Thursday, 28 June 2007

Monday, December 14, 1986

I'm having trouble budgeting - the only thing for sure is that I have to be very conservative in my spending. Rent and food are going to take up most of my $$.

One thing for the chronicle - I arrived in Salvador on the day of a general, nationwide strike protesting the government's austerity measures. The only result was that the beaches were full on a Friday.

People are understandably unwilling to shoulder the burden of repaying a (foreign) debt from which they received little or no benefit. I hear many people grumbling about the haves and have-nots, the latter being in the majority. It seems that the main effect of democracy is that people can openly express their grievances. The sources of grief remain much the same.

Today, Z and I went to a christening. Well, we missed the ceremony, because her friend couldn't follow directions and pick us up, so we hitched a ride with a portly, friendly man in a tiny white speedo. He looked as though he was in his underwear and, in any case, he was nearly naked. But - no problem.

He dropped us off and we waited at a crowded bus stop where one full bus after another passed us. People either piled into empty trucks that stopped for them or crammed into VW buses, or waited, played drums and sweltered.

We finally hired a taxi and the distance turned out to be barely 100 yards! At the party, we sat, I smiled and listened, and eventually submitted to interrogation. I was a bit irritable because of a painful sunburn, but managed to behave myself.

There was a feijoada (bean feast), lasagna, beer, Coke, cake, fruit salad, photo taking, proud drunken papa, proud beaming busy mama, and an alternately sleeping and crying baby. The photo album proudly recorded the (quite large) family jewels of the new scion.

I finally saw the sights of Salvador and was initially disappointed after hyperexpectation. That soon wore off. Z gave me a fita (Bonfim wish ribbon) and we rode back to her flat in a bus that went by the bay at sunset, the lighthouse, the baianas selling acarajé (bean fritters). I saw a restaurant named after the book by Jorge Amado that had made me come here: Tent of Miracles. I'm really here! The guidebook shows the candomblés and capoeira and the Historical and Geographic Institute library. Ótimo! Tomorrow, I plunge in.

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