The NE Brasil, 427 Brazilian Navy training ship is visiting… (Baltimore Sun photo by Algerina…)
The Brazilian warship has traveled around the globe the past quarter century, but it was pelted by pirates for the first time Sunday.
The naval ship — a sort of floating classroom for Brazilian midshipmen — is spending a week in Baltimore as part of a tour that began in early June. It is docked near Harborplace, where costumed privateers and wenches on the city's pirate cruise sail by with taunts every hour or so.
Throughout the week, the 420 Brazilian sailors are extending their gangplanks to visitors for free tours of the ship, The Brazil.
Families, teens and tourists clambered aboard Sunday to explore the 140-yard-long ship's many decks, complicated compasses and massive guns. And more than a few young women came to learn a little more about the Brazilian sailors.
"All the gentlemen are, uh, quite handsome," raved Courtney Guzman, 20, a student at the University of Maryland College Park. "I think it's the uniforms."
"I like to talk with that one," said her friend Camira Abdurazak, 22, of Columbia, as she eyed a tall, dark-haired sailor in a crisp white uniform.
The sailors appeared to be as taken with Baltimore as the visitors were with them.
"The port area is the best one we have visited on this trip," said Lt. Douglas Pereira, explaining that the ship had docked in Argentina, Chile, Cuba and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in recent weeks.
Pereira, 30, teaches the 180 midshipmen the science of navigation while the ship is at sea. He made the same journey himself as a midshipman seven years ago.
"I remember the aquarium, this gallery and the Hooters," Pereira said with a grin. "It is a very good city."
After departing Baltimore on Friday, the ship will embark on a 12-day voyage to Le Havre, France, Pereira said. The sailors entertain themselves at sea with the Internet, TV, movies and lessons, he said.
Visitors said that they had stumbled on the ship by chance and didn't want to pass up the opportunity to prowl the decks. Many said they were considering trips to Brazil, which is hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.
"We love President Lula," said Arman Ariane, who was visiting from Los Angeles with his wife, Mojgan, and sons Parsa, 11, and Kourosh, 9.
Just then, a loud boom erupted over the water and the visitors jumped. Had the sailors fired one of the large gray guns?
No, the pirate ship was passing by again.
"Landlubbers!" shouted a pirate, as children gleefully sprayed water guns at the Brazilian ship.
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