I started planning this Salvador trip several months ago. Initially there were going to be between 6 and 8 of us sharing a 4-bedroom house in Salvador. (Salvador is the capital city of the Brazilian state of Bahia (pron. ba-EE-ah), which is about 1000 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. It’s a city of about 3 million and is famous for its Carnaval, said to be the best in Brazil. It also has a large population of beautiful dark-skinned men, and mile after mile of palm-fringed beaches.) The house is one I found online, and from what I could tell from the photos, it looked great.

As the travel date approached, my Salvador group kept shrinking. People dropped out for many reasons: work commitments, family commitments, lack of funds, sickness, other scheduling problems. By the time we left we were down to 3 people—myself, my sister Kelly, and my friend Gina. When we arrived in Salvador and first got into the house, I began to realize why things had happened the way they had.

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Let me say first of all, the location was fabulous (see the photo at left). That’s one of the reasons I chose it. But there were problems! First of all, the so-called 4-bedroom house turned out to have only 2 useable bedrooms. It was huge, but so poorly arranged that it would’ve been very difficult and uncomfortable if we had arrived as a group of 6 or 8 as originally planned. Additionally, the daily temperatures in Salvador were between 90 and 98 degrees—and no wind. The house had absolutely no cross-ventilation and even with all the fans in the house going, it was stifling. Of course we couldn’t use fans at all in some rooms because the electrical outlets didn’t work. This is not even to mention the roaches and rats! (Yes, we saw a rat, and the female members of the group were not too pleased about that.) So I was grateful that I hadn’t brought a huge bunch of people with me.

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After spending one night in the house (we moved all our beds into the one bedroom that had a tiny bit of ventilation and minimal street noise—–plus we felt safer from the rats and roaches), the three of us decided No, this was not going to work, and the next day we checked into a hotel.

The hotel was not a good experience. They had this policy of no guests in the rooms except the ones who had checked in. This meant that when Fernando came to see me, they didn’t want to let him come up. Finally they made him give them his ID and treated him pretty rudely. And they made it clear that if someone else were to show up, Fernando would have to leave. Obviously this meant that doing model interviews in this location was not going to work. And the rooms weren’t even that great. So we knew we had to move AGAIN.

Fortunately the guy who was the property manager for the other house (i had him working on seeing if i could get my money back on that) had another apartment he wanted us to see. So he showed us that apartment and it was gorgeous—–18 stories above salvador, beautifully appointed, wireless internet in the apartment, 3 bedrooms—–just beautiful. And reasonably priced. So for the third time in as many days, we moved. And this time we stayed put. It was a good location, too.

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One problem, though—the building had a lot of security and it would’ve been problematic doing model interviews there. But I soon found out I was not going to get any refund on the house from hell, so I decided, since I was stuck with it anyway, I would use it as my beach base for model interviews. And it turned out to be ideal for that.

Fernando, my Salvador connection and agent, had found a few model possibilities before i arrived, but unfortunately all those fell through. In fact, by the 5th day there, we still had NO MODELS. This was after going to the saunas and hanging out at the beach day after day, talking to guys and setting up appointments. We spent a lot of time waiting for models to show up and—-nothing! One guy who didn’t show up called later to say his grandmother had been sick. Okay… So we re-scheduled him. He did show up the next day, TWO HOURS LATE, no apology, with a lot of attitude, and demanded more money and didn’t want to sign a release. Okay…we said goodbye to that one.

Fernando was getting pretty discouraged by this time, and nervous because I was paying him for results, but surprisingly, I wasn’t worried. I guess because I’ve been through this kind of thing so many times, I just knew that sooner or later things would fall together. And that same day, after the model with attitude departed, we met Wellington.

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Wellington (nickname Zulu) was walking by the restaurant, shirtless, while we were having lunch and we all looked twice—he looked great! Gina gave him a little come-hither look, and the next thing you know he’s sitting at our table with us, and Fernando is explaining about modeling. He seemed very interested, and very nice—and we were hopeful. We got his number and set up an appointment. (By now I had wised up and we were no longer scheduling models individually—we were doing the “cattle call” thing, with a whole bunch of models scheduled for the same time. We figured that way, maybe 1 out of 4 would actually show up and we wouldn’t waste so much time.)

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That same evening, hanging out at the beach, we met a very hot boy named Israel, and he was also interested. So we scheduled him for the next day, along with Wellington and about 5 others we had either contacted or who had been referred to us. The next morning, when I got to the beach house for the interviews, Fernando wasn’t there yet, but both Wellington and Israel were there—not only on time, but EARLY! You have to understand that in Salvador, this is unheard-of. It just doesn’t happen. So I was pretty impressed. In the course of the interviews that morning, though, none of the rest of the models showed up. But that was okay, because we had two good ones. We scheduled them for a photo shoot the next day, up the coast north of Salvador, where I’d heard about some wonderful deserted beaches.

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