s a l v a d o r

[ 17:20 saturday 31 december – placa da se, salvador da bahia, brazil ]

the late afternoon sun casts angular shadows across the corner of the seventh-floor roof terrace where i sit. to my right the crumbling pastel-coloured baroque of the old pelourinho quarter spreads out around its piazzas, towers and steep cobbled streets. below me the derelict nineteenth-century palaces of the “low town” back the constant toing-and-froing of fishing boats and freighters around the port. to my left the baia de todos santos stretches right to the horizon. a hundred rhythms and cries rise intertwined from the streets below. the steady easterly breeze carries the salty scent of the atlantic. the cathedral marks the half hour with its elaborate chime.

this evening there’s a party for the whole city on the shore at barra, a couple of miles to the south. sergio and i will be there. as midnight arrives hour by hour in different time zones i’ll be thinking of my friends around the world.

the horn of an incoming container ship echoes across the city as the evening’s first fireworks crackle into the sky.

: c :

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