Thursday, November 13, 2008

Salvador














The first evening in Salvador. Cedric and I watched a good football match that took place on the beach. The young men really take their football seriously. Most of the nation's talents are probably found in small towns all over Brazil-as I was watching the young men playing football on the beach, after dinner, that's the feeling I got. Also, anybody want to watch really good looking people with nice physiques, Rio is not the place, but Salvador is definitely one of the places to see good looking bodies along beach front.

Barra, a seafront working class area. Streets are a bit grubby, people are spontaneous, every evening is party time. Music starts at around sun set, and people start to gather, along the stretch of seafront for about a mile, to jog, dog walk, people watch, play football on the beach, or just hang out. This is not a big tourist spot, the tourists go to the historic center called Pelourinho about 3 miles from Barra, where the old Baroque and 18th century Portuguese colonial buildings and streets are still standing. Being in Barra, one could get a sense of how the origin of current Brazilian culture derives from. There is a really good lighthouse museum on the introduction of the history of Barra, Salvador, African slaves, and the birth of Brazil.

We took a side trip to an island called Morro de Sao Paulo. Two hour on a big speed boat and then we were dropped off on to a tropical island. I'd played this computer game of building a village on a tropical island, the game gives you choices of building little huts, little souvenir shops, restaurants, bars, small pousadas(as in bed and breakfast guest houses), hotels, tennis courts, fishing port, old fort, etc. Being on this island was like being right in that computer game. There are no paved roads, buildings stand on sand, the taxis are men pushed wheel barrels to transport guests luggage. Along side the main road(they actually named it Broadway), there are little bars, restaurants, shops which sell bikinis and other souvenirs, 2 travelers bureaus. We didn't book reservation for room, so the bureau assigned us to a pousada called Chez Max, on the 3rd beach. It ended up a really good choice because the 3rd beach has less traffic, and the pousada was really gracious and away from all the noisy younger tourists.

The forth beach is worth visiting, it's the least explored among the main tourists beaches, and there laid a wide stretch of tide pools, it's a wonderful place for natural spa, soak in one of the tide pools and be surrounded by little fishes and hermit craps. There's another area of tide pools pass the road to the old fort, that area is more hidden and cut off to the rest of the touristy beaches. Few tourists would get there as they mostly would stop at the fort.

I got really sea sick on the speed boat coming back from Morro. The two hour ride felt like 3, and I was not the only one, about a quarter of the passengers got really sea sick and vomited. Cedric was amazing, he didn't get sick, and he was even reading a little bit on the boat. The fast speed boat was equipped with plenty of plastic bags. I would recommend visiting Morro, if one could stand the boat ride.

Last night in Brazil, we decided to have dinner in the historic center. The streets took on a different look in Pelourinho at night, a festival was taking place, with dramatic puppet show, soulful Portugese songs in the background. I don't know if the festival had a theme of such, or most festivals in Brazil are of such, because in the states, the festivals in comparison are quite blend, with typical rock music. Whereas the one we saw last night, had a slight eerieness and dramatic sense of theater. The entire old historic center were layered with the sounds of African drums, Portugese guitar tunes, reggae music. Many street cats came out at night. I hadn't had lots of luck finding cats during this trip, and last night I got my wish.

1-5: Port Barra
6-7: Speed boat to the island Morro de Sao Paulo
8-13: Historic Center in Pelourinho

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