... Carnaval commenced on the next day.
Olinda, seemingly a quiet town, turned "Maluco Beleza" (crazy and beautiful), the theme for this yearīs Carnaval.
I met up with Sula. She wore a fantasia, or Carnaval costume, dressed as a tiger, in skimpy, white, striped clothes and black boots. All I could say was, "Rrrrrrrrrowww!"
The heart of Olinda, about one square mile, was jam-packed with Brazilians. Streets barely capable of holding two cars crammed in a dozen people side-to-side, with no gap in the crowd in sight. Many people wore fantasias, coming doctors, witches, fairies, Fred Flintstones, or watermelons. The costumes were accurate, provided that all of these characters and occupations were able to carry out their duties with no more than two square feet of clothing.
There were tons of hot girls of all skin-complexions, and the place was a hook-up-fest for young people. Sometimes, it took no more than an "Oi" for guys and girls to start making out. A very common trend, known only to me as a "kiss-rape," occurred when a vulnerable girl walked by a guy (especially late in the night, after a few more cervejas, or beers). The guy would grab whatever he could of the girls - arm, clothes, hair - and try to stick his tongue down her throat. Whether the girl liked the kiss or not, a kiss-rape was always, oddly enough, followed by laughter.
I wasnīt a kiss-rapist, although once, as I was walking along, holding Sulaīs hand, I was suddenly pulled away. My hands were clasped by a smiling, gay Afro-Brazilian who pulled me down the road, yelling, "Beije-me! Beije-me!" (Kiss me!) As always, in these situations, horror shot through my body. I started panicking, and I squirmed and wiggled and was only able to maintain my composure enough to avoid falling to the ground and crying.
When I wrested free, I returned to Sula and quickly checked my Portuguese-English dictionary. "Protege-me!" (Protect me!) We laughed, and, more importantly, I scored a few points with my "Dumb Foreigner" routine.
Night became late morning, and we returned to the beach again. Sula sang a song about uma beija na praia (a kiss on the beach), and my head rested in her lap.
I looked to the stars. "Diga-me uma historia," I said. (Tell me a story.)
She told me about a girl named Sula who used to be sad about her cheating boyfriend but now was happy.
Then came my turn. I aimed to tell a funny story, so I told her of the time I borrowed an old bicycle, visited a swimming hole, lost my swimming trunks, and had to ride a broken bike for an hour without any pants. (Iīm proud to say "The Dalwood Falls Story" has now been translated into three languages!)
It was a courageous undertaking on my part. I doubt such a complex story had ever been attempted using a more tortured use of linguistics. I mangled word after word and somehow even managed to employ Italian words in my story, though I donīt speak any Italian. But, using animated actions when necessary, I suffered through it. I succeeded in getting a few laughs, tons of "Cute Accent" points, and, due to the light yellow sunrise we watched, enough "Romance" bonus points to clinch my kiss. And, with all due respect to the gay guy, Sulaīs small mouth was the one Iīd most enjoy meeting in all of Olinda.
Your average Joe may need a "Date of the Week" program to get a kiss, but not me! Ha, ha.
As the next few days of Carnaval passed, Sula turned into my enamorada (girlfriend) - my first girlfriend in years. Although I was happy to have her, it was difficult to swallow the realization that the only time I can attract a girl is when she doesnīt understand what Iīm saying. It doesnīt say a lot for my charm.
With Sula, I spent the next few nights walking, dancing, and shooting water-guns, the three elements of Carnaval in Olinda.
Her friends joined us, and we combined to form a formidable group in watergun warfare. Open season had been declared on the town streets, and Sula made the fights more exciting by taunting the people she squirted. "Olhou demais!" she said (You looked at me too long), or "Beixa, monstre! Morre!" (Beast, monster! Die!) for anyone in a scary costume. After we got the best of people, sheīd brag, "Dominado, dominado!" (We dominated!)
Carnaval also allowed people to be kids when it came to dancing. One type of dance-music, "Funky," required everyone to do hammering, clapping, clawing, and butt-shaking motions as the song instructed. The most fun occurred when a good dancer, normally a bright-faced, caramel-skinned, dance-teaching friend of ours, led a large following in sequential moves. He mightīve turned in a circle, kicked his knees high, begun the macarena, or shook his shoulders quickly, for example. Everyone tried to keep up with him and to add his own quirks to the moves, and, for as long as it went on, it gave the feeling of starring in a music video.
As Carnaval and my relationship with Sula progressed, though, they both began steady declines. Carnaval was tiring becasue only Brazilīs four most popular songs seemed to ever play, over and over again. Iīd heard the gravelly harping of "Quer danįar! Quer danįar!" no less than fifty times.
Sula frustrated me a bit because she never showed up when she said she would. She missed our rendezvous times by longer and longer and longer each time. It was one thing to have a girlfriend who couldnīt understand me, but it was beginning to seem I had a girlfriend who didnīt even like me.
The lady Iīve been staying with assured me last night, two hours after Sula was meant to visit me, that no Brazilian women are punctual and that it shouldnīt bother me.
However, itīs the following afternoon now, and she still hasnīt shown up. Thatīs a little bothering.
So, sadly, it looks like Sula and I are on the outs.
But, as the saying goes, I believe: īTis better to have had an enamorada who didnīt really like you, then to never have had an enamorada at all.
And, having said that, I believe Iīll go now to take take advantage of the rare opportunity to kiss-rape a dark-complected, licorice dancing girl in a tight, cave-woman bikini.
Er, wait a minute. Carnaval ended last night. Alas, Iīve missed my chance.
Ratos! (Thatīs Portuguese for "Rats!" I think.)
Ciao, Modern Oddyseus