too. Pretty cool.
So there we were. Me and the Israelis and the locals, mingling. A lot of the locals thought I was Israeli, since I also have light skin and since most Israeli guys have their hair long as they´re travelling. Except, I´ll never say anything along the lines of, "Hoch-sloff mucc goff shaloff!" Hebrew´s pretty coughy strange; but the Israelis all know english.
It was nice to be in Jericoacoara. A place where, on the beach or on the store-lined sand streets of the tiny town, anybody could pretty much go up and talk to anybody and soon be sitting down and good friends. The locals always thought it was cool that you were a traveller. Yet, they always got angry when you admitted you´d have to leave Jericoacoara some day.
After the day on the beach, Jericoacoara had its terrific night craze: the dance club of forró. "O forró vai ´tar aberto hoje?" was all you heard on the streets. (Will the forró be open tonight?)
I went and watched the Brazilian couples wiggling their hips back-and-forth and bopping around closely. One huge-torso´d guy in a river of sweat tossed around the best female dancers. He guided their turns rapidly with his hands, keeping the beat, and he often picked them up and wore the flying girls like hula-hoops.
On a floor beneath the stars, we foreigners danced too. One gray-sweats, blond-highlighted Israeli guy, in particular, was crazy like an ant to dance. He was asking girls to dance without pause, and when shot down he would hop around alone. It was slightly embarrassing. Nearly all the friendly girls danced with him sooner or later, of course.
The Israelis could dance, having spent up to six weeks in Jericoacoara, and I was much improved since my last forró venture. On my first night out, I found a girl to dance with who really cracked me up. Suzie was short, she had an almost Chinese-ish look to her Brazilian-skin face, and she had funny, short dark pig-tails. The girl could simply not tire. When I took a rest, she pointed in the air, sang the words, and twist-strutted alone like a star on Flash-Dance. Suzie sang along to one forró band´s female singer whose Portuguese voice was so soothing and so softly juicy as to make you want to be rocked asleep that night in a crib.
"O forró vai abrir essa noite?" (Will the forró open tonight?) The people were anxious the next three days, until Saturday night we could finally dance.
On this night, I ended up dancing mostly with a girl who was too short for me, had no rhythm, and seemed to be trying to kiss me. It could´ve been worse. When I´d first arrived, I´d nearly asked a girl in a skirt to dance who was really a guy. Whuh-oh.
There were a lot of these guy-girls. Later, late in the night, some twelve-year-old boys stormed inside to dance. One of them danced with a guy-girl, which was pretty funny. He was frightened of letting the guy-girl get close to him, so he just kept spinning his partner, using the only spin he knew, over and over all three-minute song long.
Another of the twelve-year-olds, I noticed was dancing with my short, rhythm-less partner. And he had his hands all over her! They snuck off into the night later on, too, or so it seemed. Nothing like losing a girl to a twelve-year-old, eh?
I was happy to score a dance from eager Loiria. Short Loiria (you don´t hear of many tall Brazilians) had pretty, blond curls, wore tight, low jeans, and was one of the hottest little dancers there. I didn´t know how to pick her up like a hula-hoop. But, I did incorporate some personal salsa moves that mostly surprised her and got her laughing. With irony, she pointed out the lyrics to the song we´d chosen to dance to.
It was pretty dirty. The only words I understood from the female singer were, "Tire camisinha, tire camisinha!" (Take off your c*nd*m.) I guess it just goes to show that, whererever you go, not everything is peaches and cream and little, red wagons.
Even in Jericoacoara.
The nearest big capital city, Fortaleza, is seven hours away by bus. Jericoacoara and its pearly dunes are like a little beach of heaven.
How sad to leave.
Yeah! Modern Oddyseus.