On the road again…With a bad hair do…

Hair by unknown Bahian artist

It’s been a slow month blog wise. A month of waking up at 11am, wandering up to the restaurant for a habitual morning chat with Peter over coffee while waiting for lunch (breakfast for me). None of which makes for entertaining copy. Some of his sailing adventures would, but unfortunately they’re not mine to tell.

The best I can come up with is my cheap and nasty haircut story. For 7 Real (approx. 3 Euro) what was I to expect! I must however sympathize with the barber, because I don’t think he gets to deal with gringo hair very often. The problem is the heat! It’s so hot I’m almost always covered in a sheen of sweat. It appears to worry the locals (who by the way are not bothered in the least by the sultry conditions), when clients look like they’re about to expire of heat exhaustion at any moment, and I can see that the barber had my continued well being in mind when he turned on his counter mounted electric fan. What he failed to realize was the effect an artificial breeze was to have on my hair (think Bee Gees 1980s video clips).

A big smile from Rennany the receptionist

Judging by the look of the locals I suppose it takes nothing less than a tornado to displace a single hair on the head of a Bahian, but in my case a nearby fan is all that’s required to make impressive Medusa impersonations. As my hair danced every which way, so too did the barbers scissors. What a spectacle of non-choreographed live theater. I can only applaud his artistic interpretation of the abstract form so painstakingly rendered upon my head. I call it “The wild wail”. I’m afraid that the end result is too sublime for general distribution but here is a sneak peek.

"The wild wail" haircut....

Wandering aimlessly about town, burdening Renanny the receptionist with my life story or killing time by reading trashy fiction for hours on end doesn’t inspire much creative writing, so I’ve spared you most of the humdrum by remaining uncharacteristically silent.

Sailors leave their mark in the marina lounge

Fear not, this hiatus was but a mere aberration while antibiotics rid me of my lingering bronchitis. I’m now done with Salvador. I’ve left my mark (in the sailors lounge) and provisioned Eileen of Avoca with enough goods to carry me to new exotic locations. Regrettably a month of sedentary marina life has taken it’s toll on Eileen, and my boat isn’t going to take me anywhere before I rid her of the invertebrate reef that has taken root on both propeller and hull.

Scratching around for cockles at Pier Salvador

Swimming at Pier-Salvador is out of the question (unless your immune system is miraculously adapted to it in which case you can apparently withstand dining on the local shellfish), so I parked Eileen on the beach opposite to give her a last minute bottom scrub.

Parking Eileen for a bottom scrub

Two days later, sporting a new layer of red anti-fouling I was ready to move back to the marina and say my goodbyes. The maneuver itself was uneventful but before changing the topic, there is an aside about a simple shackle that I feel compelled to share with you.

The story of the wandering shackle

Many visitors to Brazil hear numerous horror stories of the crime and lawlessness here. Nobody is safe! I do not deny that bad things do happen but I’m beginning to wonder if the hearsay is a little exaggerated. The same way Australians take delight by striking fear in the hearts of English tourists with alarming tales of killer fauna (including illusory drop bears and hoop snakes), Brazilians boast of their rampart lawlessness!

I was looking forward to adding my own tale of the great shackle heist to the annals of Brazilian crime but was thwarted at the last moment by an honest “do-gooder”.

Being single handed, I’d left a large shackle (part of my anchoring tackle) on the seawall to facilitate departure when I motored back to the marina at high tide. Naturally I intended to fetch it as soon as access by the beach was possible but lo-and-behold, even before the tide changed it had gone astray!

Upon discovering this my rage was witnessed by a nearby fisherman and stomping about I half expected he had had a hand in its disappearance, but what was I to do?

Later that evening the same fisherman rowed up to my boat and unexpectedly returned the missing shackle. He’d asked around and found the tourist boat operator who’d “borrowed” it and took it upon himself to return it to its rightful (if somewhat falsely accusing) owner. Thrilled to have “my precious” back, I burdened him with beer in gratitude.

Apparently not everyone in Brazil is out to steal all your gear at the first opportunity…

Michel Balette on Izarra

With the help of Michel Balette I made last moment corrections to my copy of his Brazil Cruising Guide (isn’t it amazing who you run into when sailing. BTW Use this link to get the vital supplement), said goodbye to my friends on the French yacht Graffiti with a last meal before setting sail for northern Brazil. I should reach landfall in about a week.

Stay tuned!

Fun in Ribeira?

 

No, I'm still not sailing anywhere...

I’m still in Salvador Bahia, Ribeira to be precise, the “gringos with their camera’s aren’t welcome here” zone I’d written about earlier, but the atmosphere has changed.

Pre-Carnival, I felt somewhat unwelcome, but now that it’s the off season (and the rainy one) the locals seem much more relaxed and agreeable. Perhaps I just needed to stay a little longer in order to break the proverbial social ice.

 

The crew of Rhapsode

I’ve even manged to meet with and befriend what is a surprisingly rare site in Brazil, the English sailor! Peter (see photo) is stranded at Pier-Salvador marina due to severe weather damage. The bulkhead of his yachts mizzen mast cracked in rolling seas and must be repaired if he is to continue his journey.

 

Everyone needs to have a hobby...

While the tradesmen are at it (in a slothful frenzy evoking memories of my Brazilian banking experience), we make the most of the local beaches, where I enthusiastically conduct a study in comparative anatomy for remedial purposes.

You don’t suppose that all this solitary sailing has made me develop obsessive tendencies do you? ;)

 

Getting my 90 day visa extension in Brazil

 

Too busy to write home?

Days of blog silence with everyone assuming I’m having much too much fun to bother….

But it is not so! Well, not entirely so…

There hasn’t been an update for a while because I have been struggling to get over a relapse of the flu! All this leisure time doesn’t appear to be very healthy for you…or rather me…

Not that it is unusual to fall ill in Salvador. It’s common practice to catch a cold either before or after carnival, and since I always like to do things properly, I’ve done both. ;)

 

Laurence and Laura leave Salvador

Meanwhile all my marina friends have moved on, abandoning me (after generously restocking my vitamin supplement cabinet) to contend with my microbes in solitary confinement. I’m on the mend but have decided to stay put while the coughing lasts!

 

Healthy food thanks to these girls!

Besides, I’m well looked after at Pier-Salvador. I have the marinas chefs making me a hot lunch every day, ice is on hand to cool the rampant fever and I have plenty of paperwork to catch up on. Foremost being my visa extension.

It’s supposed to be easy… and it is…. except the process took me two days to complete. I was told that all the paperwork could be completed at the airport, and so, off I went…

 

Micro visa extension instructions

First up the federal police, where I was handed a minuscule scrap of paper detailing a web address, a code, and a price (see photo). Do you suppose they are trying to make savings on the cost of paper?

Next stop the airports Internet access point where I filled out a form on www.dpf.gov.br and had it printed for an exorbitant fee… No problem, just need to visit the bank and return with the receipt to have my passport stamped anew. Except I hadn’t counted on having to contend with the hurdle of Brazilian bank clerks vigorous efficacy.

Yes that last remark is intentionally dripping with sarcasm because for two hours I sat in stunned disbelief watching a parody of slow motion that passes for client service, and makes a slumbering sloth seem excessively hyperactive! Unsurprisingly, I returned too late to the federal police and found the office closed.

One three hour nightmare sardine can and sultry armpit sniffing bus ride later I was back at Eileen with the cheerful prospect of completing the process the following morning… I’ll spare you the bothersome details!