I spend Sunday night drying my laundry using the good old “fan blowing directly on clothes” trick and worrying about the next stop, the actual beginning of my Nordeste adventure—Fortaleza, state of Ceará, a new city for me.

I knew I was going to hate it for a few hours, I knew I was going to miss São Paulo which feels strangely cozy and familiar after so many trips, and I knew I was going to spend the first evening and possibly the entire night regretting picking yet another random Brazilian city to explore.

I mean, this is how it usually goes. I’m human, I’m wired to fear change but at the same time, the perspective of an adventure is exciting, so I usually go for it. The key is to get ready for a few uncomfortable hours and keep an open mind. I know, easier said than done…

I flew to São Paulo because this is where planes land if you’re coming from abroad, plus I actually like the city so I don’t mind. But I’m heading to the Nordeste, a corner of Brazil I love to explore and experience.

This time, I’m starting in Fortaleza—why not?

On Monday morning, the Uber I scheduled the night before was right on time, and he drove me to Congonhas, the smaller airport where taking off and landing is an adventure in itself.

GOL played the airport gate change game—gate 9… just kidding, gate 11! Oh, you guys are here already? How about making you walk to gate 12?

Congonhas isn’t the kind of airport where you can just find your gate and read a book or play with your phone while waiting to board. Unexpected gate changes are the rule, not the exception. The flight was also “on time” even though the scheduled takeoff time was an hour ago. But hey, at least GOL gives snacks and drinks!

It was a 3.5-hour flight and we eventually landed at 5 p.m. instead of 4 p.m., no big deal. I found a Uber, I checked in at the Airbnb, then the real adventure began. My mission? Getting groceries and cooking dinner. Sounds easy enough for a grownup, right? Sure, except that 1) it was dark 2) I had no idea where I was going 2) I wasn’t familiar with local stores and supermarkets 3) I barely had any battery left so I couldn’t use Google Maps much 4) it was 7 p.m. and many places were closing 5) groceries are heavy so I probably had to drop off stuff at the Airbnb and go again.

Honestly, life is much easier when you just stay home.

Mission accomplished two hours later. I even had enough energy left to walk to the waterfront promenade.

Mission of the week? Figuring out Fortaleza.

Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Takeoff in Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas
Close to Fortaleza
Close to Fortaleza
Close to Fortaleza
Close to Fortaleza
Close to Fortaleza
Close to Fortaleza

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6 Comments

  1. Kiky F January 20, 2023 at 8:58 am

    Looking forward to hear (read) your story ini this city

    Reply
    1. Zhu January 20, 2023 at 10:48 pm

      Coming up next! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Lexie January 21, 2023 at 7:59 am

    I like how you describe the fact of leaving and how it can be mentally hard. How long do you plan to stay in this new city ?

    Reply
    1. Zhu January 23, 2023 at 1:40 am

      I’m travelling tomorrow, but I stayed a week in Fortaleza.

      Reply
  3. Martin Penwald January 21, 2023 at 9:48 am

    C’est vraiment moche ces dalles noires et blanches.

    Reply
    1. Zhu January 23, 2023 at 1:40 am

      C’est le style art déco de l’aéroport, d’époque, bien dans son jus 😉

      Reply

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