The Wee G welcome guest writer Avila Souza as part of the series World Cup’s Host Cities. And this is his take on his hometown Fortaleza.
I’m the son of a retired military father, which implies that during my childhood we had to move to different states every four years.
I lived in three of the cities that are now hosting matches of the World Cup. I also visited another one, so I can easily say that Fortaleza is the hardest one to describe; even though it’s my hometown.
As one of the many coastal cities of Northeastern Brazil, the main touristic points in Fortaleza are the beaches and water parks – check the Beach Park – not that these are the only attraction that the city has, but they are the best ones.
Fortaleza does not have the big cultural buzz that Recife or Bahia have, or at least doesn’t have the knowledge of its cultural importance, and part of that I blame on the Fortalezense people, who doesn’t have the same pride of its cultural movements as the “Recifenses”, for example.
What can be highlighted of cultural aspects in Fortaleza – and the whole state of Ceará – is the traditional artisanal handcraft, which covers a big variety of works. The Central Market, a four-floor building, is the biggest center for sale of this kind of handcrafted work that includes hammocks, clay sculptures and clothes. For those who enjoy a typical tropical weather with hot days during the most part of the year and some excessive rains during the summer, Fortaleza is the place to be.
Fortaleza has a notable division of social classes; a simple road can separate two neighbourhoods, one structured with big condos and the other with little slums. Some recent researches showed some bad figures that most Fortalezenses already knew about the city.
Early this year Fortaleza was considered the 7th most dangerous city in the world and the 8th Brazilian capital with the lowest development index. The problems here don’t stay only in the Public Safety sphere, urban mobility is also a problem present in the city for a very long time.
Fortaleza was not a planned city and grew in a very fast scale. And now the traffic is one of the daily challenges in the city, and if that wasn’t bad enough there are few buses to attend the whole population demand. Through good and bad sides, Fortaleza is a city with a huge potential for growing even more, but it demands some changes both on physical and social structures that local people are used to.