It’s Sunday, and more then anything else, this is family day at the beach for those who call Salvador home. That means a mixture of the richer hue that makes up Brazil. By richer, I mean in melanin, because Brazil is definitely not a “melting pot” no more then the US is. Brazil is a rich chocolate cake with a thick layer of mocha and a thin layer of vanilla cream on top. It’s thin, but it is clearly on top. As George Bush noted to Brazilian President, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, “Do you have blacks, too?”. Yes Mr. President. Brazil has “Blacks Too”. An overwhelming number of Brazilians are of African decent and Brazil has the largest number of people of African decent in the Western Hemisphere (Your Cerebral Injection for today). And if Brazil has a lot of Blacks, then Salvador is C.C. (Chocolate City).
But I digress… It’s Sunday and that means a day at the beach. Brazilians are into family. That means all the kids, a few neighbors, their kids, grandma, grandpa, aunts and uncles and anyone else that can squeeze in the car or on the bus is here at Ondina Beach or any number of beaches that cover the coastline. They come prepared. Not just umbrella and towels, but with furniture, pots of excellent smelling food, dishware, radios and a recognition that this is a really going to be a good day. It’s similar to a family day at Coney Island, North Beach or Haines Point if we were in NY, CHI or DC.
They know how to do up the water sports too. You see, the coast is rocky and full of boulders and cliffs. Some people go out and work the waves, but the experts know that there are natural pools among those rocks. About knee to waist high and perfect for lying back and relaxing. Add this to a nearly perfect (hot) climate year round and you can spot folks lounging in these natural pools anytime, 24 hrs each day. So families arrive early and stay until late. Soccer (football) games are ongoing, home made kites fill the air and music comes at you from every direction. Of course the kids are all texting each other, but that is simply what a Family Day is now and going forward. Why call someone who is 100 feet away when you can write them a message. Marconi would be so proud and Edison confused.
I am also at Ondina Beach to see the Fat Girls Statues. Now before those cards and letter (or threatening text) start. This is a series of three statues that represent the women of Brazil (If not by proportion). The furthest from the beach is a Native American looking back toward the mountain and the land she called home, a European on one leg as if feeling the sun from Europe, and an African looking back with a longing for Africa. It is big and powerful but can be overlooked as you drive by. But it is worth stopping for.
Well it is hot, and my sandals are now stuck to the pavement. My sunscreen has runoff and my water bottle is boiling, so I am heading back to my hotel. Don’t do Brazil with out seeing Salvador and Bahia. If Rio is the pulsating heart, then Salvador is definitely the Soul.
See you on the plane…
Gene Harley, Executive Producer, The Traveling Eye