Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Week In Brazil

We arrived in Salvador a week ago, and already I never want to leave. When we told our friends in Buenos Aires that we were planning a trip to Brazil, they universally said the same thing: "Oh, you'll love it, the people are wonderful! And be careful." There was always that warning. Our friends who had been in Rio for Carnaval said the same thing: That they'd loved the city and the people, but that it was incredibly crime-ridden and dangerous and that they had to be very careful when leaving the hostel.

Honestly, I couldn't reconcile these things. How could I love a place where I'd always be on my guard? I didn't get it. Until I spent a week here.

Salvador is a city of about 3 million people. It has an old area of town called Pelorinho, that has two levels. The Elevator Lacerda connects the two. It costs 5¢ to ride, and is the only safe way between the two levels, as the steep streets between them are considered dangerous even during the day. Cars don't have to stop at red lights at night because the risk of robbery makes it unsafe to stop. During festival nights in Pelorinho, and of course during Carnaval, you can expect to feel peoples' hands in your pockets, which is why it's better to wear shorts with no pockets and keep money pinned inside.

Why, then, is it so wonderful here?

I still don't quite understand it. I guess for one, I'm OK not bringing my camera out with me when I can tote inexpensive and very photogenic fruit back to the hostel and safely snap away there. When we go to the beach, we only bring a few reais with us for snacks, and lunch for both of us with beer never costs more than $10. Every time we go to the grocery store, super-happy Brazilian music is being played, and even the guy selling shrimp skewers on the beach is singing. Last night we went out for RS$2.50 caipirinhas, then danced Samba in our hostel, and we'll probably do the same thing tonight.

Now let's talk about papaya, shall we?

In Portuguese, it's called mamão formosa, and this fine speciman weighed in at 1.1kg and cost us all of 1.27 reais, or around 65¢. Mamão formosa isn't a small fruit (the rather handsome fruit model is included for scale), and it's filled with seeds that look like peppercorns. Papaya flesh is soft and scoopable and you can - and should - eat it with a spoon. It has a very mild flavour and isn't very sweet, and if I made it into juice I'd probably add a bit of sugar (or heck, a mango) to sweeten it up a bit.
UFF Fruit Rating:


Julie said...

Gillian - I love your photos! The textures and shallow depth of field. The colours. Aaahhhhhh! You have such a great eye, developed skill and creativity. All of these radiate from your pix. They are inspirational!

Julian Strong said...

Hi great reeading your blog