Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fortaleza, Brazil

When Mark served his mission here almost 4 years ago, the missionaries were provided with a meal from Habib's, an Arab fast-food restaurant (pictured below). Mark had to go since he remembered it being extremely tasty. I refrained and stuck to the French fries. Everyone said they tasted kind of like little pizzas. 
Mark's favorite: beef with cheddar cheese. No thanks! 

Outside of our hotel. The translation from Portuguese to English was definitely from Google translator. 

My FAVORITE night of the whole trip. We invited a large family of Mark's converts to come to dinner with us. He re-activated the grandmother of this family, and baptized 3 of her 5 daughters. They were all able to come and brought their adorable kids. Despite the language barrier, the family was so extremely warm and inviting towards me, Shelly, and Dave.

Daphnie. Oh my gosh, she is just the chunkiest baby I have ever seen. She is only 5 months old. This is my favorite face of Dave's. He was obviously thrilled about Daphnie as well. She was just a solid little (big) thing! I was a little surprised when I saw her cousins and mom feeding her Coca-Cola and pizza as she reached for any adult food in sight.

Those THIGHSSS......

Mark in action. Those kids worship him. I asked how they all remembered him, and the grandmother said they have pictures of him on their fridge and that Kauwe, her only grandson, keeps Mark's BYU Football shirt in his room. Mark called this family once or twice a month every month after his mission until he and I got serious...

Kauwe is always surrounded by all these girls! His dad is not in the picture, so he has very few males around to look up to. He couldn't get enough attention from Mark. It was precious.

With the iPhone. They love that thing.

Still intrigued by it...

I couldn't get enough of this chunker.

We had the restaurant to ourselves. The owners were very grateful for our big group :)

Shelly dyed her hair for this trip so that she wasn't the only 5'9'' blonde woman in Fortaleza. She still stood out haha, but I think it helped  a little.

These girls wanted picture after picture with us.

Kiki, me, and Kiki's sister (I need to ask Mark what the other sisters' names are!) and Daphnie. Daphnie's mom kept Daphnie quiet by breast feeding her, free of "hooter hider", for all to see. That's quite common in Brazil. I saw plenty of breasts during this trip.

This little girl (again, I forgot her name! I'm awful!) was only 4 years old when Mark finished his mission and "Freeman" is a really difficult word to say. She would always say it with a really exaggerated and rolled R, like "Frrrreeeeeeman". We all laughed about that for awhile during dinner.

We had such a fun time together! 

I love Kiki! She's the youngest sister of this family and the most active in the Church. She's going to a community college and works at a factory. She holds this family together and she's only 19 years old. For anyone who lives where she lives to even go to college is NEVER heard of. She's Mark's most "golden" convert. 

I'm so happy to be here, yay!
These girls gave me like a 30 minute Portuguese lesson. They were SO DANG CUTE!

This couple next to Mark is married and those are their daughters. They aren't as active now, but they are so sweet and humble and honestly it's a big deal that he's still involved and with the family. Mark said the men don't normally stick around in the ghettos where he served.

Group photo.

The lady in the pink is the grandmother who was baptized when she lived in Sao Paulo, then was reactivated when she moved to Fortaleza and Mark found her. She is the funniest lady I've ever met. She speaks the fastest and loudest Portuguese I've ever heard and assumes that you know exactly what she's saying. I got really good at just smiling and nodding at her :) Mark thought it was hilarious and filled me in between her breaths. She had a lot of funny stories about Mark.

Post breast-feeding picture. So funny!

You know that Daphnie is a big girl when she looks like a normal-sized baby with Mark holding her.

Liduina!!! The woman who started it all!! 

He's going to be such a good daddy to our little boy! Excuse the cheese....

They are such good examples of being loving and non-judgmental. It was a tearful goodbye!

Our hotel.

Oh, he's cute! We took plenty of water-bottle trips to the market.

View from our hotel. It was beautiful weather until the last day when this picture was taken. It was rainy but really warm (of course). Thank goodness we went during Brazil's winter or I would have been toast.

This is a former slave jail where a huge 5 story market is held each day. We walked around the whole thing since Shelly and I are women and can't seem to look at enough clothes, purses, or shoes :) Thanks guys for being patient with us! Brazil imported over 3 million slaves during the 16th-19th centuries. Since Mark is a Latin American Studies major and lived here for 2 years, he gave us a lot of solid information about this area that made us appreciate it a lot more.

A cathedral next to the slave jail. Mark said that at nighttime it's a haven for prostitutes and drug dealers (just outside of it, not inside!).

We walked across the street to a military Fort that was built in the's the reason for Fortaleza's name. We got a soldier to show us a dungeon where they kept a woman for two years for breaking slaves out of the prison. Intense!

THis is where she lived, if you can call it that.

I don't know what that says..but i took a picture anyway.

Of course I fit standing straight up.

The young soldier. He smiled when I asked if I could get a picture with him. Flattered? haha he was cute.

That's the market/slave jail where it says "mercado central"

Mark said this is where the missionaries would shop a lot because it was cheaper than the indoor market.

THe stain glass was beautiful, but the feeling inside was a little frigid.

A delicious meal after shopping. In Brazil they like to keep all the fat on the meat. I wasn't a fan of eating straight fat, but Mark thought it was appropriate to indulge while there!

Out on the beach after our nap. Fortaleza isn't necessarily a tourist hot spot, and I found out a big part of that is because the beach and water are contaminated! icky!

Street food called "Tapioca", but it's not at all the tapioca that you and I are familiar with. It's really good though!

Another street food that I forgot the name of but IT WAS SO GOOD!! It's a sweet corn concoction (sp?) with coconut milk and cinnamon. Delish. We loved walking up and down the boardwalk people-watching and trying all the street food. I was shocked at my willingness to try things! 

Next stop: Rio de Janeiro.