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  • Marilyn Saltzman

New friends, part 2

One of the most rewarding parts of traveling are the people we meet. Just a few in Brazil:

Aldi, the proprietor of  a small snack shack near our Airbnb. Aldi’s place became a daily stop after we discovered his delicious homemade empanadas, filled with frago (chicken), camarao (shrimp) or carne (meat). Aldi spoke Português, Spanish and a bit of English. He got a big kick out of Selam and Dian when they asked for more and more hot sauce dripped from a straw on the fried treats. Every time we visited, he’d hand the kids an apple, banana or mango in addition to the food we bought. One day he pulled out his collection of foreign money to proudly show us. We returned later to add an American dollar to his collection, and his grin lit up the shack.

Carol and Fernando, San Paolo newlyweds who we met on the tour boat in Naronha. “My wife wants to know where you are from,” Fernando said in excellent English. She was so excited to meet some Americans on her honeymoon that we shared photos of home on our phones, and she asked dozens of questions through her new husband. When we disembarked, she wanted a photo, above.

Hartmut, the German owner of a lovely sailboat who took us to Neves beach on the island of Mare,  where we could walk hundreds of yards into the bathtub-temperature ocean. Hartmut let Selam and Dian help raise the sail and steer the ship. After two years in Brazil, he’s headed back to Germany with his family,  so his daughter can be educated there.

Aviona, Oliver and Rene, our fellow sailors. Oliver and Rene, a gay couple from Switzerland, let out their inner child, participating in seaweed toss with Selam on the beach. I have avoided talking politics in this blog, but I want to mention that Oliver was one of several who asked how I felt about Trump. I was honest about my distaste,  and Oliver replied, “We figured that since you are well traveled and care to know about other cultures.” Interesting international perspective.

Aviona is a beautiful, adventurous South African lawyer, raised in North Carolina, who immediately bonded with Selam. She said Selam reminded her of her younger self. Both Geminis, they had similar energy and zest for life. Aviona came to our Airbnb to have dinner with us that night, and Selam asked to be a bridesmaid at Aviona’s wedding though she’s not yet engaged. Aviona agreed. A trip to South Africa in our future?

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