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.
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.
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.
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.
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!