Calm And Concern Before The Storm
Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
An onslaught of celebrations is nearly upon the city of Salvador, and I've got accommodation issues.
I met up with my Aussie buddy Brodie a few days ago, who graciously offered me the hide-a-bed couch in the apartment he rented for the week proceeding Carnival (details/photos on his Web site). I took him up, and relocated from the historic district of town to Barra, 20-minutes away, welcoming many changes (including the company, pool, and ocean view).
I should have gotten more details on the Carnival circuits and the such before leaving the hostel—all I know is that there are three sections of this very large city that do their own unique thing simultaneously throughout the week. Additionally, I was told that Fatboy Slim would be playing in concert down here, but that tickets were selling for BR$210 (obviously way out of my price range).
I'm happy that I got to see Salvador before the streets started being blocked off, barriers constructed, and stages and spectator stands erected. With each passing day the city looks more and more like it's making preparations for a hurricane—with a rowdy party in the eye of the storm. There's something lacking though—almost no festive build-up to the event can be found in the streets (although there are plenty of warm-up dance rehearsals that you can pay BR$35 to participate in).
I've spent the last few evenings in Barra, where even on a Saturday night (a few days before the big event) the atmosphere is quiet and calm. The most exciting thing I've seen in this district of town has been a great cat-fight between hookers. This was an entertaining sequence of events…
I was strolling on the promenade after dark with Brodie last night, when a thick girl in front of us caught my eye—a hooker for sure, I remarked. Just a few steps away from her a slender girl approached her—a pair of 'em at this time of night, working for sure, we both agreed.
As we walked past them I sensed tension in the air, and I made a quick impersonation out of earshot about gettin' off my corner! (mocking a potential argument between them). Moments later I look back to see what they're doing when I see the large black purse of the slender girl being thrown around by the strap in a manner best befitting a scene out of Braveheart, striking the thick girl a couple of times before they started getting all tangled up—it was an all-out cat fight!
The thick girl's top was ripped off (or yanked down to her waist in the standing-tussle), her unimpressive breasts flopping all over place as they fought. The slender girl quickly lost control of the situation as a huge chuck of her long hair was now firmly in the grip of her opponent. Powerless and hunched over, the thick, topless hooker started wailing on her back with both open and closed fists—loud slaps echoed off the buildings and into the sea.
I, like everyone else within eye-shot, was rather content to stand and watch the two as their fight tore through a bunch of canvas paintings on sale for tourists—but Brodie decided to do otherwise and selflessly added himself into the mix.
I stood and watched him try and separate the two, ready to step in if one (or both) of the girls started throwing punches at him, but refused to do anything more than back up my buddy. The absolute last thing I wanted to have happen was the police on the scene, asking me for a passport and papers that I didn't have on me.
Brodie was clearly trying hard to stop the attacks, but the thick girl just wouldn't let the slender girl's hair. All I could hear/make out over the shouting in Portuguese was Brodie's commands for enough! in Spanish, and puta or prostituta exclaimed from the girls.
Eventually a guy came up and pried the topless victor off the other—most likely the pimp. Brodie exited the scene, bleeding a bit from a small puncture on his toe (probably from the heel of a shoe).
A few minutes after we started sauntering away we looked back and saw the girls at it again, thrashing with each other against a parked car, rocking back and forth from the struggle. Now that's the Carnival build-up I was looking for, I said with a smile.
I'm concerned about my Salvador housing situation for tomorrow (and beyond). My Aussie mate Mario, who wrangled in the apartment I'll (supposedly) be staying in for Carnival, has been out of communication with me for a full week now. I was to be moving in tomorrow, but don't have the address or any other pertinent details (other than that he should have already paid my share of the BR$300 rent).
Mario recently met the love of his life (an Argentine girl), and I think his focus is a bit askew. The back of my palm should fix that, should I turn out to be homeless for the event.