I remember the feeling I had when I just arrived in Salvador: my suitcase wheels were making that loud (travel) noise as I was trying to find my way to my hostel using highly uneven – and at times non-existent – sidewalks, all sweating elbowing my way down through what was supposed to be the coolest area of the city (some confusion with my map didn’t add any joy to that evening, needless to say). In addition to that, I woke up all tired, and a thought that had never before crossed my mind did cross it now: Where the hell did I choose to relocate to?
All sleepy and looking rather bad, I walked into the main hostel area and saw it was extremely sunny outside. “OK, things are literally looking bright today…” I thought and noticed my mood improve slightly. And then, a seemingly insignificant but magical thing happened: among other breakfast treats, there were two jars of freshly made smoothies, I remember: mango and papaya. Papaya, which I hadn’t had since my time in Asia. “Freshly made papaya smoothie, holy shit – what is this incredible breakfast?!” I thought to myself with a child-like delight. And suddenly, due to the most superficial reasons one can think of, my mood changed, and I had a different thought, a thought that had crossed my mind many times before: that things will be alright here.
So, Festival Internacional de Artistas de Rua (International Street Art Festival) was my papaya smoothie here this year.
What is this festival and how did I get involved in it?
Basically, it’s a relatively small but absolutely awesome festival that happened here, in Salvador, that brought together street performers from five continents. Music, acrobatics, improvisation, illusions and other cool stuff was shown to people of Salvador for three days for free at the very heart of the city. And I was helping out with it coz a friend of mine met one of the organisers by chance and then suggested I apply to be a part of the team.
It was a team of energetic, fun, and simply lovely people who you didn’t need to ask if they liked what they were doing. In other words, these are the kind of people you definitely want to meet in your life. And, as importantly, the artists themselves all happen to belong to the same category!
During this short but intense weekend I got to meet two incredibly nice and talented guys from Germany (Tanga Elektra – what a discovery it has been!), a sweet man from Mongolia who does traditional Tuvan throat singing, a cool Lindy Hop teacher from Switzerland who happened to know a Lithuanian Lindy Hop band that my classmate is in (wait, whaaaaat?), an illusionist who, within seconds, managed to put my cell phone into an inflated balloon (????), a lovely street performer from the States who would make me laugh with his each show, and a bunch of other truly wonderful people who all deserve a big THANK YOU and a GREAT JOB for such a memorable weekend. Jamming all together in the van on the way to our “headquarters” and then, at the end of each day, jamming together right by our main lighthouse here, the whole festival team has brought so much joy for everyone willing to take it in.
So, why was this weekend my papaya smoothie of this year in Brazil? I think it’s a truly amazing feeling: to feel like travelling without actually leaving your place. And to see that that place can be pretty damn nice, if only experienced with the right people.