Thursday, January 02, 2014

Adventures in Salvador Day 5

Today was busy busy. One of the hostel staff work me up really gently this morning at seven a.m. I wanted to surprise Silvana for a change and not keep her waiting. I struggled up after too little sleep. She and I went to the corner store and bought washing soap for clothes. Oh, no, 10:30 p.m. rolls along so quickly and I haven't had a chance to read yet. 
I am not going to get by Bonfim church--I have too much work to do. I will probably sit in my room and study all day.  I might have to spend Saturday doing the same thing--hum. We shall see. Lesson here: do not take homework on a vacation (smile).

So anyway, I dropped Vera Nobles a line to see if her party were still in town. They are. She dropped me a line back to meet her at the Zumbi dos Palmares statue in the Square. I got caught up looking at art and had to run back to the hostel to wash my face, make my purse lighter and head back to the Square. 
I was about 10 minutes late. I knew they would give me ten minutes in Brazil to get there, right? There was an African Internet cafe across the street. Very convenient, so I went on line to see if I'd missed an email--I had not, so I send a few like: I am still here.
About 40 minutes later--I was running back and forth, I saw Baba Wade pushing Mama Vera along the path toward the statue.  I called their names as I made my way over there. They turned and well it was a nice greeting. These are my family (smile). All was all of a sudden as good as it could get. When one is traveling, there is nothing like seeing people from one's home base, especially when the connection is the kind of connection the Nobles and I have.
 I am getting my Brazilian groove on. I can walk in a circle and not get lost. I can make it to the elevator. Haven't been on it alone yet (smile). I think when Silvana leaves I will be doing the taxi thing, especially when I find an English speaking driver (smile).
We walked around for a minute. The streets are not wheelchair friendly at all.  We settled on a place I'd seen a few days earlier. We had mango juice and french fries. While we talked others from ABPsi and the Merritt Fulbright project came through. It was like homecoming (smile).  I ran my essay ideas by Dr. Wade and he helped me figure them out (smile). Siri told me there is something Saturday afternoon I can join them at, it   depends though on whether I have gotten my work done (smile).
Silvana and I went to a lot of churches today. The gold churches, esp. Francisco is oh my goodness fabulous, but I also like the first hospital, especially the revolving door where unwed mothers of children from mixed races or children from pregnant nuns (smile) could be left in the care anonymously for the Franciscan nuns to care for.

We couldn't take any photos but the view of the city from where the elevator is was magnificent. There was the first auto in Salvador there and the marble in marble stairs, the special exhibit of the painter in the basement. We even had a guide, to make sure we didn't snap a photo (smile).

I went back to the Tourism office and there was a woman there who is vegan who gave me four restaurants. Ramas was really close. They do the kilo thing (weigh the plate and the food and you pay by the kilo).
Nice vegetables--all natural is their slogan. I had tofu and some really nice gravy. Great curried veggies--really nice, not hot. Couscous with a fruit I didn't know, some other veggies I didn't recognize. I thought about lettuce, but didn't want to chance it--the water (smile). I could hear Kaiser and my brother saying --No, No!

Ramas even had natural snacks and chocolate. The only word I recognized in the packaging was "gluten."  The cook didn't speak English but he knew vegetarian and pointed to everything I could eat (smile).

The upstairs breeze was great in the place and there was a nice view of the plaza. I will certainly go back to that one. The host was pleasant. People are speaking Portuguese to me. I am starting to look native (smile).
One of Nabilah or Vera's lessons looks at the similarities between black English and Afro-Portuguese. She and I met at UC Berkeley in an Arabic class over 30 years ago. We were also both studying linguistics. The grammar they use is Bantu as well--who would have known, right?

Dr. Wade's talk last month went over very well here.  As a black psychologist, he is already well known, so  when Vera shared the story of a young woman who recognized him while they were out and followed them to their hotel where her mother and Dr. Wade talked as Vera and the daughter translated for the two. Yes, I was hanging with rock stars tonight (smile). 

I am going to a Condomble public event on Saturday evening. I met a tour guide at the other gold church, the third of three. It was the one near the hospital museum. The tour guide will pick me up.
The Fulbright fellows have been here for a month January 4. They are 6 college professors and 6 high school teachers. These mosquitoes are eating me alive, especially at night (smile).

They each have to develop a certain amount of curriculum available to other scholars to use immediately. Quite a bit is interdisciplinary which is great. Baba Wade and Vera said they were at the Francisco church and Bill Clinton came in with his security. They didn't move. I said, "so they wouldn't get shot." We laughed.
They got up to see the Sisters of the Good Death, but their church is being renovated so they met them at the hotel where they entertained questions. I have to connect with someone that knows them, since I don't have a location to go to while the church is not open.

On my way back to the hostel after leaving Ramas I saw this poster I have been seeing around on buildings everywhere in Pelourinho, so when I inquired as I walked by, I couldn't resist going up the stairs. The Centro Cultural Correios gallery is really nice, and the exhibition of Denise Camargo's "Silencionago" is phenomenal!

It's free and they have a catalog. The photographer has traveled the African Diaspora documenting the movement of African spirituality. Marvelous! In one shot she is in New Orleans. I recognized the place on a plate written in Portuguese.  I asked for an interview. I hope I get one. She is awesome!

Stay tuned.

Silvana is leaving tomorrow :-( But another sister-friend of a friend is popping by the hostel tomorrow to help me figure out the rest of my stay (smile). God is good to crazy wild women who jump on planes without definite plans or linguistic parachutes (smile).

When I get my papers written for the other three classes, I will post photos (smile). The gold leaf is pretty amazing. The Africans did all the work. Its intricacy is amazing too!