Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Praia do Forte (Part II)

Dia Dois at Praia do Forte:
We woke up pretty early because 1, the sun is super bright already at like 5AM (the sun rises at 4AM, Bahia is an exception to daylight savings). The hostel offered a small breakfast, they usually do but if they don't they usually have kitchens. This is my first hostel experience.
Something I wasn't expecting was for them to ask for my passport number, but most hostels do apparently.

HOSTELS: (ALBERGUE em Português)

So for people who don't know what a hostel is, (I didn't know before, I just thought it sounds like brothel--but it is not the same thing!) it's an alternative to a hotel or inn because they're cheaper. There are so many youth hostels because usually people who go to hostels are usually traveling all around and want to save money. Hostels also tend to offer facilities like laundry and internet, skype equipment etc. because a lot of their frequenters are usually backpacking and don't have that many changes of clothes so they just wash and reuse. They also usually like to have contact with loved ones while away.
Why is it cheaper? Because you don't have your own room, or daily room service, and you pretty much take care of things by yourself, there's no restaurant, usually the room isn't too fancy either. Some don't have airconditioning, the bathroom is also pretty small, no mini fridge in each room. Sometimes you have to bring your own pillow or towels or they'll charge you extra.
Back to the not having your own room, it's usually shared with around 6-8 other people. It's really convenient when you have enough people you know to fill a room, but otherwise you share it with strangers. I don't know how comfortable I'd feel with that, but they usually do gender segregation, and each person gets a drawer or locker with a lock and key.

I personally sometimes find breakfast a little difficult. They had some fruit juice, cooked plantains, coffee, regular milk, and many different types of cake and bread. I enthusiastically ate the plantain, and some fruit but coffee makes my head hurt (althoug I love the smell) and I'm lactose intolerant (although I will endure the pain for some ice cream and yogurt and cheese once in a while) bread constipates me, and the cake and juice was too sweet for me. Gosh I really don't mean to be picky but I don't want to have a headache or be constipated and bloated. And the sugar thing: half my family has diabetes and alhtough I don't have it, my blood pressure and energy are affected when I eat sweet things.
It was convenient that they offered us some calories to be up and about but I usually have this focus on balanced meals--balanced according to me. I really need some protein, fat, only a few complex carbs, and fiber--preferably fibrous carbs, well at least that's my mindset, I guess I don't NEED it, but I will tell you this, it is much easier for people who don't care so much about this, for me I guess I just try to be flexible, and obviously not get upset that my Santa Cruz standards of whole grains, soymilk, and organic everything aren't met everywhere I go right? But I still try to search for things, like I'll tell my mae that I'll have mamao (papaya) every morning and that way I'm sure I got certain vitamins and lots of fiber. I looked in stores near my house for soymilk so that I didn't have to make my mae have to go all over the place looking for something unfamiliar, and I found it. I am sure I'm telling you more than necessary but the point is...oh yeah, see sometimes it just helps to look, but really prepare to be flexible. And if you can have cake and coffee for breakfast and feel great afterwards that's great and I'm a little jealous but in a good way. Happy for you.

There can't not be hammocks right?
This is a picture outside our room. We had the "estrela do mar" room. Sea star.
So then we were off to eat again. We went to this little lanchonete type place because it was on of the cheaper options. I ordered a sandwiche de pure de frango, on a pao integral (wheat bread) and asked for them to add lettuce and tomatoes which was on the list of condiments/addatives for like $0.25 that type of stuff. And it was really quite filling.
The funny thing is that apparently the waiter was new; it was her first day, so after I finished ordering she's like "okay is that it?" me: "yes" her "okay" and then she left back into the restaurant/kitchen. oops, so I ran after her and told her, "sorry I meant that's it for me, but my friends also want to order". It was pretty fun.

They just got pão de queijo as a snack. This is also a typical Brazilian food. Literally it means "cheese bread" and it's pretty much what it is, the bread part is usually made from manioc (also known as cassave) flour (mandioca/aimpim in Portuguese).

Lots of little kids are out helping their family sell these cocada desserts/snacks. It usually has some sore of candied coconut, or coconut otherwise ("burnt" or toasted in the more tan ones) and the redish purple ones have peanuts in them! those are my favorite! can you tell!
We then went to the sea turtle and marine life reserve type thing. It is run by the same groups that work against poaching of turtles for the use of combs and such. I never realized that people used to use turtle shells to make combs. There's actually a type of turtle that still has the colloquial name of "tartaruga pente" ="comb turtle". We saw a lot of beautful marine life and learned about the struggles of these fellow inhabitants, and
this is Allegrinha and me as sea turtles.
Is this not the coolest bathroom facility you've ever seen?!! There are two stalls in there too, and a sink with a cool mirror.

We also supported these women who were making these goregous purses, bags etc. They were using techniques that have been passed down for generations from their indigenous group the Tupi-namba from the Amazon.

This lady speaking in this video was really nice in letting me record her explanation of the short history and process. At the begining she mentions that she and these ladies are Tupi-namba descendents, and she talks about what the traditional style and that's when she points to that big bag behind the ones at the right. the 17 pairs I guess is what they're called. But later they started doing different styles, influenced by the current fashion and what people what to buy. They use a certain type of mata to make them and traditionally they used to get the colors from seeds and other plants and even fruits like genipapo (which I've eaten :)) but apparently they've started working with other pre-made artificial dyes because it's hard to get so many bright colors like the ones pictured above. They cook the material/straw? with the dyes and dry them straight and from there work with them.

We later went for a walk around town. Lots of colorful houses. I know that if I ever have a house I will not stand for it to be grey or beige or white. The door pictured above totally reminded me of the matrix. and so did the sand the day before. When we were walking back it was like crunching under our feet in a sound so unlike sand. It was like squeeky almost and then is when I had suspicions that machines messed up big time in simulating the sound of sand. Any Matrix fans out there? I hope so, but if not, I guess I'm pretty used to the blank stares since I was always around one of my ONLY friends who hasn't seen the Matrix when all of these events occured. :(

Moving on, then we decided to have eat before leaving, we were leaving that evening, so we decided to go back to that lanchonete where we had had lunch since it had been a pretty good experience.

So it had been a rather funny day, I can't explain but everyone was in a funky mood, not bad but just weird. And I had lost a 2 L water bottle so I bought another one to eat my lunch with. We all sat down at the same table and wanted to wash our hands so we asked for the key. The yellow door in the picture below there in the back is the door to the bathroom and it had a lock on it. A few of my friends and I washed our hands and came back, and one friend had to use the restroom. And we're all talking over at the table and in the meantime the waiter had locked my friend in the bathroom and realized a few minutes later when she saw that one wasn't at the table with us, and she ran to unlock the bathroom and opened the door, and luckily my friend wasn't caught with her pants down though! She was just kind of wondering what happened. So then I ordered the same thing I had earlier, another ordered the something similar, like a sandwich with added tomatoes, another friend ordered the "Big Egg" --it was literally called The Big Egg, in English and everything. and I don't think it had egg in it. But it had two meat patties and my friend just asked the waiter if she could just put in one patty. Waiter "sure, I can have them put some corn in it if you want to replace the extra meat patty" So my friend was like "sure, that sounds good"
About 10 minutes later, the manager comes and tries to double-check our order in a very assertive way. So I told him what I ordered and he's like "but that sandwich doesn't have tomatoes and lettuce"
Me: "I know would like to add that stuff like it says in the menu"
Him: "But, then, that's a different sandwich, because yours has..."
Me: "Well I will pay for the added tomatoes and lettuce, I know it's not the original sandwich.."
And the he just kept talking over me and not listening and I told him I had just ordered that earlier that day.
And then I think he finally understood, and I'm sure it was not a language issue, this was just a really hard manager, because I was being pretty clear I think, and for sure my friend who is fluent in portuguese, she is Portuguese and has a Brazilian partner, but even she was getting the same reaction from the guy.
And all she wanted was to just not have the extra patty And he'd be like "oh so you want this sandwich" "or this sandwich", and mention some other food on the menu but those would be very different and she explained that she didn't mean to pay less just because she didn't want the patty. But finally I think we got him to understand. Which is really weird because the waiter had understood it quite easily. When he left my vegetarian friend was like "That's why I just like to keep it simple". She ordered a pasta.

Later we finally got our food. Two of us got what we ordered. My Big Egg friend kept finding surprises in her hamburger. They had said they'd put corn in it but there was like extra cheese instead, and bacon fat! oh I can't help but laugh about that. She'd just bite in and get bacon fat.
Then lastly the past came....with MEAT SAUCE all over it!
As soon as it reached the table we were all like "oohh...:(" after all of that, it was such a contaminated structure of a story. So my vegetarian friend retracted her "that's why I like to keep it simple" and said that that's why she should always make sure--especially her becuase she is a vegetarian. We all helped her eat and pay for it because we just felt so bad, and really it must suck. She went to a nearby little market and bought some yogurt and crackers. it was sooo sad.
But then we kept having trouble later, we asked for some napkins like 5 times but the waiter kept forgetting and it was still all kind of funny just weird stuff happening.
like I didn't see when the waiter took some of our garbage really quickly and among that was the bottle cap to my 80% filled 2 liter water bottle. and there was no way I could drink all of that right then and there, and i'm not going to be traveling with a huge open bottle, so I asked if it by chance was still around and she came back with a coke bottle cap and...well I was desperate I just used it, whatever, it does the trick. see a flexible germophobe is not that bad. But that one little bottle cap made all the water taste like CocaCola.

Then just as that had happened this guy comes floating up to our table, holding a wooden structure with smoke coming out of a hole.
This guy (pictured below) was really nice, he was practicing his English with us. And asking us how we were etc in a VERY relaxed kind of way. And he's like "so my friends, you like the Lord of the Rings, yes? Because...this is Gandalf?
And for reasons I can't explain in words, I burst out into laughter. And following me, my friend. Then he's like
"oh but look", and smoke starts coming out of Gandalfs mouth "o" and he lifted the Gandalf up over the wooden little platform and voila a stick of incense.
And again for some reason it exponentially increased the humor to me and my friend, and the other two were just laughing at our laughing.
My friend:
"How much does it cost?"
-"R$30, but if you really like, I'll make it R$25"
that only brought more laughter, to me because it just contradicted what i've learned about supply and demand and imagined the future conversations of "so I'll make you dislike it and then I can raise the price"
And then we just started speaking portuguese, and my friend was saying it was
"it's too much for me" and it was kind of interpreted by me as the gandalf with smoke is too much for me, but she meant it's too expensive for me.
And out of a need to explain why we were laughing so that he wouldn't be offended and so that he knew we were not laughing at him or thought that he and his product was a joke, but my friend didn't know how to put it into words in portuguese. but she said something like "I'm sorry we're just not in the right frame of mind" and just guessing by his reactions of "Ohhhh, I see"
he probably thought we were all just super high.
But she was trying to say something to the effect that we had all just been through quite a lot and were laughing because of that state of mind.

Man it was such a weird last hours there. We kept joking around that exu got mad that we ate at the Ogum restaurant. Exu is anothe orixa who is known as the trickster and mades things go askew much like they did here. We could definitely feel his presence.

Gandalf guy.
Oh my friend regretted not buying it later. she was actually considering it because her older sister is a huge Lord of the Rings fan, and also loves incense. But we could not find the Gandalf guy at all later. :(
This is on the bus ride home. We were getting anxious though waiting for it because it was much later than we had expected and we thought we were going to have to go home in one of the vans that came by. It's a cheaper option by far, but they do pack people in those vans and sometimes you're not sitting, so just things to consider, oh and they drive those vans really really fast.

And that is the end to our praia do forte experience.

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