Remember the ladies I met in Boipeba, Milena and Pepa? They left Boipeba several days before Fola and me; but before leaving, Pepa offered to let me stay with her and her husband, João during the last few days of Carnival. This is another example of the open-ness and generosity of many of the people here … she barely knew me but yet she opened her home to me. When I asked her if she was sure her husband would be cool with my staying for a few days, she replied Comcerteza!!
Our fortuitous meeting was a timely one. During Carnival it’s MUITO expensive to stay anywhere near Salvador. I hadn’t made accommodations since I wasn’t sure if I’d return to Salvador or camp out in Boipeba. Attending Carnival is like going to see the ball drop in Times Square. You go once, but once is enough. And in similar butt rape fashion, the general public — tourists in particular — are charged a mega-fortune for food, lodging, parties, etc.
Anyway, when Pepa invited me to stay with her, I returned to Salvador last Sunday to spend some time with the meninas (girls) before heading to Chapada for my farming gig. Upon arrival, Milena and Pepa picked me up from the ferry boat station behind Mercado Modelo. We drove to her place so I can drop my things and shower then the four of us went for an early dinner … I forgot to photograph the food. I assure you there was lots of cheese involved; and yes, I ate it. Below is a photo of Pepa, João, and Milena. Pepa makes a funny face for every photograph. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to meet such brilliant, fun, adventurous and genuine people. Mutio Obrigada Pepa, João e Melina por sua energia, hospitalidade, e tempo.
The following day, Milena, her friends and I attempted to go to Praia do Forte (praia = beach) but several thousand other Brazilians had the same idea so we turned back and settled for Praia do Flamengo. Hanging with three Baiana women often means eating acarajé on the beach. Acarajé is a favorite “street food” for the locals. I’ve yet to meet a Baiana who doesn’t go mad over acarajé. I don’t love it but I like. Similar to moqueca, it’s made with dendê or palm oil — a staple in many West African dishes. I eat it vegan-style with only salad and pimente. No dried shrimps, caruru, or vatapa for me.
When I asked the ladies, how do you know when acarajé is really good. They replied in part Portuguese and English. “It must be “crocante” (crunchy) on the outside “e muito macio” ( and very soft) on the inside.” By the time we arrived to Aracajé de Barbara, we were ready to eat a vaca (cow). Judging from the non-stop business, multitude of phone calls and visitors she received, it’s obvious that Barbara’s is the BEST on Praia do Flamengo. Since then, I’ve had other people’s acarajé and wholeheartedly agree that Barbara’s is MUITO BOM y ESPACIAL Below is an image of an abará, a variation on acarajé. An abará is essentially the same as an acarajé except that rather than being deep-fried it’s boiled in a banana leaf.
Barbara’s family works with her which allowed her time to take photos with little ole’ me.
Before we left she said to me, “I bet you never met such a daring sexy woman who makes acarajé on the beach like me!” I smiled and replied, E Verdade!! E Verdade! (That’s true!! That’s true!) She is all the way live!
Below is an image of cow’s pancreas … I tried it but didn’t like it at all.
Thanks for reading and for thinking of me.
I leave for the farm this coming Thursday. I’m a whole week behind on blogging but I’ll catch up before I go! Every day, there’s something to do. Yesterday was Imbassai. Today is a live show with Magary on the beach — yippee!
Love love and sunshine,