5 apples for 60 cents

by KalaLea on February 9, 2012 • Posted in News Personal Connections Travel

For nearly one week now, more than 1/3 of the police force in Bahia have been on strike (greve). For me, not much has changed with the exception of my new curfew but many hoods outside of the city are suffering. Yesterday, as I hopped on the Shopping Barra bus to make it home before dark, a woman promptly handed me her baby. She must have been 8 or 9 months old (the baby that is). I didn’t understand a word of her mother’s instruction but I held the pretty baby girl tight and bounced her on my knee to calm myself down.

After my brief babysitting stint, I decided to prepare dinner at home since I spent almost seventeen US dollars on lunch at Ramma — mainly because I piled my plate sky high. Thank goodness, I ate a huge plate of raw goodness because I spent nearly two hours on the phone with my bank. They informed me that my debit card “may have been compromised” or “cloned”. This happened to me last visit; I played it much cooler this time. Anyway, back to my delicious and expensive lunch. Ramma has yummy vegan dishes, salads, grilled fish, chutneys, and natural desserts. And yesterday, they had avocado!! Despite it’s tropical locale, Bahia is void of avocados. I don’t know why but I’ve asked the avocado fairy to visit soon.

dos de julho


The word for apple is maçã. Today, just minutes after buying five apples for R$1,00 or sixty cents, I witnessed a mini-street robbery. A lanky teenager zoomed passed me after snatching a mobile phone from the hand of a talking stranger. This happens in New York even when all of the police are on the beat. It’s weird how all of us bystanders just stood by and watched. I was close enough to trip him but what if he hit his head or knocked out all of his teeth?

I haven’t eaten one of the apples yet but so far most of the fruit has been fine and sweet — except for the mushy plum. Yuck. Once you find your “produce vendor” you become loyal to him or her. Everyday, I walk to the same agua de coco (coconut water) stand because she and I have bonded. She knows I’m not Bahian but she indulges me and keeps it our secret. I found coconut water for less but I’m sticking with my girl — see photo below.

agua de coco

I would’ve taken a photo of the apples but my camera is in the repair shop (conserto cameras). A wonderful man by the name of Carlos was kind enough to drop it off for me since they could take advantage of my foreign-ness. I suspect it will be ready by 2 pm today so I can jump on the next ferry boat to the island of Itaparica. I’m looking forward to seeing Vero & William, two of the people that made me feel it’s possible to create a life in Bahia. Strike or not, it’s much calmer on Itaparica.

largo pelo

Being here has its many perks: beautiful people, lovely warm weather, an abundance of nature, super cool music, plus an extremely interesting history and culture. Like any other love relationship, there are frustrating elements as well. The peeing in the streets, the no putting toilet paper in the actual toilet, the many litterbugs (young and old), and the inefficiencies when it comes to doing any type of business transaction whether paying bills or adding credit to your pre-paid phone. Salvador ain’t easy! But like most lovers, I am here because Bahia is here for me and every solid relationship takes sacrifice.

perto cinema

The photos included here were taken in Largo Dos de Julho and near Pelourinho. For great information about where to eat in Salvador, go here.

largo pelo _ horizontal

Abraços e Beijos! (Hugs and kisses to my lovely loved ones)
Choose happiness and peace because you can.

p.s. Just an added positive note, many people have been so generous. I’ll share more details soon but I feel mucho grateful to experience such goodness. Giving thanks!

largo dos de juhlo _ tomates

dos de juhlo sideways

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  1. Tracy

    Thanks for sharing; I’m really looking forward to hearing all of your adventures. I have to admit, some of it sounds scary, but for me, it would probably be the fact that it’s foreign to me! I love how you’re finding the positives there too!

  2. Dar

    Thank you for another slice of this living pie… looks real tasty and i can even smell it… Bahia… ADORO!!!!!!!!! More please (:

  3. Duron

    Hey K, funny about the Avocados. I had some of the best when there last summer, and they’re pretty ubiquitous. They don’t look like ours, not oval, bigger (super big) and more round. I wish I knew what Bahains called them. But ask someone.

  4. KalaLea

    HOLA Everyone!

    Muito Obrigada for reading and commenting!! It ALWAYS brings a MEGA smile to my face. It’s amazing being here … like a dream for me … but I miss my community (fam and friends) often. The comments and encouragement are much appreciated.

    @Duron – I think avocados are “abacate”. I’ll be on the look out … haven’t seen them yet though.

    Glad to hear it’s mild and manageable on the East coast. Sending SUNSHINE!!

  5. Kiini

    Kalalea, these photos are taking me back! Please tell Vero and William I said Hi. I need to return and resume my love affair with Bahia. In the meantime, I’ll live vicariously through yours!

  6. Cathie

    Hi K,your writing draws me in. I feel like I’m there experiencing this with you. I love how you took note that you were calming yourself after the lady handed you her baby. now that i’ve found your site I will continue this adventure with you. i adore you for your courage to move and take in another culture. Stay safe:)

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