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GreengoStarr

Brazil

19 posts in this topic

I promised @Happy Hippy that I would post some of my travel adventures here and I thought I'd start with Brazil as it is culturally so different to other places I've lived. I never intended to live in Brazil a and had only booked a 3 week holiday. I was running a pub and the Brazilian barmaid, 19 years my junior, took a fancy to me and almost raped me one Christmas. After a previous work related amorous relationship went tits up resulting in major work related issues, I vowed never again to get involved with a work colleague again and tried to explain that to this Brazilian girl. She took that as a challenge and refused to take no for an answer. She eventually beat down my resistance and  finally took advantage of me after staff drinks one night. She accepted that working together could be problematic and found herself another job. She ended having to return to Brazil a few months later and asked me to come visit her. As it turned out, and quite coincidentally, I quit my job 2 weeks before I was due to travel and so, once she found out asked if there was any reason I needed to return to Britain and suggested I stayed. So, just like that, I found myself living in Brazil.

 

It came as somewhat of shock to see so many strains with Landrace Brazilian genetics because the vast majority of weed found in Brazil is compressed blocks of shit imported from Paraguay that I didn't enjoy smoking and finally gave up even bothering with it as it tasted really acrid and nasty and was very weak. The only time I found fresh cannabis was in the State of Bahia and it is the tale of that trip that I shall start with here as it is this trip that had the greatest impact on me in relation to cannabis.

 

This is one of my earliest adventures in Brazil and didn't speak the language and understood little. Bahia is in the lower North East of the country and it's capital São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos (Saint Saviour of the Bay of All Saints), more commonly known simply as Salvador and is the former Brazilian capital. We arrived at the airport with no particular destination in mind and flipped through the tourist brochures. Suddenly, my lady said this is where we're going and indicated a place called Aldeia Hippie (Hippie Village). And that was that. Aldeia Hippie lies about 20 miles north of Salvador and it was not too long before we arrived at the town of Arembepe, the closest town. Expecting no creature comforts at Aldeia Hippie, we decided to spend the night at a guest house before moving on. It was off season and there was no one else staying at the guest house so we managed to haggle on the price and agreed on R$40 (less than a tenner), half the asking rate. Arembepe is a typical small beach side village and had little to offer us to keep us there so we set off early to Aldeia Hippie.

 

Aldeia Hippie lies a few kilometres north of the town and is accessed via a sandy track with the dunes and ocean on one side and a huge freshwater lake full of prawns on the other and a profusion of coconut palms everywhere. There was no other way to get there bar shank's pony so, with clear blue skies, 30 something degrees and high humidity we set off on our way. It wasn't too long before we heard the sound of a car coming up behind us, which stopped and the occupants asked us for directions to Aldeia Hippie. Upon finding out that was our destination as well they offered us a lift and we all set off together. We discovered that they were from the same city where we were living almost 2500 kms away as the crow flies and, despite the early morning warmth we shared a chimarrão , a hot herbal tea popular in the south of South America and served in a gourd and communally sipped through a silver straw.

 

Aldeia Hippie was founded in the early 60s, not surprisingly, by a bunch of hippies and the homes are all made from whatever nature can provide, usually with a thatched coconut palm roof and there is no electrical energy, only the energy of good vibrations. Mick Jagger and that kiddie fiddler Roman Planski stayed there in the early 70s as did Janis Joplin who hid out there for 18 months in the late 60s with her lover, a local fisherman. It looked like paradise to me, bordered on one side by low vegetation covered dunes and surrounded on the other three sides by fresh water lakes, but all no more than a foot deep and coconut palms everywhere. It's a no brainer as to how this stretch of coast is called Costa dos Coqueiros - the coconut palm coast There is no local government or such like, but they do have a visitor's centre where locals try and sell their artesenal craft work.

 

We set up our tent and as soon as we found out that there was weed for sale we headed off to get some. The surface of the lakes are broken by small islands and it's on one of these were teenagers sell the only fresh weed I ever saw in Brazil beyond what I grew myself. Teenagers are often used for criminal activities in Brazil as there is heavy punishment for criminal offences for the poor (most middle class people can afford to bribe their way out of trouble and those with a higher degree have their own prisons separated from the poor masses) and juveniles were not criminally treated as adults. That, however, has recently changed, and the age of majority to be held liable as an adult has recently been dropped to 16.

 

There at the Aldeia, people generally use the inside of a corn husk to roll their weed to smoke, but I don't much care for that, so made myself a pipe to smoke from. I have no idea what strain the weed was, but I remember it being a lot better than that compressed shit from Paraguay. Our first night was filled with smoking, drinking and singing with locals accompanied by a couple of guitars, a cavaquinho - like a ukulele - and an assortment of home made percussion instruments and I was completely wasted by the time we retired to our tent. It was still in the mid 20s by then and somehow the zip for the tent door broke, but I didn't think much of it and fell into a very restful sleep. I awoke the next morning to the tent completely filled with mosquitoes and the tent fabric barely visible beneath the mass of them that rested there. Naturally, I was covered head to toe in mosquito bites and wondered what effect  Cachaça (the Brazilian national drink made from distilled sugar cane and probably very similar to the moonshine @Happy Hippy referred to) and weed would have on the the mozzies, if any.

 

Our second day was filled with smoking, exploring the area, smoking, getting to know the locals better and smoking. We had brought little to no food with us and, as there are no shops in Aldeia Hippie, we decided to head back to Arembepe that evening to pick up some supplies. As we were so close to the equator, the sun set very early and it was pitch black by 6 pm. Fortunately, an almost full moon rose soon after sunset and illuminated our way. It's hard to describe the serenity and beauty of that place as the moon reflected off the surface of the lake and the air was still and warm. About half way there, with nothing but dunes and lakes between us and Arembepe the silence was suddenly broken as a tall negro leapt from the dunes towards us. I was further startled when I found the circular barrel of a shiny silver pistol staring me in the face. Although I didn't speak the language, I didn't need to a polyglot to understand what was barked into my face - Give me everything you've got! This was the second time I had been mugged in my life (the first was hilarious and also in Brazil and I may relate that story later) and only the first at gun point, yet felt no fear whatsoever (there's a story behind that, which I may also relate later) . I had been warned almost on a daily basis about how dangerous Brazil is and not to carry to much cash or other valuables so I had only a bit of cash on me and nothing else. When the ladrão barked at me to give him everything, I reached into my back pocket and pulled out a R$50 note (about £12 at that time) and gave that to him. I knew enough of the language to say I don't have anything else and he seemed satisfied with that. How was he to know that I had distributed

cash in my other pockets  as a precautionary note. When he turned his gun on my lady, I didn't feel any fear either, no anger or similar emotions, what I did feel though was complete and utter helplessness. Being a woman, she obviously didn't carry valuables in her pocket, but kept them in a shoulder bag instead. The gunman insisted that he hand that over and she reluctantly complied and then promptly disappeared back into the dunes from whence he came.

 

There is still a lot more to recount of this adventure in Bahia, but if I don't stop somewhere, I'll be here all day, so I'll finish off with some pics. If I remember rightly, my camera had just stopped working so I couldn't take any pics of my own so these are randomly stolen from the net. I do not claim ownership.

 

medium.arembepe-bahia-comunidade-hippie-

 

 

medium.arembepe-6.jpg.9cce12fe59d61f5616

 

medium.aldeia-hippie-na-bahia-5.jpg.2939

 

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@GreengoStarr

 

Buddy that looks an amzing place and im already hooked on some more stories coming,thanks for sharing dude.

 

peace

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Cheers @Happy Hippy

 

I just found a vid of one of the guys we smoked with and had a singalong with. Rest assured I am a somewhat better singer than he.

 

 

 

 

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@GreengoStarr

 

Haha buddy that was so much like some of my days and nights its reminded of some great times,cheers dude.

 

peace

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So, Alceu, the guy in the above video lent us a tent for our second night with a zipper that worked so we wouldn't have to put up with the mosquitoes. So we awoke the next day without a cloud of mosquitoes in the tent. We had watched a young guy scale a coconut palm the previous day with no aids of any sort and I wanted to do the same, however I am an old pussy with damaged knee cartilage and know that wasn't going to happen. There were coconut palms everywhere and even though they grew in the sand, the force of the impact from falling coconuts was enough to crack their shell allowing the coconut water to seep out. even though I am an old pussy I resolved to scale a palm and get my own coconuts and that I did. I was so proud! However, if you saw the palm tree I'm sure you wouldn't be impressed. The main trunk had been blown horizontal about 10 feet from the ground and must of my scaling was also horizontal as the trunk was still at least sixty feet in length. But I picked my own coconuts! :)

 

We decided to spread our wings a little that day and caught a bus to Praia do Forte, a beach about 10 miles to the north where the diving was said to be amazing and there was also a Marine turtle sanctuary. The diving was ok, but there were no reefs so consequentially limited fish. I have definitely dived in far more awesome places such as Indonesia, but you can't have everything. My lady is incredibly sociable and soon struck up a friendship with one of the locals. When he found out that she was a capoeirista (a person who does capoeira) and a fan of batucada ( a substyle of Brazilian samba music with a mass drum section called a bateria - literally battery)  he told us that Tuesday was the best night in Salvador for that, with capoeira dances on the streets and a batucada procession. It just so happened that that day was a Tuesday. He told us he had a friend who owned a guest house in the pelourinho, the historic centre of Salvador and would happily take us there that day. It was no problem for him to come back to Aldeia with us to collect our things. When we got back to the Aldeia, there was an ominous atmosphere in the place. What had happened? 

 

Watching the expressions of horror grow on my lady's face as she was told the story, I had to wait until they had finished before she translated the story for me. It transpired that the Aldeia received a visit from the local enforcement agency that day, but instead of speaking to the residents, this pig went straight to the island where the juveniles sold their cannabis, went up to a 16 year old boy and shot him in the face! Apparently, this pig had had his home broken into and believed that this youth was responsible. No trial, no evidence, swift retribution. The pig then reportedly dragged the dead kid off by the hair as he left so the body could be disappeared leaving no trace nor evidence - a common practice in Brazil and a subject I shall delve into more later.

 

With a a rather solemn cloud hanging over us, we left the Aldeia and ventured for the historical section of Salvador. Our new found friend took us straight to his friend's guest house, which was situated right in the heart of Pelourinho. The location was perfect. I don't remember the owner's name, but he welcomed us with open arms and asked if we smoked. Of course we said yes and he was soon rolling a bit fat spliff. Once we all had Chinese eyes, he asked us if we had tried Baiana cuisine to which we replied that we hadn't tried much. As luck would have it, his mother had paid a visit that day and filled his fridge with a plethora of local delicacies.

 

Now, food in the south of Brazil is somewhat bland, but Baiana cuisine is a riot of colours, flavours and textures and my favourite is a dish called acarajé with vatapá, which is basically a patty made from black eyed pea paste and onions and deep fried in palm oil and then stuffed with with spicy shrimps (In the British sense, not American), a sauce made from okra with the texture of snot when you have a massive head cold, chopped tomatoes and onions with a liberal dosing of sweat raising chilli sauce. I've added a video below to show it being made and, even though you probably won't understand what is being said, you'll get the drift. The women in the vid are dressed in tradition Bahia clothing and they can be seen all over the city dressed this way at their street stalls. It is the most popular street food in Salvador, but, as the woman explains in the video, it has it's origins in Africa. Prawns and shrimp are known as camarão and the country of Camaroon gets its name from the Portuguese who named the main river Rio Camarão, meaning prawn river.

 

large_aca.jpg.ef33a787fbea366495122533cc

 

 

Once fully satiated with both food and smoke, we took off to explore the area. We had been warned to stay well clear of groups of children as the street kids are notorious for knifing tourists to rob them of anything valuables. Even thus warned, nothing prepared me for the beggars we encountered. Many of them had horrific injuries and deformities, such as a broken arm that was not treated and the bones fusing at right angles and other horrors. They were also the fussiest beggars I have ever met. For example, the first beggar we encountered asked for US$10. In my broken porkandcheese, I told him that I wouldn't give him money, but would give hima cigarette if he wanted. He begrudgingly accepted, but after taking the lighter I proffered and lighting it, he dashed it to the ground and it exploded with a rather unsatisfying poof. He then left swearing at us and cursing us for being tight wads.

 

It wasn't long before we heard the cadence of the bateria start up a short distance away so we followed our ears until we found them. Olodum is the the most famous bateria in all of Brazil and the sound of hundreds of drums beating in time is something that just has to be experienced to really understand and feel its power. Here is a vid of a small number of them in action.

 

 

As mentioned, my lady was a capoeirista and was very eager to find some street capoeira. For those unfamiliar with it, capoeira is part dance and part martial arts originating with the early slaves in Brazil. It was developed as a means to keeps fit and also train under the noses of their "masters", somewhat similar to the way Irish dancing developed after the British outlawed dancing, hut specifically mentioned the use of the arms in their prohibition. 

 

Capoeira Angola, of which my lady was a practitioner, is performed very low to ground and in slow motion. Capoeira regional, on the other hand, is performed at full speed and is far more exciting to watch. The bouts of both are highly respectful, somewhat akin to sumo wrestling in that regard, and should always be accompanied by 8 instruments, including the berimbau. This is a very weird instrument reseembling a an archer's bow strung with wire and a gourd as a sound box. I must confess that I find this instrument somewhat blah as it only has one note and no way to change pitch. It can clearly be seen in the following video of Capoeira Angola on the streets of Salvador. The songs are very interesting and besides the traditional opening and closing songs, the rest of the songs acan be ad hoc, reflecting the situation in the bout.

 

 

 

Contrast that to Capoeira regional. The following video is from the UK

 

 

We stayed in Salvador for another 3 days before returning to the tranquility of the Aldeia for another week before heading back to our base city. I asked the owner of the guest house how much we owed for the 4 day stay, including unlimited ganja and the owner's mother's cooking. He told us R$50. I asked if this was per person or total per night. I was flabbergasted when he said no, that is the total period! £12 for 2 people for 4 nights in the most popular area of Salvador including weed and food! What's not to like about that? Had we not been brought there by a friend of his we really would have paid at least ten times that.

 

I guess this as good a place as any to wrap up my first trip to Bahia, but this is by no means the end of my Brazilian adventures and I shall post more tales soon.

Edited by GreengoStarr
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I forgot to post a couple of pics of a house in the aldeia, so here they are

 

large.aldeia-hippie-na-bahia-2.jpg.94a81

 

large.aldeia-hippie-na-bahia-3.jpg.14211

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ooh, something hugely interesting happened at the aldeia which I neglected to mention. How remiss of me.

 

Anyway, I'd noticed one guy had black holes at the end of his toes and was very curious. I was watching him by the fire one night picking at the end of his toes with a very large and obviously very sharp knife. My lady explained that had caught bicho-de-pé, which literally translates as foot bugs! Wiki has this to say about them:


 

Quote

 

Tunga penetrans (chigoe flea or jigger) is a parasitic insect found in most tropical and sub-tropical climates. It is native to Central and South America, and has been inadvertently introduced by humans to sub-Saharan Africa.[1]

 

T. penetrans is the smallest known flea, at only 1 mm. It is most recognizable in its parasite phase. While embedded under the stratum corneum layer of the skin, it may reach up to 1 cm across. During the first day or two of infestation, the host may feel an itching or irritation which then passes as the area around the flea calluses and becomes insensitive. As the flea's abdomen swells with eggs later in the cycle, the pressure from the swelling may press neighbouring nerves or blood vessels. Depending on the exact site, this can cause sensations ranging from mild irritation to serious discomfort.

 

And this guy was digging these out of the end of his toes, being very careful not to break the egg sac and release them into the body. I was horrified and had to check my toes immediately as I had been walking around in flip flops, Brazil's national footwear. Oh what joy and relief when I discovered I was infected!

 

I soon learnt of another possible attack and they called it bicho geographico. This is what wiki has to say about this one.

 

Quote

 

Cutaneous larva migrans (abbreviated CLM) is a skin disease in humans, caused by the larvae of various nematode parasitesof the hookworm family (Ancylostomatidae). The most common species causing this disease in the Americas is Ancylostoma braziliense. These parasites live in the intestines of dogs, cats, and wild animals and should not be confused with other members of the hookworm family for which humans are definitive hosts, namely Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus.

Colloquially called creeping eruption[1][2] due to its presentation, the disease is also somewhat ambiguously known as "ground itch" or (in some parts of the Southern USA) "sandworms", as the larvae like to live in sandy soil. Another vernacular name is plumber's itch. The medical term CLM literally means "wandering larvae in the skin".

 

 

And you can imagine how ecstatic I was to discover when I got home that I had also got these horrible little fuckers as well. The prescribed treatment is super aggressive and can cause kidney damage! I didn't really like this option so I searched for alternatives and learnt a lot about these horrible creatures. They have evolved to coexist with dogs and other creatures and can pass through the membranes to enter the blood stream, but they cannot pass this membrane in humans. Therefore they are doomed to keep trying and searching for a way and will travel, by crikey, until they finally die of starvation and become absorbed by the body and excreted, a process usually lasting around six weeks. I decided upon this option; just let the fuckers do their thing and then we can forget about them. Did I mention they travel? And you can feel these cunts move. Oh, and it itches like fuck! Six weeks! Did I mention this whole exploring and dying odyssey lasted six weeks? Six fucking weeks of wacky races under my skin and not a thing I could do to stop them. Six weeks! :)

 

 

Edited by GreengoStarr
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It would be extremely remiss of me not to include a pic of the illustrious travels of our dear friend bicho geografico

 

Wiki is again nos salvador (our saviour)

 

large.800px-Larva_Migrans_Cutanea.jpg.64

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@GreengoStarr

 

Buddy i just read it all again you have a definite talent for getting the stuff down in words,it sounds like a truly great place to visit apart from the street kids and muggins lol.

 

They do Okra stew in Ghana sounds just like the bowl of snot you mention  too.

 

Thats a fantastic traditional stone building ive seen similar funny enough in Ghana but theres is more like the stones at the bottom of your pic,like crazy paving walls and only the very important chiefs get to stay in them.

 

Take it easy dude

 

peace 

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Thanks @Happy Hippy

 

I thought I did a reasonable job and the fact that all this happened about 8 years shows you how much of an impact that trip had on me. I do occasional translation jobs, but mainly technical and academic texts but I have considered writing professionally, however  those deadlines and I would not be the best of buddies.

 

There are still so many more tales from my adventures in Brazil and I will endeavour to post some more soon.

 

KIG

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@GreengoStarr

 

Obvious to me from the off dude,personally with your writing talent id make the most of it..deadlines can be moved if its worth waiting for.

 

look forward to more tales and yeah for that long ago it must have made a amazing impact on your outlook of life.

 

peace

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Cheers, lovely photos and stories of a country high on my list of places to travel to.

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Glad you've enjoyed them @Ital.

 

I tried to include as much of the local colour and flavour as I could as Brazil is so culturally and gastronomically  to any other country I've lived in that it really made a huge impression on me. I will post many more tales from my time there, but will only relate those in which illegal substances play at least some part.

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@GreengoStarr A great read dude, ive been totally engrossed for the last 20 mins or so. :thumsup:

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Cheers @Freax glad you've enjoyed my tales. I will update this thread with more tales when the spirit moves me :)

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