So this is it eh, my first forays into the world of the blog...
I´m not sure how this is gonna work exactly so you will just have to bear with me and probably put up with some personal soul-searching and incredibly dry and boring commentary about where I am, what I´m doing etc - although i will try and avoid this at all costs.
So, for those in the know, i am still in Salvador, for those in the know also, there is no need to be as jealous as you might be as I am in Salvador sans sol! That´s right, since Friday night it has poured and poured and poured with rain. The sky is grey and there is drizzle and wind so my plans for tans have been seriously put on hold.
What this also means is that unbelievably my days are pretty dull. I have not yet fully taken on the roll of independent single traveller who is completely comfortable strolling around lonesone visting every cultural monument in sight, instead I am taking things slowly, slowly, step by step. However, whenever I do venture out I do seem to meet some very fascinating and lovely people.
The latest and most amusing of these is a young man named Lucas who i met on the beach on Friday (before the rain). I am vaguely concerned about this new found attraction to such fresh youngsters but I guess I have to take it as a compliment that I am not yet showing my full 28 years!
So I met Lucas on the beach when i agreed to watch his havaianas and t-shirt so he could go for a swim- normal beach etiquette over here where everyone lives in constant fear of being robbed at any moment. Literally it seems that no one feels safe anywhere, just one of the great ambiguities which permeates Brazilian culture.
Anyway Lucas is still in that awkward phase of adolescence when limbs are newly long, lean and awkwardly angular. Curtains that he has to keep flicking uncomfortably out of his eyes, big teeth and big braces, I´m guessing that he can be no more than 17. A fan of Pearl Jam, Keane and suitably impressed that I like ´Hippy - Hoppy´ as it is known over here. We get chatting, he is moving to France in the summer for two years and speaks surprisingly good english - obvioulsy a well-educated and rerlatively monied brazilian. He then attempts his first clumsy foray into flirtation, expressing I have beautiful eyes although he doesn´t quite have the experience to follow this up.
So I give him my e-mail - hey I need all the friends I can get over here - and then today I get the e-mails, he´d like to take me to see the latest horror film in the local shopping centre and the piece de resistance - he loves me! The joys eh, gonna have to put him out of his misery soon enough and let him know i´m about 10 years his senior.
The portuguese is going well so far although I am having major problems with pronunciation. It´s not just learning ´what´to speak, i am totally having to change the ´how´of my speech. Over here the voice is everything, it´s strong and passionate and without timidity and insecurity and so therefore as someone who is only just getting to know their own voice and has long hidden in mumbles, it is a real task getting it out there. As with most things though it happens best when i´m not thinking about it and then things just seem to flow although the pronunciation of words is a nightmare.
I met a great guy the other day when i was buying capoiera trousers and he took time to help with my pronunciation and have a chat. He was telling me that you can´t say ´black´people over here as it causes great offence and that they say ´negro´instead. For a country which looks so mixed from the outside, racism and inequality is fierce. For example, there are no black people on TV. What there is on TV every mornign is a portuguese version of Angela Rippon who hosts the morning show with a stuffed parrot. She is platinum blonde and flirtatious and every morning there is some sort of close up of her seductively biting into a sausage kebab or sugary doughnut, with full on sound effects. It´s hysterical.
TV is a constant in the house i´m staying with 3 generations of women and one son. They´re a really nice family but clearly have a hard time making ends meet. The job situation over here is diabolical, there aren´t enough jobs, taxes are phenomenal and woman are still heavily reliant on men as the main wage-earners. Families also live together until the kids are married off. It´s very different and has totally made me realise and reflect on how lucky we are in the UK to be so independent and of the whole culture of independence that we have. Saying that it´s great living with so many generations and everyone hanging out together as normal.
As I said things are pretty quiet, I am yet to make any friends and haven´t drunk alcohol in a week! early nights, study and reading for me although it is probably just what I need. I have totally fallen for Salvador though and am wondering whether it may be better to stay here than return to Rio - we shall see.