Saturday, 7 July 2007
December 21, 1986
I've been depressed most of the afternoon, despite a spectacular sunset, seen from the window of the bus. Can't help worrying about what's going on back at the flat in LA, and I miss Lily, my Siamese cat. If I come back for a longer period, I'll have to give up the flat and bring Lily with me. Then, who knows? Perhaps I'll stay.
Salvador is a city of unsettling squalor in the most gorgeous of settings. Most of the beaches have outcrops and islets of black rock, upon which the waves surge and foam, and out to sea, somewhere beyond the horizon, is Africa - so much akin to the dark brown folk of the Northeast (I feel like an albino here).
The lighthouse, picturesque churches and colonial buildings are enchanting. Then, of course, there are the shanty towns, the stench of urine and faeces, rivers made sewers, the sick, aged and mutilated, persistent beggars of all ages, the occasional body (alive or dead?) in the street. Even blood on the pavement near the beach; rust-coloured dew, spattered by a violent night.
I've committed myself to staying here until March 2nd - almost imprisoned myself in this gorgeous cell, Brasil. My greatest task and responsibility are to observe and learn as much as possible of the life and people of Salvador. If riding buses is a means to that end, then I'm well on my way. I think I've squashed up against half the bodies in Bahia!
[the diary ends here]