Salvador Is Sultry

Salvador is sultry.

The air is heavy with the sweat of the city.

I am in the stream of consciousness.

I sit on the toilet — yes, picking my nose — and ponder the scruffy grey tiles on the wall and floors. I let the cachaça (Brazilian rum) settle into me so I can relax and eventually sleep.

Earlier we sat at an outdoor table at the cafe, our plastic chairs creaking as we shifted our weight to watch what was going on. Teenage prostitutes flock uneasily around the man whose wrinkles betray his desire. His throat throbbing under long black hair, the guitarist strums and sings bossa nova over the chatter and occasional singing, murmurs, or claps of appreciation from the crowd. Those paying for drinks sit at tables and the others stand attentively on the cobblestones.

Back in the Arthemis Hotel, green mosquito net curtains hang wafting in the wind on a long wooden pole that droops with its weight in the center, though supported by a yellow wire would around a nail in the concrete wall above the white ceramic blocks with round and oval holes that never shut to block the breeze but protect the room anyway from all but the fiercest storm.

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