3 Girls, 3 Encounters
Exhibit A: three eighteen year old girls with the same passion for acarajé, girl talk and obnoxious laughter.
Of course, despite our mutual love for açaí and what-have-you, the inherency of our being, well, human beings means we’re different. And unsurprisingly, if you haven’t noticed already, our biggest difference lies in our racial identities: Asia is African-American, Jordan is Caucasian, and I’m Asian.
Does it matter? Not to us, no; regardless of how we look, our shared interests and giggles are colourless, with a history extending only to the August day on which we met.
But on the streets? Apparently, it does.
When walking through the streets of Salvador, Jordan tends to hear “Linda” (“Beautiful”) or variations of the word. “Gringa” is also common.
Meanwhile, on the same streets, I tend to hear “Chinesa”, “Japonesa”, “Arigato”, “Konichiwa”, or unintelligible noises that apparently resemble an ambiguous Asian language. Many a time I turn around to state “Eu sou coreana” (“I am Korean”) before walking away with my heart pumping, metaphorical fist in the air.
And Asia? People ask her for directions. (We once made a rankings list of who, in the group, could most likely pass off as a Bahian. Needless to say, Asia came first — even without taking her superb samba skills into account.)
How interesting it is, that in a land treasured for its diversity, some differences matter a whole lot more than they should.