Balé Flocorico

Salvador da Bahia Travel Blog

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I changed classes this last week and have a new teacher who will also be my teacher next week. Her name is Tatiana and she’s just fabulous. I feel like we can really chat together about Brasilian culture and bicker about the Brasilian men! She’s about 31 years old and married, but can definitely identify with me when I complain about how much I hate the aggressive men here (Shes married to a Paraguayan). Although my British friends seem to love the attention from men who have abs of steel (and definitely show them off), I can’t stand them! They’re aggressive, machisto and full of themselves. I’ve even had to tell some that I’m engaged or married, because having a boyfriend isn’t enough of a deference. Luckily, as long as I keep my mouth shut, people think I’m Brasilian, and I don’t get approached as much by beggars and vendors. (Which is a great relief because they can really be sooo annoying). Tatiana is definitely on my case about slipping Spanish words in there every now and then. It’s really good for my Portuguese.  There are new students every week, and Natalie ended up staying another week or so, so I spend most of my time with her. Last Tuesday night I went out in Pelourinho with a bunch of people from Natalie’s hostel. I love that place! We made a giant portion of Sheppard Pie and Apple Crumble for everyone at the hostel before we went out. They have quite a great community there. I decided when I move out of my homestay I will live there my last month in November. Plus it’s like $25 a week to stay there and is the heart of Pelourinho. My American friend Francisco met up with us in Pelourinho, he’s a work-a-holic here; a med student whose very busy with all the illnesses in the favelas. (oddly enough, Francisco is my only American friend here and he doesn’t even go to my school. Everyone else is from all different countries - I love it!) I didn’t get home till about 3:00. But I was safe, we had a fair amount of males with us, a couple were Brasilian, and I shared a cab back with Francisco. Portuguese is getting easier and easier for me to understand. There’s only one other guy in my class this week, from Japan, so he makes me think Portuguese is even easier because his language has absolutely no comparison with Portuguese.


On Wednesday I took a new Swiss guy at school to my Afro-brasileiro dance class with me. Poor guy was in for quite a shock! I tried to warn him how physically straining it was and that it consisted of a lot of sharp jerking movements, flailing limbs and very upbeat, but I guess you really just cant prepare someone for something like that. However, he did seem to like it, as shocked and sweaty as he was, and will be joining us again on Monday. I feel like I am finally starting to make some progress in that class, however will never be able to use those moves anywhere but here. Though in the streets, people follow groups of percussionists through the cobble stoned streets of Pelouriho in what looks like a parade of Afro-brasileiro dancers. It’s a lot of fun. The energy here is so amazing! Just the other day I saw a man with only one crooked leg, dancing samba with his crutches in the middle of the plaza, having a great time. Only in Brasil…


Last night I went to a BalĂ© Flocorico show. It was pretty amazing. It was based on Orixas, which are gods of CandomblĂ©, with some amazing costumes and dance. It was based on the historic traditions of Salvador, in which the African influence is very evident. These dancers had the most amazing bodies I’ve ever seen, then again, most Brasilians have the best bodies I’ve ever seen. The beaches are absolutely ridiculous and I wonder why women bother to wear a bathing suit at all! When the dancers did a set on capoeira, I could have sworn they were on a giant trampoline or had legs made of springs. They could do 5 flips in a row just with a short running start. The show was only an hour and left me hungry for more. Luckily, once we stepped out onto the streets, we were greeted by a percussion group of children with dancers in tow. We stayed in Pelourinho that night and decided to go Farrol dancing. I met up with Natalie and we ran into a bunch of other people we have come to know in Pelurinho and met up with the rest of the group much later at the Farrol bar. We met some Paulistas here for the Capoeira tournament. I have started to be able to distinguish the accents of Brasil. And also, that while in Salvador, they kiss twice on the cheek during a greeting, in Sao Paulo its only once and Minas Gerais is three times.  So if the accent doesn’t give them away, then the greeting will.


I don’t look like I’m from Salvador, because even though I spend so much time at the beach and have gotten really tan, I am still white here. A lot of people would say that I look like a Paulista (someone from Sao Paulo). Brasilians have over 100 words for skin types, some including café com leite (coffee with milk) and one is even blue (which is someone who is so dark that they look dark blue). I am always surprised by how many people with dark chocolate skin are lying on the beach sunbathing. Although saying that I look like a brasileira is one of the most common pick up lines I get, I always have to laugh because just about anyone could look like a brasileira. There are blonde brasilians, redheads, black brasilians… every color in the rainbow of skin types.


Well, I will end this now. It’s overcast today so I won’t be going to the beach today. I am meeting up for a cultural exchange put on by my school for foreigners to meet Brasilians who are interested in learning another language. Tomorrow I am going to a town called Cachoeira that is a few hours away from here where Candomblé started, with Natalie. Well stay there the night and be back by Sunday.


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