A picture paints 1000 words 21 Feb 2006
- STA Travel release Top 10 Bucket List Travel
- Second Month of Growth Boosts Outlook for Summer Travel
- Kiwis could get automatic arrival in the US Travel
- Daydream Believer Travel
- A misadventure in Spain Travel
- Adam Ray gives the All Whites top marks, but fails those organising soccer at the junior levels ... Sport
- A picture paints 1000 words Travel
- Riding high in Patagonia Living
- Petrovac vacation Travel
- All roads lead to Rome Travel
It’s bright, it’s colourful and it’s a crash course in haggling. BROOK GRANT discovers the lighter side to Salvador, Brazil, and scores himself more than just an artwork
Like many people, I often recite phrases and sayings without truly appreciating the meaning. However, since visiting Salvador, on the northeast coast of Brazil, one particular phrase now means so much more to me: "A picture can paint 1000 words".
Salvador is alive with the African-Brazilian culture; displayed in the people, the arts, the food and the language.
Under the fierce heat of a pulsating sun a great miasma of sounds, colours and smells fills the town square.
You realise immediately you are the foreigner here, in their homeland, and among their people. Street vendors are on every corner. Old ladies dressed in traditional domestic attire sit serenely behind stalls, selling their handicrafts. Young men work tirelessly, roasting seasoned cheeses over small tins of hot coals. Groups of retired men talk and joke on park benches, smoking cigars and sipping cold cervejas. And everywhere children roam freely without a care in the world, banging pots and pans in Pied Piper bands.
At times it is hard to believe these people, so rich in culture and soul, are continually fighting just to stay afloat among the overwhelming problems of poverty afflicting their country.
Wandering through the city centre one day, my girlfriend and I were enticed by a quaint little art store consisting of a mere passageway no more than a metre in width, yet boasting hundreds of paintings stacked and literally spilling onto the sidewalk. After perusing the stock we both decided to buy a piece of artwork.
My girlfriend chose a colourful piece depicting a rural village scene – a group of young black teenagers dancing barefoot in an empty courtyard to the beat of a lone man’s drum, rhythmically circling a small fire, urged on by a ring of people clapping. They dance to entertain, hearing the beat of the drums, but they also dance to heal their souls, hearing the cries of their forefathers.
My painting was of a slave girl carrying an infant. Bleeding, dirty, clothes torn, hair shaven to the scalp, yet still exuding a natural beauty and eloquence.
Art stores line the streets – Salvador is a living canvas, spoiling the local artists with an abundance of subjects to choose.
Before taking the pieces up for final purchase, we covertly discussed our negotiating price range then stepped up to the table.
Approaching the dealer first, my girlfriend started with an offer of half the marked price; I almost choked when I heard this, a seemingly arrogant first bid. To my surprise the dealer hesitated, and though only briefly, it was an instant too long. Pouncing on the opportunity my girlfriend withdrew this offer and turned to leave the store – a tactic we had seen played out by many a client before us. The dealer desperately called her back, and submitted to a sale-price at an overall reduction of 60 per cent!
Almost as if he realised immediately the loss in profit he had just suffered, the dealer turned to me with a scowl.
Although aware I was severely disadvantaged by having only an "A-B-C" knowledge of the Portuguese language, I threw aside my reservations, and readied myself to negotiate; matching negotiating "swords", we stroke and parried, calling on all our wit and skill.
After finally agreeing on sale terms of approximately half-price, I left to withdraw money from the nearest cash-machine, only to find on my return he had reneged on our deal and increased the sale price.
At this point I decide to change tact, and attempt the "let’s leave" retreating manoeuvre.
This time it proves unsuccessful, and instead seemed to anger him, because he then proceeded to harass me for not completing the transaction. Following us outside on to the street he continued haranguing us. Not deterred by this latest development, I willingly jumped back into battle.
It wasn’t long before a sizeable group of people had gathered to watch this spectacle, many joining in to shout advice and recommendations. Eventually a policeman intervened to quash the commotion and disperse the crowd – as if then deciding that I had earned his respect as a worthy negotiating opponent, the dealer smiled, accepts the initial agreed-upon price and bid me happy travels.
Though taken aback by this sudden change in mood, I likewise thanked him, and we moved off to get some deserved lunch, firmly holding our paintings that will forever remind us of Salvador of the people, the food, the music, the spirit and the atmosphere, and a thoroughly entertaining art deal, so much more than 1000 words could ever convey.
6 Dec 2013 News
New Zealand First was saddened to hear of the death of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected... more
6 Dec 2013 News
Prime Minister John Key today expressed his sadness at the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela. “Nelson... more
6 Dec 2013 Business News
Article - BusinessDesk Chatham Rock granted mining permit for Chatham rise, still needs EPA sign-off Dec. 6 (BusinessDesk) - ... more
5 Dec 2013 Business News
Article - BusinessDesk SkyCity earnings to get kicker from Adelaide redevelopment in 2017, brokerage says By Tina ... more
6 Dec 2013 Arts
Audio Foundation Audio Foundation Artist Residency program 2014 awarded The Audio Foundation is pleased to announce Thomas Lambert... more
5 Dec 2013 Entertainment
Two true Kiwi legends – Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashan – have come together on stage for the first time, and this weekend... more
4 Dec 2013 Property
Auckland house prices rose at the rate of $677 a day in November, based on the average price increase from October to... more
4 Dec 2013 Property
New Zealand Government Hon Dr Nick SmithMinister of Housing 3 December 2013 Bill to rein in housing development charges passes first... more
4 Dec 2013 Migration
The typical Kiwi on Census day 2013 was aged 38, earned $28,500 a year, worked in a service job and owned his or her own... more
4 Dec 2013 Travel & Tourism
Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia are seen as the world's most corrupt countries while Denmark and New Zealand are nearly ... more
6 Dec 2013 Rugby
The International Rugby Board and the global Rugby family have been paying tribute to Nelson Mandela, who passed away today.The... more
6 Dec 2013 Motor Sport
NZV8 Ute Racing Supercars and Highlands headline 2014 UDC V8 Ute Series A fifth year on the bill for the V8 Supercars and an opening... more
6 Dec 2013 Column
Column - Gordon Campbell Gordon Campbell on oil drilling permits, and Iris Dement by Gordon Campbell Yesterday, the ... more
5 Dec 2013 Column
It is hard to feel sorry for John Banks. Sorry, I’ll start that again. It would be easy to feel sorry for John Banks in his ... more
2 Dec 2013 People
Universal College Of Learning Media Release Monday 2 December 2013 UCOL salutes its Top Scholars UCOL Bachelor of Nursing... more
29 Nov 2013 Recruitment
Article - BusinessDesk Unemployment to hit 4% by 2021, says MBIE Nov. 29 (BusinessDesk) – Job growth and higher... more