Bahia, Brasil – August 2014
I meet someone while working at an ayahuasca ceremony who shows me the weirder side of life and changes my perspective on saying thank you.
While working at the holistic ranch in Bahia, part of my job was to help out after ayahuasca ceremonies. Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic tea made of roots unique to the Amazon and is used in religious ceremonies. Think of it as Brazilian peyote. I didn’t do the ayahuasca* so when the ceremony was finished, I was to hang out with the participants partly to make sure they were coming down smoothly, and partly to make sure no one tried to drive home early and wrap their car around a tree.
After the second ceremony, a woman walked up to me and gave me a big kiss on the neck instead of the usual cheek-to-cheek greeting. We talked for the next hour about government conspiracies, religion, déjá vu, and reptilians. I learned that Reptilians are the third species of aliens on this planet, but the only malevolent ones. And that you feel a slight click when they try to enter your brain. Some of her ideas seemed… debatable… but I enjoy learning about new ideas and have never learned anything while talking so I went with it. I then asked her if being able to glimpse into the future meant that we lacked free agency and cannot be held accountable for our actions. She replied with whoa, followed by sitting down in the dirt and breathing deeply. I didn’t mean any harm by the question but my friends were unimpressed, so I apologized and we started talking about the local area.
Fast forward a month and we were to meet up in Salvador. I was in Largo Terreira de Jesus and it was very busy, so she told me to look for the elvish girl. I wasn’t sure what that meant, until I saw her in an olive-green tunic with brown boots and a homemade satchel strapped around her calf. The spitting image of Link. Awesome.
We spent that weekend talking about appreciating the moments in life we will never relive, alternate religions, and what everyone on the street said when we passed. Scumbags, all of them. She was Brasilian, but both of her parents were Portuguese so she was almost as white as I was. People assumed her a tourist and said interesting and often vile things as we passed, assuming we couldn’t understand.
She then said grato to a waitress instead of the customary obrigada. You could see the smile on the waitress’ face and sense the genuine happiness that this brought her. She explained to me that obrigado/a meant simply “obligated” and was used thoughtlessly as a “thanks” because you’re supposed to use it, but grato instead translate to “grateful” and showed compassion. I tried it a couple times and had the same result.
She went to California the next week to “farm” and we didn’t see each other again, which is good because we would have burnt Pelourinho to the ground if we had more time.
*A big grato to society because it takes less explanation to say that I have epilepsy and drugs/alcohol/hallucinogenics interfere with my medication than to say that I choose not to use drugs or alcohol.