Cry for lions

Yesterday was Christmas Eve.

Me and grand daughter of Olga were watching a book about African fauna. I adore that unique world and know much about it. So I told little lady about animals on colourful photos.

She, charmed and excited by beauty of lions, said:

– I want them to live in my house!

And here I talked her, how precious is freedom for wild beast, how gorgeous is a free animal and how miserable – imprisoned. How fragile they are and how easily they can disappear.

I hope the girl will remember what I said.

And then words from books I read a year ago came onto my mind:

“His neb freezed in scary grin, his body stopped in unnatural pose. Price to that – three thousand rands. While the “cover” of a lion you can estimate, a lion alive, it seems, costs nothing. Isn’t it weird that a masterpiece created by a human is favored as a halidom while a lion – masterpiece of nature much earlier than humankind – is demolished for fun?” (Gareth Patterson)

 

Lion in the national park of Etosha, Namibia. There're almost no lions left in the wild.. This lion is bothered by tourists. But he's free.

“Once in the evening we saw a magestic lioness sitting on the rock and viewing plains around. She was shaped by light of sunset and seemed to be a part of granite rock, on which she lay on. I fell into a muse – how many lions were laying on this rock for countless centuries passed from that moment when humankind was still in a cradle. Thinking about that i noticed – how can a civilized person, while spending treasures in attempt to preserve old buildings and pieces of art created by human’s hand, destroy creatures who are implementation of eternal beauty and grace? And he does that to boast his courage, got with the help of use of weapons created for killing a man, or for the fell which he tries to ornate with his home lacking beauty”. (George Adamson)

Lion cub sleeps in game reserve "Kwantu" in South Africa. He and his sister were only 2 months old, when they lost their mum.
Lions are lured and killed by poachers because of their skin that is sold on black markets. Who knows, maybe, her skin will also serve as a carpet for rich one day...
His forefathers walked over the whole African continent. He doesn't have a place to go anymore.

I wish my children will have chance to hear a roar of lion. Of a free lion.

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Speak like Baiano!

Now I feel that I do not travel but live. And this is the best way to discover the country, to understand its folk.

I continue studying Portuguese – just six five months ago I coudn’t imagine that I will study this language.

Language opens me gates to Brazilian cuture. It’s deep and so rich that life wouldn’t be enough to discover. Traditions and believes vary from state to state.

Today I’ll write you some curious facts about Baianos – people who live in state of Bahia : )

  • Whom will I write about first? Of course, men! Brasileiros are the only people I met who admit that they are “big children”. They say it by themselves! And no shame : ) Crisa and his friends even call each other “crianças” – “children”.
  • At the same time Brazilian men call each other “pai” – “father”. Funny to see how one young man say to the other youngster: “Ate amanhã, pai” – “Will see you tomorrow, pai”

    Eai, amigo! E ae beleza?
  • Brazilian men say to each other “Abraço” – “Hug””. Imagine that in Russia? Reputation of “veado” – gay is garanteed.
  • Baianas have many specific impressions. This language is very vivid and typical for this state. Here’s a small part:

E ae beleza? – hey what’s up?

Não vá que é barril – Dont go , it s dangerous

Baratino – Lie

Na paleta – by walking

êa – Hi

Pega aquela parada para mim – Give that thing to me (“Parada” is a word to name anything)

Lá ele!  – Not me, get out of here!

Ó! – Look over there!

My friend Olga, Ukranian – Brazilian, has a dictionary of “expressão da Bahia”, but, as long as she has more than 2.000 books at home, we haven’t found it yet : ) Wait for the next post, amigos!

Tie up a knot and make a wish

Near Farol da Barra a young woman came to me. In her arms – necklesses for sale.

I have a present for you, – she said to me. And gave me a bright strip of cloth. “Lembranca do senhor do Bonfim da Bahia”, said words on it. …Remind the Lord of Bonfim of Bahia.

The girl turned the ribbon around my wrist.

I will make three knots. And you will make three wishes, – she told to me.

But my thoughts were far away, and my “wish list” was empty that day. She, seeing me confused, tried to help: “Saude? Amor? Felicidade?” She spoke Portuguese to me, and I hardly understood her.

I just nodded. My mind was empty.

In two days a guy stops me on the same pass, leading to the entrance of Farol da Barra.

I have a present for you, – he says. And stretches his arm with yellow ribbon in it.

Yellow. Color of sun. Make three wishes…

He talks to me in Portuguese, and I talk back to him. He doesn’t give me advice. This time I know what I want.

I want to be happy.

I want to warm people with my heart and smile and feel this warmth back.

And I want to know all corners of my home – planet Earth.

P.S. Those colorful ribbons people bring from Igreja de Nosso Senhor do Bonfim in Ribeiro, in the west of Salvador. Wind from the bay waves thousands of bright strips, tied on the fence around the church. Each color means something: blue – health, saude; green – happiness, felicidade…

Igreja de Nosso Senhor do Bomfin. Photo is taken from here: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_vNPcde7Zd8k/TS3hiosvcAI/AAAAAAAAKTI/Nbc8TbEe3fQ/s1600/igrejasenhordobonfim.jpg

Take a ribbon, make three knots and keep in mind three wishes. And believe in kind spirits of Salvador.

P.P.S. I apologize for publishing a photo that is not mine. Unfortunately, at this moment I don’t have a photocamera. But I do my best to solve this problem : )

Salvador: sad story of Mary Lou

Eu tinha uma galinha,

Que se chamava Mary Lou

Um dia fiquei com fome

E papei a Mary Lou

Mary Lou, Mary Lou,

Tinha cara de babaca.

Mary Lou, Mary Lou,

Botava ovo pela cloaka.

This silly song we sing on the lighthouse, Farol da Barra. I live close to it and go there to watch the sunset.

Fort of Santo Antonio and Farol da Barra. This lighthouse is the first in Brazil and the oldest in the continent.

And I’m not the only one, many people gather there every evening. Brazilians admire natural beauty. And watching a sunset over Atlantics turnes to be a part of an everyday schedule.

Sunset in Marina Bahia

Salvador is a city of churches. Numbers I was told vary from 360 to 500. I don’t know which information is more precise. Still – there’re many of them. Every day of the year you can visit a new one : )Salvador is a city with population of 2,5 million people. It lays on shores of Bahia de todos os Santos – Bay of all Saints. There’re several islands inside the bay, including big and populated Itaparica.

The sandy coastline is occupied by tourists that arrived by charter boats. They get drunk rapidly and play loud music.The beach is full of people – they hide in a shadow of umbrelas – the sun doesn’t pity anyone. Average temperatures in Bahia in summer is somewhere around 30 degrees. Paradise after nasty and cold Saint-Petersburg : )

Salvador from the Bay of All Saints

Salvador has a soul and I guess it can become one of the cities I would love to come back. It’s up to my wind ))

P.S. The silly song is a story of a person who had a chicken named Mary Lou. Once he got hungry and ate his chicken. Such a sad end : )

Praia do Forte: diving without getting wet

Well, I’m not going to write about aquarium, where you can be introduced to sea life. I’m speaking about wild and free nature.

On Friday Rafael and Larisa invited us to their countryside house. 100 kilometers from Salvador – and we found ourselves in an idyllic piece of the coastline, Praia do Forte. This place is famous for its turtles. There’s a sanctuary “Projeto Tamar” for sea creatures right on a shore, its walls are washed by the ocean.

Wild turtles also come here to nest. But it happen in one short period of the year – and unfortunatelly not at current one.

View from a bedroom.

We stayed in a cosy house with tile roof and brick walls. Stony passes lead to mango trees and outdoor shower. On backyard – barbeque stove and sofas.

Mango trees, coco palms, flower bushes help to create privacy and intimacy across neighborhood. From the street houses are fenced, cars are parked nearby. But from backyard there’re no fences, just a huge lawn with shadows, where all owners of the condominium have access.

This lawn is crossed by passes. ringed with stones. They lead to the ocean – it’s less than 10 minutes walk.

Watch your head!

Coconats are dropped all over the place. Most of them are cracked while falling, and sweet water seeped from their inside. But we had Crisa! In climbing a tree he can compete with a monkey : )

High tide or "alto mare" can reach palms on the edge of the beach

Around 10pm the ocean was turned backwards by tide. Waters ran away from a coast. I went into former ocean bottom, aiming on sparkling wave foam far away from the shore. At the moonlight I wandered on naked reefs.

At night reefs talk. There’s a slight whisper all over vast coastline that, due to whimsical natural ruthms, appeared to be nude below the bright full moon.

At darkness I noticed a flashlight. Someone was going along tideline. I hurried up to reach the mysterious person. But when I came closer, he turned off the light and stopped. I saw just a silhouette in 30 meters from me. We both we standing silently, without movement, our feet gently touched by the ocean.

The next day I learned who was my secretive companion: while low tide I met a guy with a bag full of crabs…

Locals use natural wonders for profit. They collect crabs in low tide and sell them on a market.

The most interesting part waited for us in the morning. Sealife laid open in front of us, lit by sunlight. So I could have a more thorough glance on it.

Walking in low tide, don't step on a sea hedgehog. There are as many of them in reefs as birds in trees.

Playful fishes don't care about tide. They fill comfortable even in tiny pools of shallow water.
I liked these spotted slugs very much. When someone touch them, they release a cloud of iridescent substance.

How amazing these creatures are! This is just a small part of that beauty that possible to see in Praia do Forte. And what’s even more amazing is that it coexists in harmony with humans who discovered this little paradise.

Brazil is…

First impression can define attitude for a long time. No matter if we speak about a person or a country. So – that’s my first impression of Brazil.

Coast of Recife in low tide

Brazil is …a coconat milk that is sold in small quiosks along the quay. Near each of them there’s a huge pile of coconats. They are not brown and hairy, like I used to think, but green and bald. The vendor with precise, a bit artistic movement cuts a piece of it and puts a straw in the hole. So we can drink sweet liquid from inside.

Crisa's climbing a coconut palm. Had seen this photo, his 11-years-old niece quickly found a definition: "Macacinha!" By the way, I tried to climb by myself - it's really hard!

Brazil is …a frogs’ concert in the dusk. These specific music attracts many of show-white herons. They pass gracefully above us, holding their long necks mounted like letter “S” and stretching their thin legs backwards.

Sunset over Recife - from Cabanga Yacht Club

Brazil is …an 8 kilometer long beach. I didn’t want to put it as a first point of my narrative, it’s so trivial, but of course this is all Brazil about. At day it hosts voleyball players and leisured citizens, who mostly come here to sit in the shadow and have a couple of beers. Cadeiras e guarda-sols – chairs and umbrellas is possible to rent from savvy locals, who have piles of them, waiting on a beach.

When you lay in your chair, listening the roar of tide, and hear bell ringing, you know – that’s an ice-cream van. Venders on the beach sell simple and extremely tasty dishes. Like queijo quente – melted cheese with spices and honey. Bet you haven’t tried it even in France.

At night, filled with moonlight, beach belongs to romantic souls and less romantic runners and families with children and dogs. Souls, who come in a couple, spend lond time just wandering along the coast, diping bare feet in calm ocean wave and wet putty sand. Lonely souls sit on a sand and stare at the darkness of the ocean, building cloud castles in their fantasies. Children consruct castles from more practical material – sand, dogs bark, runners run.

In Recife seaside is pretty shallow, and tide is powerful. Sometimes, when tide comes, the beach disappeares under water. There’s no place on a beach for anyone then, except the ocean.

High tide in Recife

Brazil is …rich and poor. Thousands of imported cars on streets of megapolises, fashionable appartments along the coast and modern shopping centres. Along with favelas that host thousands of unregistered people, who live in self-made law, or, better to say, without it. Now things are getting better, government tries to organise or resettle favelas. An idea, what has happened in this social gutters and how it was fought, I got from movies “City of God” and “Tropa de Elite”.

This favela on river Capibaribe, Recife is currently separating. People are given new appartments on preferential terms.

Brazil is …helpful people. When you ask direction on a street, you, surely, will hear the answer back and, probably, get a ride or even be escorted to the place. Most likely, some random passers-by will hear your question, addressed to someone else, and join conversation in order to help.

Brazil is multicultural and multinational country. This Muslim (?) monument was the first thing we saw on arrival to Recife.

Brazil is …the bright sun. It’s truly impossible to stay without sunglasses in a daytime. Hot air on streets shimmer and tremble. In surrounding of concrete boxes we feel ourselves like in the Mediaeval kitchen.

I knew that Brazilian summer is hot, as long as winter – quite rainy. Well, when we had just arrived to Brazil after Atlantic crossing, Recife in November (that is almost summer in southern hemisphere, as you remember) met us with heavy pour. While trying to throw  anchor, and later catch a bouy on a mooring we got completely wet. Warm welcome : )

Another "warm welcome": Recife is famous for its shark attacks.

Still my exploration of Brazil has just started! Two days ago we arrived to Salvador, ancient capital of Brazil and the most “African” city of this country. So – see you soon on these pages!