I looked the monster of a crab in the eyes as it stared at my from my plate on the table. Even though it was dead and cooked, I could have sworn it was smiling at me in a mocking way. I looked to the left of my plate to the rubber hammer our waiter had given me instead of a fork... there was only one thing left to do. And it wasn't going to be easy.
Thursday nights in Fortaleza are famous for Crab Night. Everyone in the city goes down to the beach and eats plates upon plates of crab while listening to live music and dancing right on the coastline! This was mine and Mary Alice's experience with Crab Night, and boy, was it an interesting one! While we waited for our crabs to come out, we both ordered Pina Coladas. This massive drink came out served in a giant pineapple that took up half our table. We weren't sure whether to drink it or cut it up and eat it, but we decided drinking it would be the best choice... and immediately regretted this decision. Instead of that coconut tropical flavor we are used to, it was made with pineapple juice and some strange fruit we had never even heard of before! It had a tangy, thick taste that kind of reminded me of cheese. We had failed in our first attempt of ordering off the Brazilian menu, and now the crabs were our last hope of redemption!
I wish someone could have taken a picture of our surprised faces when the crabs were brought to the table. I had eaten crab before at home, but these were not the big, red, friendly looking crabs I was used to! Instead they were must smaller and pale pink, their eyes popped out of the bumpy looking head and looked almost evil. I admit now that at the time, I was slightly terrified this evil looking creature would hop off the plate and attack me. But I, in fact, had the weapon. The rubber mallet was just waiting for me to pick it up and break open this little devil. The first leg I pulled off and tried to crack open with the mallet was a failure; the shell cracked and crumbled like an egg shell and got all over the meat. The second attempt was a little better... I got some of the meat out before once again crumbling the shell. The last attempt was when I gave up completely. I felt more confident in my hammering skills so I reached for the claw. Knowing that the claw is the strongest shell on the crab, I banged the hammer on top of it with all my force! It cracked beautifully! But when I looked inside the claw to get the meat, I was surprised to see it was hollow. It was then that I looked over to the table next to ours, and realized that I had projectiled my meat onto the lap of the man sitting closest to us. I sat the mallet back on the table; the crab had won.
Before I realized how evil the crab really was
Even though I had clearly been defeated, we still sat and enjoyed the live music. But soon a giant rain storm hit, and everyone scooted their tables close to the middle of the restaurant. As unlucky as this may have seemed, it was actually one of the prettiest scenarios I had seen yet in Brazil. The rain was POURING off of the roof, which was made out of dried palm leaves, and it felt as if we were eating underneath a waterfall.
The unlucky part only came when we were ready to leave! We walked out to the front of the restaurant, and it looked as if a monsoon was occurring. One of the waiters walked back with us under a GIANT umbrella that was initially made for the tables on the coast of the beach. I decided to walk behind the man to get the most out of the umbrella... bad decision. The man didn't realize how heavy his giant umbrella actually was, and as the rain continued to fall harder and harder, the back of his umbrella started to fall lower and lower. I was hunched over almost 90 degrees when I finally gave up and crawled out from under the umbrella!
That monsoon was the last bit of rain we have seen in two days, which is beyond amazing! Today we went to Morro Bronco Beach (White Dunes Beach) and enjoyed the sun to its full capacity. Morro Bronco is famous for the large sand dunes with different color sands that they use to make decorative jars of sand with neat designs and beach landscapes. We went walking through the core of the sand dunes, where they get these different color sands.
Different colors of the sand
The dunes had been corroded and the beautiful shades of orange and white were clearly visible. We walked through the crevices of the dunes, and it felt as if we were in the Grand Canyon. Some of the sand had formed into crazy looking rocks; one of which reminded me of the Lion King rock that Simba was on! I got very excited about this discovery.
Another discovery was something we began to refer to as "mush sand". We were walking through the dunes when all of a sudden our feet got stuck. We looked down to see this clay-like substance... our feet were sinking in deeper and deeper by the second. Dasha had already made this discovery and was happily smushing her feet all in the mush sand; so, we began to do the same! Next to play-dough, this might have been the most entertaining substance ever created.
After slowly moving through the mush sand, we finally made it to the coast of the beach and enjoyed laying out all day by the water... without any crabs to be seen.