Destination Salvador, capital of the state of Bahia.
Our week in Salvador was spent in a pousada in the district Barra.
The distance between the faculty and the pousada in the Barra district was not that far, no more than 2 km away. The pousada , bearing the name “Cancun”, was located at a Dutch stone’s throw from the beach (Porto da Barra): less than 200 meters. We grabbed our luggage and climbed the stone steps that were painted in green. The facade of the pousada left no doubt that we were dealing with a Mexican. The flags of Brazil and Mexico waving next to each other. Then we entered a sort of semi-open patio, were a number of worn plastic tables and chairs were grouped. A huge TV screen and a giant sound box were centered in the patio, ready for use at night parties. Next to the TV, a large refrigerator with a glass door was filled with a great number of alcoholics and soft drinks.
The corridor at the left led to separate rooms. A room was set with a double bed and three bunk beds, good for the couple, and for Carol and a friend of hers. Another room had three bunk beds, for me, Igor, and Leo. Juliane joined us later, and she slept on the floor on a mattress drawn from an empty bunk bed. Other rooms were quickly occupied, but more rooms would become available later that day. Other fellows from our bus were also interested to rent rooms in the pousada, since they quickly became disappointed about their stay at the faculty; due to the lack of clean showers with hot water, and the ever-continuing noise there. Only two days later, twenty fellows from our bus were hosted in this pousada, a guarantee for much fun together.
We unpacked our stuffs, took a quick hot and refreshing shower. The others took their time to unpack their stuffs and to take their showers. Certainly the ladies took their time for that. Dutch girls spend a lot of time when having their refurbishment, but the Brazilian girls win from the Dutch with ease, when talking about the time they spend in the bathroom. It is not uncommon that Brazilian girls spend as many as TWO hours in the bathroom. No bain français, no French shower at all. Not the usual five minutes of soaping, soaking, rinsing, and drying. But at least half an hour of soaking, soaping, rinsing, washing the hairs, washing them again, one more treatment with some cream, and again, then soap again, and finally rinsing. Indeed, in the past, I often witnessed such a shower ritual of a Brazilian friend. Then the real work begins: to dry, dry thoroughly, lotion number one, lotion number two, and so on. The hairs are carefully rolled in a towel in order to avoid some crazy hair. A little while after, the wafer iron and hair dryer are about to be use. Then their nails are cut, filed, the eyebrows carefully cut. As a finishing touch some facial cream, to keep it smooth. So if your Brazilian girlfriend says she will take a shower, keep in mind that it will take some time, at least some hours…
And indeed, it was already past ten in the morning, when the ladies had finished their scrubbing and polishing rituals. We decided to explore the neighborhood of Barra district, where we were staying now. The day started overcast; it was raining when the bus was touring though the darkness of Salvador, and when we arrived at dawn. These rain showers were in accordance with the Brazilian weather forecast. In Olivença, I had taken off my shoes, and I then only wore my flip flops, until my return to wintry Belo Horizonte. Flip, flop, through the city. Flip, flop on the sometimes very irregular pavement; flip, flop on the sometimes dangerously extruding cobblestones. Flip, flop on loose beach sand. Flip, flop in the shower. Flip, flop on steep street slopes. Flip, flop in the taxi, the bus, on the boat. Igor even had a brilliant inspiration for his flip flops: as an improvised pillow when we were on the boat. A funny image and a weird photograph of it (which I will not show, of course…). But as a Dutchman I AM capable to walk on flip flops without breaking my legs or hurting my toes. Only on the beach, in the sea water and when resting on the bed, my feet were freed of the flip flops.
By Dr. Adriano Antoine Robbesom
Original text in Dutch, translation with help of Google Translator