Exploring the Bahia, Brazil state
11.06.2009 - 11.17.2009 90 °F
We arrived in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil after some Amazing Race training. We caught a six hour bus from Parati to Sao Paulo, arriving four hours late due to traffic (Sao Paulo is known as the worst traffic city in the world), sprinted to a taxi to take us to the airport, finally catching our 11:50 p.m. flight to Salvador as the doors were closing.
Arriving in the Pelourihno neighborhood of Salvador at 4 a.m. in the morning was not the best way to introduce ourselves to the city. As with most cities and towns in Brazil there is a Favela (very poor neighborhood, although a step up from the “townships” of South Africa) and lots of homeless people wandering or sleeping on the streets. We were constantly warned not to cross into the Favelas or go out after 1 a.m. once things close down and the many police occupying the streets end their shift. It’s not so different from big cities in the states, but the crime rate is worse here and our newness to the area made us more cautious.
Never-the-less, we woke up the next morning, had some delicious Brazilian tropical fruits and bread for breakfast, ventured out into the neighborhood, and immediately fell in love with Salvador. The city is lively and brimming with character.
From it's colorful old buildings and cobblestone streets...
To it's blooming arts and crafts community... The Bahia region is largely Afro-Brazilian, with descendants of Africans brought over from the slave trade. Most of the arts and crafts we saw in the city were very similar to those we saw in Africa.
And especially it's music... The narrow streets echo with music every night. Tuesday nights are especially vibrant as music festivities take place throughout Pelourinho. Percussion bands parade through the street as they gather large followings of dancing people. Various artists perform on old church steps and on the cobblestoned streets.
We took the local bus up to the lively Rebeira neighborhood to wander the enormous Sunday block party along the beach.
MORRO DO SOA PAULO
Morro do Soa Paulo is an island south of Salvador where locals and foreigners go to bask on it’s beautiful beaches and party at the many bars. Unfortunately, we found it way too touristy and were bombarded by constant soliciting.
We continued to feel at home in Brazil because of the kindness and warmth of Brazilians. Two locals we met, Luciano and Vivian, helped us by making calls and browsing the internet to figure out how to get to our next destination since there was little information on ferries and buses to Itacare.
The ferry and following bus trip landed us in the fun little town of Itacare. Itacare is known for it’s beautiful beaches and rich Capoeira culture.
We hired a guide, Leo, to do a hike through the Mangroves to a more secluded beach.
Leo also happened to be one of the top Capoeira artists in town. Capoeira is a combination of martial arts, music, and dance created by slaves brought over from Africa, mainly Angola. Leo invited us to a performance that night.
The strength and agility of these guys is phenomenal! Take a look!
We've left the beaches of Brazil and are heading inland across the continent. Some very long bus rides await! More soon,