The Soul of Bahia… Prazer

You will reap just what you sow, the saying goes… Indeed! Indeed! More enchantment still that is…

Little did we know upon falling in love with Bahia, that Bahia would love us back all the more, open up her heart and invite us in to witness not only the shere beauty of her nature and unspoiled paradise-on-earth-like places, but all the more, she has overloaded us with enchantment, uncovering the underlying warmth of the people, their joie de vivre and positive approach to life.

In Bahia, so it is said, two things are important: relax and smile! And this is exactly why we blend in so easily and feel comfortably at home.

Carpe diem, it is! We rise and shine early with the sun, occasionally have a few to do points on our list to prepare for further travelling, but other than that we just go along with the flow and let the day take us to where and when we need to be…

No rigid plans, no particular expectations, no disappointments, no stress, no needless wild goose chase or getting all worked up because things do not work out as planned. In Bahia they never do, but the flow will eventually lead you to new unthought of possibilities or even better solutions yet and to places and people bringing you so much more in return.

In fact, we have been so caught up in the carpe diem, that although we take you with us in our hearts and minds to all the marvelous encounters and experiences, and although every morning at sunrise and every night at sundown, we remind ourselves that we should share our adventures, write a couple of posts, try to capture all of the wonderful happenings into images and picture slideshows, we kind of just not quite come around to it.

Today we had a plan, which through internet failure and to our regret though, did not work out for us just as we had planned. A pitty, yes, sure,… but hey, here we are at last both of writing down our stories! And who knows what tomorrow will bring or the day after…? Tudo bom!

In the meantime we relax and smile  just as do the Bahian people and the people who have chosen to enjoy and spend their lives here. It is indeed a remarkable thing to observe… As little as they might have, being considered “poor” by European and other nations’ standards, most Bahian people are far from feeling “miserable”. They smile all the time, laugh out loud, joke around, sing and dance, even while they are at work or cleaning the dumpsters or streets. They know how to make things and circumstances better for themselves, but also for others around them. They might have very little, still they share. Their servicibility goes beyond boundaries. They are always willing and trying to help. They are grateful and thankful if you simply greet, smile, make contact, try to communicate in Brazileiro (which of course for them is all the more cause for fun and amusement, given our poor mastering of the language 😉 ).

When in business, i.e. once you have been informed about whom is trustworthy and skilled in a particular area of work, they live up to their reputation. It might take longer as planned (it usually does) or several efforts might be needed to fix a mecanical problem, as in the case of our (so it turns out later any) outboard dinghy motor, but eventually the problem will be solved and they always want to leave you with a positive feeling whatsoever. At local stores or supermarkets, we pay the going prices, not being charged double or triple as (ignorant) tourists, which was the case in many other places we stopped by on our sailing trip before. Beleza!

Since we have been back in Bahia and, being acquainted and familiar already with the day-to-day issues concerning berthing, food, lodging, shopping, boat repairs, local customs and safety precautions, we have gotten the chance to discover the region from a fully different perspective, diving a little more into the depth of everyday city and village life here.

Being eager – but at all times discrete and polite – observers with an open mind towards different customs and the richness of other people’s different life experiences, we have been blessed to see many doors unlocked. We were invited into the homes and lives of many wonderful people in Bahia, especially of…

… Mollie and Nelson, whom we had the luck to get acquainted with during our first stay at Salvador early this year and with whom its is always a true pleasure (or at certain occasions even a blast, as Mollie calls it) to meet up with again;

Nelson & Mollie

… Blanca and Jens, the mixed German-Peruvian sailing couple, who have settled in the pitoresque paradise village of Marau and with whom we have spent so many enjoyable and entertaining days, evenings and caipirinha sundowners and whose stories have been imprinted in our memory with a huge everlasting smile (or as Jens so loveably puts it… Who needs a television when you have Blanca in the house );

IMG_3792

… and also of Fernando , a fellow-sailor from Sao Paulo, who has advised us on Aratu Iate Clube to leave Silmaril during our intermediate visits home in Belgium and on so many other day-to-day life and sailing matters, and whose lovely wife Erica joined again recently on their boat the Ati Ati… and with the both of whom we’ve also enjoyed and shared numerous memorable personal gatherings and sightseeing visits in Bahia;

Ily & Ily

All of these encounters and many more with friends they introduced us to and who in turn welcomed us in their homes without the least hesitation, because in Bahia your friends are our friends and my house is your house, are engraved in our hearts forever! Merry meet, sadly part and hopefully meet again!

And even more so, i.e. on a personal level, I have been deeply touched by the spontaneous, honest and heartfelt warmth and love Bahian women share with each other and any woman they connect to on a heart and soul level… The women her weave a silk cocoon of tenderness, mutual support and respect, uplifting openess and understanding, of pure matriarchial love between and around themselves, which is both so welcoming and safe and which has at times made me feel like a growing foetus in their womb!

To all of you, to all of Bahia, it has been a pleasure! Prazer!

About Patrick & Leentje

We are Leentje and Patrick. We have been cruising since June 2014 with the ambition to sail around the world.
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