Monday, November 24, 2008
A Life Already In Session
In Brazilian Portuguese, they have an expression "a onda", which roughly means, "jumping on a wave." This is how we felt on our first day returning to Salvador, Bahia. After being away for almost a year, busy with our lives in the U.S., the warm local breezes greeted us, as we were swept up into a life that was "already in session" for us. Traveling with our friend from Los Angeles, Carl Reece, who manages a legal search firm, we arrived late, the night before - however, guests arrived early at our apartment the next day.
Joe and my, first guest was our apartment manager, Alain Zamrini, who rapidly reviewed our current situation in regards to needs and necessities for the space. His fun yet "business only" attitude is always welcomed, in a partnership of such lengthy dependency. We were next regaled with insights of property acquisitions from our neighbor and real estate extrapolator, Burt, who provided a clear plan for successfully negotiating the Brazilian legal maze, that would lead to his retiring off of multiple property purchases in Salvador. A dream easily fulfilled with wit, resources and a stomach for shifting currency valuations.
The highlight of the day was the appearance of the elegant, wise and humorous, Carson Philips, our dear friend, whom we were fortunate enough to celebrate his birthday with, that day. His elegance in word and motion enfolded us in the luxury of living life in this temperate climate's sensational goodies. His infectious personality has many here gravitating to him, including the brilliant young doctoral student from Columbia University, Paulo Sergio, who is working on his dissertation about the changes in the racial progress in Brazil. Of course, the conversation was made most lively when the intersections of progress in Brazil and in the U.S. were compared. Joe, as you may know, is always quick with perceptions and insights from his extensive experience on the subjects. As usual, humor was the best means to delve into the depths of so serious a discourse, so laughter was a constant refrain.
Of course, no luncheon would be complete without a stroll to the beach, where we were met with sights galore. One may think that the beach is a place for solitude and rest, but not at Porto da Barra. It is a virtual cacophony of voices, bells, whistles, music, yells and whispers that could assault one's senses, were it not for the ravishing visuals that accompany them. A parade of some of the most stunning people you can imagine pass in front of the luscious landscape, in a harmony of beauty that can literally take your breath away. Served capirinhas, while seated under umbrellas, provided for us, we surveyed the visuals with repeated praise and discernment. It was the type of distraction that melts away the concerns of Wall Street and the auto industry in a flicker.
We later resolved to have a birthday dinner at one of Salvador's finest restaurants, Lafayette, pronounced [la'phi'yet'chee]by the Brazilians, perched over the water on the edge of "Cidade Abaixo" (Lower City). Joined by Harold Jones, recent owner of a stunning penthouse here, we feasted on seafood that was flavored in a way that only the Bahians can do. Carson was in rare form as the guest of honor and made it an enjoyable evening for all.
We look forward to the unfolding "a onda" that flows in our direction this week.