I guess I have to admit that my normally sharpened travel senses were getting a little dulled. Since I arrived in Rio de Janeiro I had been lulled into the ease of depending on my Portuguese – speaking, Brazilian, half brother, Fernando, to do all the talking and logistics for the both of us, allowing me to space out and forget that I too had responsibilities.
After a week in Rio getting acquainted with my paternal family my brother decided to accompany me to the organic cacao farm/ permaculture project in the state of Bahia that I would be working on for the next three weeks. The farm, Fazenda Abracadabra, is an hour walk from the nearest town. On that walk I commented to Fernando about the extra weight of carrying my fiddle strapped to my backpack and how some times I questioned whether it was worth lugging around all the time.
We arrived at the farm in time for lunch, coffee and afternoon socializing.
After several hours it seemed an appropriate time to introduce everyone to my fiddle, except that my fiddle was not strapped to its customary place on my pack. I had left it on the bus along with my journal.
I was bummed but trying to stay calm.
I was trying to figure out what to do while simultaneously realizing that I had paid so little attention that I didn´t even know where the bus was headed.
I still had my ticket with the bus company´s telephone number and my brother had a cell phone so we tried to climb up the nearest hill to see if we could get his phone to work. no luck. We returned to the fazenda then finally walked an hour back into town to try to use the lone pay phone.
On the walk I had to come to terms with the idea that my fiddle was gone forever. And my journal as well. I had heard so many Brazil crime horror stories that I couldn´t imagine that there would be a lost and found somewhere containing my lonely fiddle. It was gone and I would just have to deal with it. I was trying to be as calm as possible and not freak out. Ironically just before boarding that bus I had emailed a friend, whose fiddle I loved, to tell her that her fiddle had inspired me to start searching for a better fiddle of my own. I had no idea how soon that search might begin.
We arrived in the dirt road town of Agua Fria where we hatched a plan to call Fernando´s mother for telephone calling assistance since we were limited by a crappy pay phone and a dying phone card. The moment she answered the phone I saw a bus rounding the corner into town. I frantically ran into the road flagging down the bus. It was the same bus we been on but this time going the opposite direction. The bus came to a stop and the driver held up my fiddle and journal; six hours after I had left them on the bus. If we had arrived minutes later we would have missed that bus.
Absolutely amazing. I guess my fiddle wants me. and my journal too.
But the pendulum did not stop swinging there. Only a week later, due to one misstep, I fell into the river with my brand new mp3 player in my pocket. I tried to shake out as much water as I could but the thing seemed toast. Two days later I tried to play my fiddle but the back started peeling open in the intense heat and humidity of Brazil.
Luckily after two weeks of drying out my mp3 player came back to life. My fiddle on the other hand would sit idle collecting tropical molds for two months while I searched out a luthier to glue it back together. There are not many violin shops in Brazil. Perhaps the weather has something to do with it.
Up next: Argentina and Chile