Natal

Passion dressed in sun

Roberta Sá

Hello, hello soccer fan travelers. My name is Roberta Sá. I’m a singer, potiguar[1], settled in Rio de Janeiro since the age of nine. I was born in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, on December 19, 1980. In 2014, I will, along with my compatriots, have my dream come true: to see the FIFA World Cup again in Brazilian soil.

Futebol na Praia de Pipa (RN)

It is really funny and satisfying to know that my hometown will also host games of one of the biggest sporting events on the planet. For when I left there, the city, like me, was just a girl. There weren’t many buildings, shopping malls and cinemas, as today. Even more so if compared to other capitals in the Northeast, such as Fortaleza and Salvador. I well remember my mother sending for more sophisticated items, such as vaccines for my allergies to insects, in Recife. Over the past twenty years Natal has visibly grown very fast. Now it is ready to appear.

The warm water of the sea, the fine white sand and the warmth of the people are our main attractions.”

Between matches there is a lot to see and do. Rio Grande do Norte is the owner of a stunning coastline, full of endless beaches and sun. The warm water of the sea, the fine white sand and the warmth of the people are our main attractions. Lots of drinks, foods, partying, stew and joy. We are born entertainers, and woe to you if you do not stay for coffee and cake roll!

There are so many dainties, you’d better forget the diet and deliciously fall to butter cheese, sun-dried beef (in cream is the best), paçoca no pilão [2] and regional fruit sweets.

Bugre nas Dunas de Jenipabu (RN)

To enjoy, you can go to Praia da Pipa (Pipa beach), admire the dolphins, take a ride on a boat on Maracajaú reefs, or go to Ponta Negra beach overlooking Morro do Careca (Bald Hill) while taking a Caicó [3] popsicle. Also, you can eat ginga (a small fish which is eaten fried, with spine and all) with tapioca at Praia da Redinha (Little Net Beach). Spending a night adrift in any pub in the old Ribeira (Riverside) is also a nice choice.

Among the traditional tours, be sure to take the Buggy tour of the dunes, and go to the Tourist Center, a former prison which is, besides an observatory, home to souvenir shops and local crafts that are a must. Lace, linen, embroidery, bone-lace, hammocks and so on, all worked to perfection. You run the risk of getting carried away with shopping and end up paying excess baggage charges.

Centro Turístico, também conhecido como Cadeia

I come from a family that has a tradition in regional football. My two grandfathers, on my mother’s and my father’s sides, were founders and presidents of ABC, a team that, along with its rival America, stars in matches and divides fans.

It was in Natal, at the peak of my adolescence, that I learned to love the sport. Or at least the great euphoria that takes over the nation because of it. On Via Costeira (Coastal Road), I saw Leonardo leave the game earlier in a semi-final, due to a fault that, I swear, was not on purpose. I prayed that Baggio missed that last penalty, which made Brazil tetra world champion, and gave me one more day of revelry.

It is in this place of emotion that lies my dear Natal, my Rio Grande do Norte. Everything there smells of childhood, family and memories, without nostalgia. Just as the region I grew, developed and gained the world. But wherever I go, whether the interior of Brazil or Tokyo, from where I write these lines, what I carry are the spring waters of the Ceará-Mirim River.

Footnotes

[1] People born in the State of Rio Grande do Norte.
[2] Dish made of sun-dried beef, manioc flour and red onions, ground together in a mortar.
[3] A small town in the State of Rio Grande do Norte.