19.12.2006 - 19.12.2006 29 °C
Since I started my trip in Brazil, many people have asked me if it isn't lonely, travelling on my own. I won't deny that sometimes it is (see Crabby Crabs, a previous entry) but other times it is exactly the opposite: you meet and get to know people faster than you think is possible.
I am writing this from Maceió, but my head is still about 600 kilometres south, in Salvador, where I spent over a week in the company of three fantastic people, all couchsurfers: Ksenia, from Russia, Mikael, from Sweden, and our host Nilton, from Salvador.
The Fabulous Foursome
Sometimes, by pure fluke, travel throws people together in what Mikael calls a 'bubble', a space and time in which friendships are formed faster than you think is possible, and where you feel induced to tell your entire life story, including things you would not even dream of telling your best friends, to a complete stranger - all over the course of a bus journey across town.
The best example I can give of the 'bubble' phenomenon is Alex Garland's book 'The Beach' (which was also made into a pretty mediocre film starring Leonardo DiCaprio.) Except for that our 'bubble' happened in a poor neighbourhood in Salvador, without a beach in sight.
What it reminded me of most was some weeks spent at Mary's Hostel in Gleann Cholm Cille in the early 1990s when I was learning Irish.
But all bubbles must burst. These periods of enlightened, sped-up reality don't last forever. Sunday night, I blew out of Salvador on a driving refrigerator (a Brazilian bus, more about Brazilian buses soon!) Tonight, Tuesday, Mikael is flying out of Salvador on his long trek home to Gothenburg. Before the end of the week, Ksenia will be in Belo Horizonte to spend Christmas with a friend there. Nilton and his family will have their house to themselves again.
The ads for Aero bars (or Bros bars in Holland!) are right: the bubbles taste better than the chocolate.