The Coast of Discovery
Ahhhhh… Bahia. Home of spicy food, capoeira and Afro-brazilian rhythms. I kicked off this adventure with historic Porto Seguro – the coastal city where Brazil was first discovered by the Portuguese over 500 years ago.
The first night there I had a great experience with a local tattoo artist who approached me to draw a henna tattoo on my arm. My greeting included a firm reminder that I did not want a tattoo and also that I had next to no money. He continued to talk and then next thing I know he started drawing a tattoo on my arm. Now he was fairly interesting and was pretty funny so I let him continue, reminding him that I didn’t want one, but thinking maybe I could give him a few Brazilian Reais for the effort. After completing a fairly large and impressive tattoo on my arm he tried to convince me that the tattoo was worth about 150 Reais ($75 AUD) but that he would give it to me for 130 because I was a nice guy. Laughing hysterically I told him he should go back and learn basic portuguese as I had said I had next to no money and didn’t want a tattoo to begin with.
His response to this revelation was interesting, as he whistled for his 6’2″ amigo to come over. Having a whole inch more in height but considerably less in the muscle department I still kept up the banter, “And you are?”. The “tatt” artist explained the non-payment situation to which I added a basic reminder of how business transactions operate in 99% of the world. The artist tried to get a bit desperate then saying that he needed to pay his slightly over-beefed friend for the tattoo. Pondering what it must be like to be a henna tattoo pimp, I laughed again, gave him 10 Reais ($5 AUD) and bid him and his tattoo pimp a good night.
After that I headed to nearby Arraial d’Ajuda where amongst other things I encountered the very man who supposedly created the Lambada dance craze of the 80’s. There’s a bit of contention between Bolivia and Brazil about who created the dance, but seeing as the word ‘lambada’ is a portuguese word, I tend to believe the Brazilians. I originally thought the lambada was from Mexico or something, but after seeing the locals dance in Arraial d’Ajuda, I am without doubt that it began in Brazil.
Arraial d’Ajuda is a beachside village of hippies and tourists who come together at the beach to play and frolic in the calm waters. Picture hundreds of people all playing sports, drinking and grabbing that tan. Then move 3 km down the beach and you are standing on an isolated stretch of coast where one or two people are practicing capoeira on the sand, and the others are strolling about aimlessly, but content. You choose the type of beach you want and then spend the next few hours lapping it up. I stayed for a week…