It's been a while since I posted anything new on the blog, but I have been busy making new friends in Salvador.
I later killed this crab. Vegetarians: you are advised to stop reading now.
In Olivença, near Ilhéus in the south of Bahia where I stayed for a couple of days last week, it got so quiet (I was the only person staying in the youth hostel) that one day I had a conversation with a small yellow crab on the beach. I think the crab was afraid of me and was trying to be polite while I was talking to it. It only went away after I told it I was finished talking.
In Salvador, there is no need to talk to crabs, because I made a load of new friends through www.couchsurfing.com. Nilton Reis, a 24 year old couchsurfer from Salvador, started inviting couchsurfers to stay with him and his family last year so that he could practice his English, and in turn he is very good at teaching Portuguese. Perfect!
Nilton is also a very good teacher for killing crabs.
Tancredo Neves, the neighbourhood in which Nilton lives, is not one of the richer neighbourhoods in Salvador. He lives with his parents, his brother and his brother's wife and their baby, a dog and a puppy, but this week, there was still space for three (3!) couchsurfers, myself and a girl from Russia and a boy from Sweden. When we counted the languages that could be spoken fluently in Nilton's bedroom (which was just big enough for four matrasses on the floor) we came to a whopping 9: Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Dutch, English, Irish, Spanish, Esperanto, and Farsi.
But back to the crabs. Like I said, in Salvador, there was no need to talk to crabs (in any of the nine languages mentioned above.) Instead, we ate them. We bought two strings with ten crabs each for 14 reais (that is less than 5 euro.) They arrived at the door in a wheelbarrow with the mud from the mangrove in which they were caught still on them. They were also still alive, and trying to crawl out of the sink the whole time, where they had to be cleaned.
Some people boil the crabs alive, but Nilton's mother prefers to stab them first with a knife. Of course, I had to kill and clean one as well. This took a long time, obviously because I had never done it before, but also because the crabs are quite dangerous - they have large claws! In the end, I succeeded, killed the crab with a knife, and then cleaned it with a pink toothbrush.
One of the crabs wasn't killed properly though (not mine!!!) Just after Nilton and me sat down on the couch to relax, we heard a scream from the kitchen: an un-dead crab had crawled out of the enormous pot on the stove (which was already filled with onions, coriander, dendê oil and coconut milk) and bit Nilton's mother's finger.
A final note on carangueijo crabs: it takes just as long to eat them as it takes to kill and clean them.