Salvador de Bahia mon amour....
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Where I stayed
spectacular sunset. my camera was broken. i don't
trust my memory to be able to capture this unique
symphony of silvery sea, orange sun, air brushed
cirrus clouds, fragrant breeze, fiery sky. here at
SAN ANTONIO fortress, where the BARRA Lighthouse
stands. i linger here to contemplate the heavenly
splendor, breath taken away, awed and moved with the
velvety light - fleeting and changing to
indescribable hues as time ticks away. like the flower
of youth, starting with an innocent bud of dainty
purity, it dazzles. it enchants with a heart breaking
beauty. slowly, imperceptibly, the twilight magic
envelops the sky. the crepuscular glow is a perfect
metaphor for my ebbing youth. youthfull energy is
still there, but they are mostly spent.
and the long evening is ahead of me, like the gradual
decline that we all have to undergo...
where did my youth went? just like that - pfffft! its
gone. what is left here is a shadow of that cocky
young man who felt will live forever. alas! my alloted
time is consumed. i have to move on to another phase.
what is left to an old man but sweet sorrows and
beautiful melancholy? i sigh, i indulge the breeze to
caress my restless spirit. i looked faraway and
reviewed the improbable trajectory of my life. i am
here in SALVADOR DE BAHIA, not by design, but got
carried by the waves of events, going along with its
flow, not resisting it, and see what adventure is
there around the bend.
salvador de bahia proved to be an exhilirating
sojourn, a confirmation of what i intimated long
before i understood it. but i will be selfish, i will
keep things to myself.
still heavy with inebriating encounters. i run away
for awhile to breath. some people suck all the air
around them, and the rest cannot breath.
i stayed longer at the ramparts of the fortress. i
find myself alone- without the usual paid company. for
a change. i am surrounded with young lovers out for an
evening tryst on the ramparts. classic eternal sights.
only, i am not a part of it, a detached observer.
envious, but happy for them. i was young once. i had
my moments - wild and free. that was all in the past.
i have my ghosts for company.
i walked along the mosaiqued esplanade of BARRA, the
more affluent district of Salvador, where all the
clean and beautiful people go. the beach is fenced
with a low concrete ballustraded fence, neatly
whitewashed. its about waist high, and its inviting to
sit and watch life goes by - joggers, evening
strollers, vendors, tourists. the clear water is still
full of bathers as the beach is clearly lighted, water
is warm. i was tempted to go for a swim, but i opted to
sip a cold BRAHMA and write these lines.
i am pushing 50! how would i like to spend the next
20, 30 or even 40 years(if i am lucky!) of my life?
will i remain a vagabond, a gypsy, a solitary
wanderer? i look at my siblings and friends - all busy
nurturing families and businesses, and me? lost as i
have always been! but blissfully lost i must qualify.
undoubtedly, i will learn more languages, see more of
the world, make more friends, have more fun and
adventures, read more books, see more movies, more
trails to blaze, maybe write a book, attempt some
poetry. any suggestions?
09jan2007 SALVADOR DE BAHIA, room 403 ONDINA APART
I am by the Atlantic ocean, under the shade of a
parasol. The Bahian sun is fierce and bright.Despite
my dark skin, I managed to get sunburned. I am sipping
KUAT(a Brazilian fruit) juice while I wait for my
grilled fish and bean soup. As always, my restlessness
and incessant prowling brought me to this timeless
plaza. The time has stopped. I am back to the
Portuguese colonial occupation. Every building that
surrounds me belong to 17nth century Portugal. As
there are no cars and hanging electric wires, the
illusion is convincing. The natives could have been
the slaves fresh from Africa and they are under the
shade of sprawling tree idly chatting or just dozing
off. Only colorful fishing boats betray the present
I gaze towards the ocean and I imagine the galleons
from the old world bringing in diseases and fears to
the native Indians, almost all of them exterminated
or reduced to paupers in their own lands. The silvery
water shimmers and it arouses dreams of long sea
travels to undiscovered lands. I can feel what these
explorer felt. My adrenaline surges to imagine.
What frontiers are there left for us to conquer?
Personally, I would like to tame Siberia. After
couple of years with my company, I will drop
everything and go back to my poetry and Russian
literature. I will go and live in Tomsk...
That was the dream. But I am hijacked by these
Bahian women, I would say, willingly and blissfully
hijacked by a very irresistible creature.
These mulattas(if you can really call them that -
mulattas. How about the native blood mixed into
this exotic brew? Do you just drop their Native
American heritage?) are the most beautiful people on
earth, at least for me - flawless dark golden honey
skin, european features, praying eyelashes, sparkling
white teeth, perfect bodies, smiles that can drown
all your sorrows, playful, charming and fatal. I yield
all the time to their dangerous flirting. There will
be plenty of time for heartache later. All I know now is
the intoxication. I will indulge in the spell and
The Portuguese came to the NEW WORLD without their
women. Deliberately, indiscriminately, and wantonly
they miscegenate with their slaves and whatever
native survivors that had remained. There was fervor
in their fucking that they manage to create a huge
critical mass of mulattoes that now make up of the
bulk of present day Brazilians. Think of Romario, of
Ronaldo, of Ronaldinho, of Pele. They represent the
average Brazilians. But the Bahianos are different
categories all together - more alluring, more
playful, more naughty and sexual animal. They more
beautiful too. They'll break your heart.
It was a different age. It was an age of discovery
in its very essence. They have no verifiable data
about their destinations. Only rumours and tales.
These colonizers only have their dreams, their wild
imaginings and their greed. After horrible months or
even year in the vast ocean in their primitive
caravel and the total lack of communication and
modern medicine, arriving in South America with its
heat and humidity, its verdant hills and mountains,
turquoise and tourmaline waters and sweeping
beaches, their collective breaths must have been
I'd like to imagine what they felt - awe, majesty,
grandeur, and their imaginations fired to inhuman
proportions. I regret that we will never feel their
reactions ever again. The internet have saturated us
with information, we lost our sense of wonder. The
innocence is gone, we are reduced to our cynical and
all knowing stance.
I wrote these lines inside an immense cathedral at
Pelourinho(historic district of Salvador). I gaze at
the ornate ceiling, golden knaves, pulpits, and
colonnades that soars to high heavens - humbled and
inspired by what they have left behind. I shudder to
think of the human cost in erecting all these
impressive monuments. But what is life in terms of
eternity? Nothing really. TIME is flying, ART is
long, LIFE is short(TEMPUS FUGIT, ARS LONGA, VITA
BREVIS). In the end, its ART that had prevailed.
I am here inspired and uplifted by what remained.
The death and injustice is nothing in terms of
eternity. Nicolo Macchiavelli would have approved it,
the end justify the means. Long live ART!
the following lines are not mine.
it had been circulating in the internet for years.
but i love the poem. if this is your poem, and you don't
want me sharing it here, just let me know, and i will
remove it from here.
If I could I would live my life over.
This time I would try to make more mistakes.
I would try not to be so perfect, I would laugh more.
I would be so much sillier than I have been
that I would take few things seriously.
I would be less hygienic.
I would risk more, take more trips, contemplate
more sunsets, climb more mountains, ford more streams.
I would go to more places I have never been.
I would eat more ice cream and fewer beans.
I would have more real problems
and fewer imaginary ones.
I was one of those people who lived every minute of
life sensibly and productively. Of course I had
moments of delight.
But if I were able to go back it would be
for good moments only.
Because, if you don't know it, that's what life's
made of: moments.
Do not waste even this one.
I was a guy who never went anywhere without a
thermometer, a hot water bottle, an umbrella, and a
If I could live my life again I would travel more
If I could live again I would start going barefoot
when spring comes and not stop till fall's long
I would walk down more side streets, contemplate
and play with more children, if I had my life ahead
of me again.
But, come now. I am 85 years old. I know I am