London, United Kingdom
March 21, 2005
You are wandering along the promenade, minding your own business, when a football comes spinning its way to your direction.
Not just any football. I was passing a court where young men were playing the Brazilian national game, and the fencing was 30 feet high. A player had sent the ball soaring into the air and over the fence, with it landing at my feet. The players immediately shouted at me to throw it back so they could quickly continue with their game. I picked it up, willing to give it a try, but one player realised that the fence was too high for me to throw, belted out of the court and ran to me. Meantime, I was just a stupid foreigner who was holding up their game - so embarrassed, I threw it to him as he came out the court - he grinned a thank you, and I continued on my way.
This was on the approach to Ondina Beach. The beaches in Salvador stretch forever and the most populated are the ones closest to the centre - Barra, Ondina, and Pituba. It is possible to reach these by taking any bus or by simply walking east along the "Orla" from the Morro de Christo. After the country club the start of the big resort hotels occur - the Othon, the Meridian etc. After that it becomes more of a beach for the locals - the Baianos and holidaymakers sizzle together in this part of the beach.
Next to me was a large Bahian family. Mum had brought the kids to the beach, as well as daughters and nieces. They sat down on towels while the kids ran riot, throwing sand at each other (and occasionally me!) and generally having a good time. There were two nut-brown boys, not more than six or seven, chasing each other up the beach. Their little sister/cousin, who was the same age, tried to join in for a while, but the game was too rough, and she gave up. The two devilish boys were covered from head to toe in the sand they had been throwing at each other - then their mother had suddenly had enough! Hoisting them under her arms, she dragged them kicking and screaming into the sea and laughed while washing them up and down with a bucket. The little girl followed, jumping up and down in pleasure at her little brothers getting their just desserts.
Until, of course a bucket of water came her way. She then ran shrieking up the beach - her beautiful curls now soaking wet.
The entire beach chuckled. I wonder why?
From journal Brazil with an African drumbeat - the exotic city of Salvador de Bahia