Friday, August 22, 2008

Temples, Sunsets and Dorado Grelhado

Friday, na sexta Feira 22-August

Driving away from Venceslaus Park, we learned that the fame had become so great that jealousies brewed over the waters and the town had sued Venceslaus. Deciding to leave his sanctuary rather than create enmity, he died within days of his retreat from his forest home. Augusto also told us that the mineral springs of Itaparica had once been the center of a Spa. The spring was the only natural coastal mineral water source in the entire country. People had come for the cures. Today, townspeople gathered this pure water for drinking and cooking.It is the water we use at Sacatar.
We decided to break for lunch, hitting another "Por Peso" buffet restaurant. The owner, as everyone else we met that day quickly embraced Augusto, kissing his cheeks and smiling with joy upon seeing him. She told us if we had time to wait they had just received some Dorado and could grill some for us. The buffet was decent, as usual the beans were perfectly cooked, the vegetables still had a bite to them and manioc was in abundance. The grilled fish was superlative. Her pepper sauce tinged with ginger had just the fire and acidity to set off the richness of the fish.

The restaurant was near the Lancha dock in Mar Grande, the eastern tip of the island. The ferry boat also docked nearby in a neighboring town. Around the corner from the restaurant was Nova Terra a fifteen year exchange program with Italy. Italian citizens sponsored Brazilian children in Salvador and Itaparica from birth through all of the supplemental schooling and vocational training the children were willing to participate in. Often the sponsors would travel to meet their charges. Otherwise the children were instructed to write to their benefactors informing of their successes and giving thanks. They had raised enough money to build a brand new three story facility. Most children came two to three days per week, receiving instruction in history and cultural including Capoeira and Samba, Computer skills, Beautician training, Math, Italian, Portuguese, Construction and soon a new Art curriculum.

_________the political candidate greeted us a the door, and ushered us into a small gymnasium. We were given small portions of chocolate caramel mousse before the children, aged eight to fourteen began to demonstrate their talents in Samba and Capoeira. Slowly they pulled us onto the floor to join them, mimicking their moves. We laughed, dancing, sparring and parrying with a variety of quite proficient young boys and girls. We toured the facility learning about all of the programs that were extant. Rahul and I laughed as we saw several pre-adolescent girls cluster, giggle and blush at us.

We continued on stopping briefly at the Sociedade Brasileira de Eubiose Spiritual Center on a hillside. Their temple consisted of three large Isoceles triangular buildings, one larger than the other two. This faith believed in the age of Aquarius, Harmonic Convergence among other things. The site had been chosen based on the planetary energy it contained. Later, after driving for thirty minutes or more, through several small villages, past some houses constructed with Indian building methods and over beautiful landscape, we arrived in a forest clearing that contained a massive three story ruin. This was the site of the first Catholic Mission, built in 1551. It mirrored the story of the film of the same name. The Portuguese Jesuits had wanted to build far from the early colonial settlements and their corrupting influences, in their quest to bring God to the Indigenous population. There had been a great central hall with a room at the back and two narrow rectangular rooms on either side of the hall. We all took pictures, and Rahul planted half a dozen candles in the dirt at the center of the former great hall. He lit them and made a quiet incantation in Bangla before we left.

The driver drove fast and furiously, overtaking donkeys laden with produce and building materials, scooters and speeding island taxis. I commented that a violet and salmon sunset was beginning to show brilliantly ahead of us. Augusto shook his head and said that is the problem. We are supposed to be at the western edge of the island to see it. We arrived at the bridge to _______________in time for the afterglow. A few fisherman were busy at work below the bridge as trucks and cars hauled across the span twenty and thirty miles over the local speed limit. The day had been varied and rich. We had gotten a wonderful taste of this temporary home and a better sense of the loving nature of Augusto our right arm at Sacatar.

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