From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Sun Dec 2, 2001 4:10pm
Subject: Amigos(as) para sempre!
Hey! Okay, here we go again compadres, but before I begin; the rumors (as they say) of my death are highly exaggerated. Overpriced Internet is a problem in this part of the world, so I’m not going to do this too often – I am doing just fine, and in the same process getting very tanned, in a paradise like place of which name and directions I will reveal further down in this newsletter, so hang on for it. First another short story:
“Oba! Look at that one!” Sergio yelled out as suddenly as he hit the brakes. He grabbed the gun which he always keeps in the compartment in the door, got out of the car, and fired a quick three shot sequence at a black and white lizard which was sunbathing on the road about ten meters up ahead. The big lizard was in luck, Sergio wasted six Reals worth of high powered led by bulls-eyeing hot tarmac, probably on account of us just stopping by for a couple of beers at a roadside bar a few minutes earlier. A very disappointed Celso uttered a “muito gostoso!” from the back seat, as the animal vanished into the shrubbery. Those one meter long things were apparently very tasty, I couldn’t care less really – and was quite happy not getting a blood dripping dead lizard thrown into my lap, which was the scenario playing in my mind at the time. It’s perfectly possible that Sergio added some swearing words into the conversation as he got back in the car again, but as my Portuguese is still very limited that prevents me from relaying those to you guys in English. We were running late to a family gathering and barbecue by a dam somewhere on Sergio’s farm. When we got to the creek, the fire was burning, and the first chunks of meat had already been placed on the grill. There were LOTS of meat (even minus that lizard), I’m sure the nearby grazing cows was missing a dear friend. The nature at this spot was absolutely breathtaking, and sunset was coming up – it was pure magic! Nice weather, best of friends, cold beers in the icebox, kids in and out of the pool, loud distorted samba from one of the cars, and Cachaca sugar cane spirit for those who wanted to challenge their stomachs. Perfection fueled by compassion and love – the very essence of life. A single word: Felicidade!
Since last time I’ve ventured further up the Bahian coastline, and discovered a tiny isolated fisherman’s village called Siribinha, located in the red neck country north of Salvador. I am the only tourist around here now in the low season, and I’ve become somewhat of a town sensation. I just love it, the people are so friendly and nice here. I made an OK deal with my guesthouse (Pousada) hosts Celso and Irene; I’m paying 350 Reals (140 USD) for a months stay, including two meals per day with limited drinks. Their two boys Junior (12) and Gustavo (8) are helping me with the language, if they’re not busy with school, or running around in the village or on the fantastic beach. Junior also of course have to help in the beach restaurant when it gets too busy on weekends. Other than swimming, fishing, surfing, or plain socializing there’s not much else to do around here, so I recommend bringing some books to read if you’re ever headed this way. Here’s a tip: Time Magazine is not recommended reading material in case you should contract a stomach thing and run out of toilet paper, which I did a few weeks ago. 80 gram glossy sheets of Afghan war hurts after a while, so go for paperbacks or other lighter (softer) reading. Pedrinho’s Bar is perfect for jam sessions at night, the bar is only open when Pedrino is drinking. The kids especially love it and are the first in joining in, and the drunken fishermen know all the songs. Once every two weeks or so there’s Bingo night under the tree outside Roberto’s Rio-Mar Restaurant. Roberto shakes the mineral water bottle containing the numbers, and tells you where to poke a hole in your sheets. Everybody else lets you know whichever number they’d like to hear next. Like any other event in Brazil, this one is loud. A nice one-day excursion is going for a swim at Cavalo Russo, a beautiful creek. It’s really nice there – but be warned; my friend Lajusso tells me he goes there to fish for Piranhas.
How to get here: Grab a bus from Salvador or Aracaju to Sitio do Conde, approx. three hours ride from either side. You’ll know you’re nearly there when you’re the only passenger still on the bus. Then in Sitio get on the bus to Barra da Siribinha, runs three times on school days (school bus) and once on Saturdays (market bus). Expect having to help it getting there, the bus sometimes gets stuck in the sand. Get off when the poor machine is about to have a breakdown. Pick any Pousada, they’re all very nice. Tourist season is from Christmas until after the Carnival in February, I’m told prices are tripled then.
Get over here if you can! I’ll meet you! And Merry Christmas, if I’ll not write you again before that!!
From: Lasse Hermansen
Date: Sat Nov 24, 2001 5:26pm
Subject: Has anyone heard from Tommy?
This is his little brother writing. We havent heard from him since 6. November and everyone here at home is getting more and more worried by the day. Please if you hear anything let us know. Please email me at [deleted].