Planet Hiker
2005-09-29 The Frenchman, Itacare, Brazil


"He is really a gentleman" I have been told, "it is just that he prefers hookers". Jejay was indeed a Frenchman with some peculiarities... For instance, even though he was in his forties, he liked wearing clothes of a twenty year old - always baggy jeans and a loose fitting T-Shit with some sort of a large graphic, typically referring to surfing or skateboarding (I don't think I have ever seen him surf, and definitely he did not skateboard).

Tonight I bumped into him in front of Bar Mandala. He was with 2 girls. One of them, Miau, was not a hooker and I knew her as the punk girl of Itacare - having earned this reputation due to the highly distinguishable Tomahawk hairstyle. Long legs, dark skin and a smile that could leave any guy feeling loose at the knees - she was beautiful. The punk hairstyle, though, always left me guessing.

The other girl with Jejay, the prostitute, was in her thirties, dressed to exaggerate every curve of her body. Nothing overly spectacular, like the ridiculously high platform high heel shoes that I always associate with hookers, but still, there is the push-up bra, tight, TIGHT jeans, and a white top that exposed her back and showed off her pierced belly. I didn't ask under what kind of a contract she was but, it seemed that her job for now was to stay close to Jejay, avoid conversations and maintain an upbeat and joyful mood.

Hooker or not it was nice to see that she was being loyal to him. Whenever a guy would approach, she would immediately draw back and even cling to Jejay elbow to make it crystal clear that she is taken (for the night). And this routine she had to perform often as guys kept approaching her every few minutes, as if they had some sort of selective vision - they could see the girl with a push-up bra, but not the Frenchman in baggy clothes. Come to think of it, she really should have been wearing the high platform high heel shoes just to make her job easier.

Since it was a Wednesday night, there was a party happening at Corais, typically heating up after 2:00am (that is when people would leave Mandala, which entertained the crowds in the early stages of the night and then passed the torch to the the next happening spot). Itacare is a very small town, with everything with in 10 minutes of walking distance. But Jejay insisted that we all load into his automobile (a small economy car of a some European model) and take a bumpy ride over the pebble stone streets, even though there really was not rush (it was just past 1:00am).

At this hour, Corais was just beginning to receive its customers, yet the music was in full swing - the band, consisting of an acoustic guitar, a zabumba (a base drum) and a triangle, was already at work, hypnotizing the spectators with the soft melodies of Forro. The music filled the rustically decorated dance floor, floated around the tightly clinging couples then out of the window and on to the beach, mixing with the whispers of the small waves that were caressing the sand. You did not have to be a Forro enthusiast to enjoy yourself, as the starlight night lured the romantic inside each of us to leave the sandals and flip-flops by the tables and take a few tickling steps into the warm water of the Brazilian ocean. This was just another night in Itacare.

...

A few weeks later I ran into the Frenchman again, in front of his bar/restaurant, and as usual, he was accompanied by a woman, much younger that he was.

"Andre! It is good to see you." He continued after a short but noticeable stare - "Let me introduce you to my wife, Jenine. She recently came over from France".

All of a sudden I was handed a job not to fart out a sparkling grin that would spotlight his last words. I stiffened up a bit while introducing myself, but judging by Jenine's pleasant smile, I believe that I performed my task well enough, attributing the stiffness as a compliment to her good looks. Then again, what do I know about reading woman's minds? What ever the case may have been, Jejay, wanting to show his appreciation (and to bury his little secrete) invited me in for a drink. Apparently, he knew some sort of a tequila drink that was bound to make me a believer.

The secrete recipe was to mix tequila, lime and tonic, cover the shot-glass with the palm of the hand, then smack the shot-glass against the table 3 times and immediately down the foaming substance. Thus, somewhat unsynchronized but determined, we took a shot, as the agitated tonic burst out of the glass, making a mess of the bar and our clothes. I may not have had the sophisticated taste to fully appreciate the Frenchman's masterpiece, but never the less, I thanked him, wiped off my chin using several paper napkins and was getting ready to leave when he handed me another shot-glass.

"I guess, he needs to be sure" I though to myself and decided that it would be easier to do the "shake and bake" routine one more time, rather than try to convince him that all of this is rather unnecessary as I have no interest in his personal affairs. But the other factor in this blender was that he apparently really liked this drink and must have found this to be a perfect opportunity to get a buzz before going out for the night. Thus, we downed another shot-glass, spilling even more of the magic elixir all over the bar and ourselves. By then I was getting the feel that things are only going to get worse, when my suspicions were confirmed by the entrance of Beto - local "wannabe" pro-surfer who split his time between surfing, smoking marijuana and chasing skirts. Naturally, he wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to cash in on a few drinks at the Frenchman's expense. Thus, just to "catch up" to us, he demanded 2 drinks, apart from the 3rd one, which we all were going to down together.

By the 5th round we forgot what was the use of the paper napkins and by the 7th we had forgotten what was the occasion for this whole fiasco. A few more drinks later still, we finally rolled out of the bar and headed in the general direction of Mandala to have a Caipirinha, before going off to Corais. This was just another night in Itacare.



My friends from Argentina, Diego and Federico, are preparing fish at our pousada (photo by who ever was passing by at the time, probably Boy):



This photo I took on the last day in Itacare, when we were hanging around the fishing dock:


Photo by Federico F.