Main Street, Jericoacoara
Yep, I think I could get used ot this...
I quit. Please accept my conditional resignation as an educator in this district. Upon reflection, and a three-day visit to Jericaocoara, I have decided that working for a living just isn’t for me. Getting to Jericoacoara is about as adventuresome as pronouncing the name of this idyllic location, the one-hour jolting trip in an open truck, plowing through sand and surf, will serious make you contemplate the following demands. If they are not met, I’m gone.
Here are my stipulations:
1. You must make sandals the official footwear of the workplace. In Jeri, nothing is paved, so there is no point in wearing anything else.
2. Dune buggies must replace yellow school buses as the mode of transportation for all students, faculty, and staff.
3. Hallways must be of sand, about eight inches thick. This will increase the amount of effort needed to trudge around the building, and increase students’ cardiovascular condition and overall physical fitness. Attempts to surface any part of the school with something other than sand will carry a severe suspension, maybe even an expulsion hearing. Run this by Donna.
4. All departments will be identified in the corner of each hallway by
Is this for real?
When can I move in?
beach umbrellas of a different color. Since you’re in charge you get to choose the colors. It makes no difference to me. Whenever staff takes a break for a cold drink, every twenty minutes or so, it must arrive to our desks with a little umbrella that matches our department color.
5. All student desks are to be removed, burned, and replaced with hammocks.
6. The location of the high school will be alternate by semester: Fall in Connecticut, spring in Jericoacoara.
7. Classes will commence at nine in the morning and continue until one. Students will go home, sleep, and choose not to do the homework we assign them. (Actually, we’ll have no problem meeting this demand.)
8. In order to keep in line with Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum, students will receive a copy of every drink menu and restaurant menu in Jericoacoara and write personal reflections. Students will write rigorous papers on Jericoacoara and use the town as context for their studies. This is how curriculum will play out by department:
a. Science: This is no problem. There is enough material with respect to marine biology, desalination of ocean water for drinking purposes, and the harmful
Still can't find anything wrong with this place...
effects of the sun to keep teenagers more than busy. Students will study the concept of the dew point and why all drinks have condensation running down them.
b. Physical education: Interscholastic sports will be eliminated with the exception of playing soccer or volleyball on the beach, or jumping pointlessly on a trampoline. Students will engage in these activities daily for a grade. Kisluk and Waite will have this covered .
c. Foreign Languages: Spanish, French, and Latin classes are to be eradicated. We will only teach Portuguese. I will be the department head and you will ensure me a cute secretary to compensate for my lack of organizational skills. All field trips will be to Jericoacoara. Period. Oh, and I want a raise, too.
d. Mathematics: Those students who meet the requirements can study the metric system and will teach locals how add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole numbers without the use of a calculator. The locals are in desperate need of this assistance. Student volunteers can consider this a sort of Lend-a-Paw activity.
e. Foods: Easy! Students will learn all about the exotic fruits of the region and prepare cakes and pies using them. Students will blend cold
fruit drinks for staff and serve them to us, a new graduation requirement.
f. Social Studies: Teenagers will learn about the history of Portuguese colonization in the State of Ceará, the impact of slavery, and conduct anthropological research on how Jeri has transformed itself from a fishing village to a secluded tourist dreamland. The Mertens will lead the charge on the fundamentals, like determining where Brazil is on the map. When it comes to Portuguese colonization, I figure Maturo will keep them in line.
g. Technology: Students will build beach huts and fix antiquated computers for locals. That’s for Siciliano, Under no circumstances will any instructor inspire any teenager to learn how to pave anything. This will result in immediate dismissal from the job with cause. Mike Iavarone will teach eager minds the inner functions of the combustible engine for dune buggies only.
h. English. Beats me. We’ll all be speaking Portuguese by the end of the first semester anyway.
i. Business: They will instruct students on how to follow the exchange rate between the euro, dollar, and real. The Business department will also begin a program on how to export coconuts, hammocks, and a stressless environment to Connecticut. Durnal
Why should i ever leave here?
gets to lead from the hammock of her choice and beach hut to be constructed in her classroom.
j. Music: Students will learn to sing and dance Forró and Reggae. Lessons will take place daily. Exams will be at midnight when the nightlife gets moving. Claire Burnett will organize monthly Reggae parties. As usual, students will serve faculty and staff drinks at our leisure.
9. Faculty meetings no longer exist as of right now. Same goes for Department Head meetings, too. Unless someone brings chicken wings, drumsticks only, and freshly roasted shrimp caught daily from the sea.
10. Brian Graca coaches the newly-established wind surfing and kite surfing teams.
11. Every evening, students and adults must appreciate the wonders of a sunset. No talking is permitted. No one single sunset being less moving than any other, the final slice of sun that slips under the sea will be met with waves of applause.
12. There will be no need for a grievance system. Under my plan, how could you possibly complain?
13. We will tell the Board of Education what to do, not the other way around.
I eagerly await your reply and expect full compliance with the above.
Plenty of places to choose from...
Surely, we will be able to work together in a more serene, laid back environment.
Richard Incorvati, Jr.
Jericoacoara is about as far away as you can get from Brazil without actually leaving the country. A town so entirely separated from daily strife, physically and figuratively, problems are simply unheard of. The attitude in Jeri is so casual that it makes the residents of Canoa Quebrada look like participants on the season finale of The Apprentice. Except for a hodgepodge of pousadas (some of which serve breakfast until 4 p.m.) and restaurants on three parallel streets of sand, Jeri is set among sand dunes in a national park of the same name. Hardly a secret, every night in Jeri is a Saturday night and every day, especially in August, is a Festa Italiana or Bastille Day. Word about Jeri has spread in Gaul and Italy. Some accommodations cater to Italians specifically so that Milanese can travel 5,000 miles to spend their vacation with neighbors. How creative.
Jeri’s nasty one-two punch of heat and humidity is masked by a constant stiff breeze, which provides relief from the elements. Nonetheless, it is wise to follow the locals
They almost assume human characteristics...
lead and take refuge from eleven to about three when it is just too unpleasant or even dangerous to be exposed to the sun. People at this time in the afternoon are either under an umbrella, in a beach hut swinging on a hammock, or still recovering from last night’s festivities at the Reggae bar that lasted until dawn. The beach is not a wonderful place for swimming. However when taken in context with the rest of its surroundings, it attracts crowds to enjoy a setting of sloping dunes, windsurfers, capoeira dancers, and overhanging palm trees with long, curvy trunks.
Helena Maria has been coming to Jericoacoara for twenty years, since she was a little girl. Almost a local herself, she makes a three day trip to Jeri every two weeks or so. She is the closest thing I have had to a girlfriend in Brazil and walking around town with her catches the attention of all the shop owners and pastry vendors. It is impossible to move around town without stopping every fifty yards or so to chat about what’s new. In Jeri, this amounts to very little. Helena is a cosmetics representative for Bel Col, A Spanish
Looking from atop dune...
firm with operations in Brazil. So obsessed with cosmetics, Helena is convinced that processed whale blubber can actually improve the quality of women’s lives. Around here, I’d start with having a father around for their children before teaching ladies how to apply eye shadow. She has even recommended me a line of products to soften my face, open my pores, and shine the top of my head. The best part of her job is delivering support bras for women. That’s right, this is a job.
“So, what is it you exactly do?” I curiously inquired
“Well, some products for women don’t reach Jericoacoara. And bras are one of them. Many women need a little extra help in this area. So, I bring them from Fortaleza and get them started.”
“So, basically, you make house visits and fit Jeri’s women with bras for the better part of the day?”
She came right back, “Yes. And they thank me for it, too!”
Having told her I was extremely interested in delving into this captivating slice of the local culture, perhaps I could -
“No, Ricardo, you cannot come along with me.” Chances are, I would not be able to keep her company
Somw are off-limits for protection...
for the rest of my time here if I pushed the matter.
Of the plentiful, lofty, and elegant dunes that frame Jericoacoara, the Duna Pôr do Sol, or Sunset Dune, stands out the most. A mound of rippled golden sand, it is the vantage point to observe one of nature’s simplest, yet sublime events. Because of Jericocoara’s unique position along the Atlantic coast, it is actually possible to see the sunset over the sea, rather uncommon for Brazil. By five p.m., visitors and residents who have experienced the same event time and time again begin ascending the dune and taking a seat at its cusp. Some young boys deceive foreigners by launching themselves, tumbling out of control, over the steep end while screaming in terror. Unbeknownst to newcomers, the slope, while steep, catches the clowns only a few feet down. They climb back up to the ridge among a startled few who seriously thought they personally witnessed a suicide attempt. The look on the boys’ faces says Gotcha!
If the self-absorbed Italian women could only keep their mouths shut for once and pay attention, they’d be moved by the sun’s change in color from and acute white, to pale
Fun for all
Sand skiing down the dune, tumbling, too!
yellow, to golden hues of hot orange, until the final sliver dips below the Atlantic in shades of intense crimson. So beautiful is the spectacle, the sun’s disappearance is met with thundering applause atop the dune. However corny it is to clap, the show merits the recognition. In the sun’s wake, streaks of clouds assume reds, purples, pinks, and whites that duplicates the aurora borealis, but in sharp Technicolor. To finish off the program, Helena and I ski down the dune and meet up with a group of folks galloping back to Jeri on horseback.
Chapter Twenty: São Luís
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