Friday, December 19, 2008

Hot Hot Hot!

First off, I apologize to my friends in the Northern Hemisphere freezing their asses off. (I probably should have done that with my first Brazil entry though, huh?)

It was another fine, fine beach day... except that it was insanely crowded! The weekend starts on Fridays, you know. The sun was intense, which meant I spent a lot more time floating in the water than lying on the beach. Besides, there was almost no room on the beach - I could have wandered farther along the coast, but I wanted to experience Porto da Barra in full swing. I was sandwiched behind a large group of teenagers, next to a mom and her young toddler and a middle aged couple, and in front of a couple of old German guys. All her having fun except for the German guys. They were being Superior. Any time a vendor would walk by, they'd ask to look at his stuff, then diss it all, ask if he could bring more from somewhere else, and then veto all of that too. They had some kid running errands for them, grabbing chips and drinks. If you rent an umbrella and chair, there is a guy who watches all that stuff and will come by and rinse the sand off your feet too. They never thanked that guy. They were kinda pissing me off.

So into the water - but after a while, it was almost too crowded to go in there! The waterline was three or four people deep as far as you could see, and if you swam through the masses, you didn't have far to go before you were knocking up against a boat. But it was still nicer floating in the water, even occasionally being involved in some youngster's swimming competitions, than listening to those German dudes whine and bitch.

I had gotten a call in the morning from Carlos, saying that he'd love to go out tonight if I was free. Yes! More dancing! He had a work party first, and would swing by later in the evening. I went and had a leisurely meal at my favorite spot, Portal do Mar, and then went home to do some writing before he came by.

We drove out to Pelourinho and on the way, went through some areas I hadn't seen. There was a large, elongated lake along the busy road we were taking, filled with lights in Christmas tree shapes, in varying sizes. It was actually really beautiful. Then we turned a corner and there were statues, about seven of them, that immediately made me think of fairies from Disney films (lke Cinderella or something). They were quite large and sort of metallic looking, but it was dark and they were only somewhat lit. They were in the middle of the lake in a circle and there was a fountain in the middle of them. I asked Carlos who they were, and he said, "Oh, saints." Of course! He also said the lake was bigger, and that it was installed by the Dutch a very long time ago. (When I got home I did some digging and found that it is called Dique Do Tororo.)

O the way into Pelourinho we went through some very dodgy parts, the stuff I'm sure I read about avoiding because "unwelcome" was certainly the vibe here. Carlos kept saying, "This is a very bad area, very bad area," as we drove, which I didn't really want to hear because our windows were down and the roads were narrow and cobblestoned, so we weren't going very fast. Then suddenly, there we were in old town. We parked the car and wandered up an alley and went to the African Bar. The alley was packed with people drinking and dancing, but we went inside for the real DJ, who was a friend of Carlos'. I thought I had been to the African Bar on Tuesday, when I saw Olodum, because that's what it said on the ticket. Evidently not, because this place had a totally different entry and, once I was inside, it was definitely a different bar.

The DJ was playing Joe Cuba when we walked in, which made me very happy! We got a couple drinks - I opted for the caipirinha alternative, caipiroski. The caipirinha is made with cachaca, which is a sugar cane based alcohol I've realized I'm not too fond of. The caipiroski substitutes it with vodka. (And the whole thing is sort of like a daquiri anyway.) They put fruit in there too, and I always get pineapple. When getting a girlie drink, why not go all the way?

The DJ, who was very friendly (duh! Brazil!) and came out to dance on the floor with everyone else quite often, had switched to reggae. Some of the hippie kids got a little nutty during the reggae - as if this was their special moment... Then the music went samba regge to samba (he was a really good DJ!) and Carlos taught me some proper dance moves so I could do a little better in the synchronized portions of the evening. He said, "You are a good natural dancer, you just need a little training." Ha! What a sweet way of putting it.

He realized he had left his cell phone in the car and went to get it so it wouldn't tempt anyone into breaking into the car. While he was gone, I sat at a table watching the dancers, and was asked to dance. I said, in my lousy Spanish, that I was waiting for my friend. So this guy just sat next to me and tried to talk to me. He spoke no English and sometimes understood my Spanish, but wasn't really to bothered by that. He wasn't pushy; it just seemed perhaps he was going to help me pass the time. I did get that his name was Fabio and he was a philosophy teacher. Eventually, he was all, "Come on, let's dance!" So we did, and it was fun. Then Carlos came back so I excused myself.

We sat in the back of the bar for another drink, and I looked out the windows and saw a whole courtyard with a stage... "What is that?" I asked Carlos. "Oh, there are many bars and restaurants that connect to that area." As I peered into the darkness, I realized that was indeed where I saw Olodum the Tuesday before. So I wasn't totally confused!

Several goodbyes later, we said good night, and I said goodbye, to Pelourinho.