07.03.09 departing Bahia

Chris has gone home. Time now to digest some of the memories of our cruise up Rio Paraguaςu and our time at Itaparica. Not to overlook that extraordinary interlude at Lencois – the emerald hummingbirds, the waterfalls, the absence of violence. First however, a beer, a cigarette and a sailmail catechism to this extraordinary woman.

Salvador016Dave is back on the boat and we plan departure soonest. 2 cruise ships are in and they will have precedence at customs. In the meantime we will provision, water and fuel up.

The mainsail is back on the boom, water tanks full.  It just remains for us to get fuel, food and clearance papers.

Dave is quite over Brazil and hot to trot. He’d go anywhere else. Only last night he told me he and Jeanette had also witnessed a police shooting/ killing of some sort of bad chappies behind Mercado Moderno.  I suppose his paranoia is well earned.  3 muggings and a witnessed murder have taken their toll on him. I’ve had nada – I don’t think Dave has learned to walk mean and keep an eye in the back of the head. Also he wears a watch – he says because it’s only a cheapo but from 10 feet away it looks like a Cartier.

Salvador is exuberant, noisy, go go go. The non-muggers are gorgeous people – friendly and helpful in the extreme. But we are looking forward to turning the corner at Natal, when both wind and current find our bum. Good sailing, peace and quiet…

Last night I saw the wonderful Bale Folklorico da Bahia. The NY Times describes this group as the best folk dance group in the world.

It only lasted an hour but the music was continuous and the energy of the dancers quite astounding. They started off with Orixa’s Pantheon – a fusion of candoble elements with the various elements – god of war, hunting, winds, death etc – dancing their autohypnotic bits. Much of it recognisable from the Olinda group dances.  Then we had firewalking. A sinuous and quite mesmerising dance of the fishermen and their wives, asking for protection from the sea and for bounteous catches was followed by the capoiera. The capoiera was like nothing I’d dreamed of – that slow stuff we had seen on the beach warmed up to such lighting fast movements you almost couldn’t believe what you had just seen – double somersaults, back flips, synchronised splits and all the stuff Chris and I can only do in bed together. They wielded daggers and jousting sticks in ritualised battle which gave whole new meaning to the process.

I have decided to remove the staircase at my house in Sydney and install a bow structure with an anchor and roller. Chris needs to keep in practice. For my part, I am developing a new drink – capayrinha con frango and GITD – to provide all the food groups in an erotic new mix.

Provisioning was done at the huge mercado at the ferry wharf. Excellent vegetables and a wonderful array of unfamiliar tropical fruits. Without a fridge we are a bit limited though, because even the greenest fruit ripens in minutes in this weather.

Wavering vegetarians should all visit the meats section, guaranteed to strengthen resolve. A sort of Arseholes, Lips and Eyelids Gallery. The skinned goat heads, being washed in a 40 gallon drum of bloody water reminded me of pictures in the Dali cookbook. We wondered what they were for. Dave suggested they would be good battered – perhaps as large chewy nuggets for hungry children. Tempura goat head.

And now, at sea, there is no mal de mer. Food groups are being thought about. Malt and hops feature, but not to excess. My cooked cabbage stew al ras hanout with boiled potatoes was a great success (with me), although Dave stuck with his Tang caiparinhas. On board Chris would love the good bits (including mine), but this sort of windward motoring would drive her spare after a while and I am glad she and I didn’t try for Fernando do Noronha.

I am 12 hours into Sopranos and hooked. Dave is enjoying himself at sea but needs steady coaching on caiparinha pacing. Sopranos will help him with that, but I got in first. We will go straight through to Natal or stop half way, depending. But Recife is not on the itinerary – for Dave it would be just like Salvador, but without the hills.

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