Destination Salvador, capital of the state of Bahia.
The final hours of the bus travel were spent with the mafia game. Finally, the blue line of the Atlantic Ocean was observed.
Friday, July 21, 13.00 h.
Dinner at noon
At one pm the bus driver halted the bus to allow us to have a lunch. In Brazil it is common to have dinner around midday. In the evening, when the Brazilians arrive from their work, they generally have a ‘café da noite’: coffee with some crispy rolls with cheese or ham. For me it is already common to have my hot meal at midday and restrict myself to bread and coffee in the evening. The time of this ‘coffee’ may vary greatly, depending on what time you arrive from your work or late study. Often you may have this coffee meal at about eleven at night, with coffee that still contains caffeine….
We ate our hot meals in a roadhouse. The starving travelers opted for a much cheaper restaurant where one could order a simple dish of rice, beans and a piece of meat. I was also starving, but I preferred to have a lunch from a buffet with more options. I ate at the buffet restaurant, together with Igor, Carol, Simone, and Leo. This buffet was a bit more expensive than the simple dish, but I could choose my salad, rice, pasta, meat and vegetables. Since I already have had my daily lunch in the canteen of the faculty, it is easy for me to select the light-weight ingredients. Because you need to pay for the weight. For this, I ignore watery ingredients, sauces, meat with bones. Instead my plate is full of salad, light-weight meat and light-weight fruit.
One hour later, with our stomachs full of the lunch, we entered the bus for the final stage. The coast was not too far anymore, probably more three or four hours from now. The travelers were more enthusiastic now; probably they were, in some way, able to smell the salty scent of the Atlantic Ocean. To kill the time, a game was introduced that I did not experience before: Mafia. I also was invited to join the game, but I preferred to watch them playing, while I occasionally made my pictures of the landscape that speeded by. The Mafia game was not difficult and very amusing for a group like us. For this game twelve contestants are needed. Four among them are members of the Mafia, three are angels, and the remaining five are the victims. The leader demands that everyone closes the eyes. And asks per group (mafia, angels, and victims) to open their eyes. For this, only the leader and the members of a certain group know their identity. The ‘sleepers’ are unaware of the identity of those who had opened their eyes. Then the Mafia members are asked to select their target. In this case, it might be an angel or a victim. The same request follows for the angels, when the mafia members have closed the eyes again. They can choose between mafia and victims. With each turn, a maximum of two members will be ‘morto’ or eliminated. This game continues until one group has eliminated all members of the other teams. A simple though very amusing game to play and to watch.
It was about four pm when we approached a dune area; now we almost we at the Atlantic coast, finally! We already had been traveling for more than 21 hours, mainly inside the bus. We all were longing to set foot on the beach. Here you could not find reddish brown soil, which is rich of iron, but soil of a light color, almost white; due to age-long sedimentations, offered by the Ocean. Then the Ocean was very generous, but is now eager to reclaim what she once had given. The East Brazilian coastal area now has to suffer continuous attacks of the Ocean, and literally is forced to give up its ground.
The coastal area is now much more flattened, but far from the typical Dutch flatness. Still small hills had to be conquered, had to be crossed. Still the bus has to follow a winding road. Finally, at five pm, the travelers suddenly became very excited. One of them had observed a thin blue line at the horizon, the blue of the Ocean, we are almost there! Now everyone was very excited, some of us already started to collect his or her personal belongings en to pack them. Now the contours of the coast became more visible. A thicker azure line was visible behind the small hills, which were covered with few palm trees. We were there!
By Dr. Adriano Antoine Robbesom
Original text in Dutch, translation with help of Google Translator