Women's Brazil Open 2004
Fortaleza, March 09 - 14

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Keep the beach clean-
Think environment!


What better way is there to open the 2004 Swatch-FIVB World Tour than to play the first tournament on the golden sands of Brazil, one of the homes of Beach Volleyball.

The north-eastern city of Fortaleza is the proud host of the opening Swatch-FIVB World Tour event, the $180,000 women’s Open and is a perfect stage to see in the new season. The capital of the state of Ceara has hundreds of beautiful beaches adjoining the Atlantic Ocean and for the two million inhabitants, Beach Volleyball and the superb mixture of mountainous sand dunes, palm trees and Atlantic breakers play a big part in their lives.

Fortaleza itself is a sprawling city which has, for well over a century, been the major commercial centre of the northern half of the Northeast of Brazil. More recently it has poured resources into expanding its tourist trade, lining the fine city beaches with gleaming luxury hotels and developing the city centre.

Fortaleza means “fortress”, and the first Portuguese settlers arrived in 1603 and were defeated initially by the Indians, who killed and ate the first bishop (a distinction the city shares with Belém), and then by the Dutch, who drove the Portuguese out of the area in 1637 and built the Forte Schoonenborch. These days, Fortaleza has something of the same atmosphere as Rio, especially when it comes to the good things in life.

As is the custom in Brazil, once all the hard work during the day on the beach is finished the nightlife takes over. There are stretches of delightful bars and restaurants sprinkled around the city, one in particular called Praia de Iracema, is particularly attractive. If the heat of the town gets a little bit much for you then you may consider an escape to the cool mountains of Guaramiranga or Beach Park, which has one of the biggest water parks in South America.

Either way the influence of sport and Beach Volleyball is strong, making for a perfect stage to launch the 2004 Swatch-FIVB World Tour.