From the Soul of Brazil

8/6/04

Dear Kathryn,

I am in Salvador!

Looking forward to seeing you. Be prepared to have your senses jangled in every sense of the word – mostly good and always amazing.

(Link to Photos!)

Our house is amazing. We are giving up the predictable security and quiet of a hotel for character, and HOW. Our house in the historical district of Salvador is owned by an American from Hollywood. He traded in a life of consumerism for the primal life of Salvador, beginning four years ago. He bought the house for $30,000 and is getting offers now for $300,000. It is 400 years old, beautiful…Brazilian red wood gleaming on the floors and on the soaring ceilings. Three floors, large terrace with astounding view of The Bay of Saints.

[My house] Most important for you to bring: comfortable walking shoes – tennis shoes, or sandals, because the streeets are paved in hundreds year old stones and they are hilly and steep and you´ll want to check out everything around you, not watch your feet. The other important thing for you to bring is earplugs. For me too! if you can find them. Our house is right in the thick of the old colonial part of the city. People are up until the crack of dawn and the sound of laughter, talking, music, singing, drumming, ….bounces off the stone streets and facades of the buildings into our house. …I haven’t met our landlord yet because he´s in Rio, but his Brazilian wife and I went out to eat last night to a famous restaurant called DADA. Hillary Clinton´s photo is on the all with the Bahian owner… I will see you when you arrive tomorrow.

Dear Holly,
Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2004
You say there is a cottage for sale in San Francisco. I don’t know… I´m getting an entirely different perspective in Brazil…$700,000 for a small place in San Francisco when I can buy an entire resort in Brazil for $200,000?…

Hi Bradley
Aug. 9

Wow! I am free again and How. In Saladore, Brazil – a magical place. I’ll be back in the Bay Sept. 2…looking forward to seeing you again. I looked at some property today…A resort with treehouses on a lake about 2 miles from the beach, with 8 treehouses, restaurant, bar, dock…. Jack Nicholson and Keith Richards have stayed there to name only a few. Asking price? $200,000. And I’ve been told I can probably buy it for $100,000. Back to you tomorrow.

Aug.10
Hi Linds,

I love Salvador…an incredible city with cobblestoned streets beautiful old buildings, huge African influence, drumming and dancing freely in the streets. I return to San Francisco on Sept 1…. I’ve been looking at property in hopes of finding a town I can call home, and maybe even a house or a resort to buy. I have found a resort with restaurants, bars, main house and treehouses for sale for $200,000 (but I heard they’ll take way less.) Just looking….won’t do anything right away…

I am returning home on Sept. 2.

To All of You,
Aug.11, 2004

I am surrounded by ancient buildings and new friends.

My sunshine has returned – after a month of cold buildings, sensory deprivation, I am in the heart and soul of Brazil. In Salvador where the sun usually shines and where there is always cause for celebration.

I am writing, photographing, arranging workshops, making contacts, looking at property, and just enjoying this beautiful city of crumbling pastel buildings, sidewalk cafes, old churches (one for every day of the year), live music, spontaneous dancing, warm beaches, a live-and-let-live attitude. Salvador is hypnotic, spiritual and mystical.

Brazilians sing. All of the time. They seem to know, as a nation, the lyrics to every Brazilian song. The dentist sang through his mask while filling my tooth. The man at the computer next to me is singing now. The boys in the internet cafe playing computer games last week, stopped their whooping and suddenly began to sing sweetly in unison to a Brazilian song on the radio.I went to a live concert last weekend, and the audience sang every word along with the performer.

Brazilians love to give, to help with no thought of receiving anything in return. I have been the recipient of Brazilian random acts of kindness so many times, I am no longer surprised.

I have been to one beach near Salvador- Praia do Forte, but mostly I have stuck to the high, old part of the city. Will begin exploring the coastline next week north and south of Salvador. I am leaving now to meet a writer from the Washington Post…. And later, to watch Lourdes (one of my new Brazilian friends) do cappoeira.

And so, is Salvador the home which I seek? This I don’t know yet. As for anyone looking for the next best place, Salvador is in my opinion, at the tipping point … within five years I predict it will be one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world.

More later this week.

Ciou,
Robin

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