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Bahia Beat

Exploring the Bahia, Brazil state

sunny 90 °F
View A Rough Outline of our Trip on daveliz's travel map.

The percussion band Olodum performing in the Pelourinho neighborhood of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.

The percussion band Olodum performing in the Pelourinho neighborhood of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.


SALVADOR

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...

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The R$.05 elevator commutes people from Pelourihno down a cliff to the bus and ferry stations.

The R$.05 elevator commutes people from Pelourihno down a cliff to the bus and ferry stations.


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.

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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 went to see Olodum in concert. Olodum is the original percussion band that plays a style of samba/reggae music unique to Salvador. Olodum also has community programs and contributes profits from the band back into the community. Be sure to watch the Michael Jackson video that Olodum performs in

We went to see Olodum in concert. Olodum is the original percussion band that plays a style of samba/reggae music unique to Salvador. Olodum also has community programs and contributes profits from the band back into the community. Be sure to watch the Michael Jackson video that Olodum performs in

They Don't Care About Us. Also, one of my favorite songs, Paul Simon's Obvious Child is what brought Olodum to fame.

One of the younger percussion bands marching through the street on Tuesday night.

One of the younger percussion bands marching through the street on Tuesday night.


Another percussion band marching through the street, gathering a big following of dancing people.

Another percussion band marching through the street, gathering a big following of dancing people.


Geronimo is a popular performer on Tuesday nights. A big crowd gathers to watch for free on the church stairs.

Geronimo is a popular performer on Tuesday nights. A big crowd gathers to watch for free on the church stairs.


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Another samba band performing.

Another samba band performing.


We took the local bus up to the lively Rebeira neighborhood to wander the enormous Sunday block party along the beach.

There's not much space left on the beach!

There's not much space left on the beach!


We seemed to be the only non-locals.

We seemed to be the only non-locals.


Rebeira has a famous ice cream parlor that draws big crowds.

Rebeira has a famous ice cream parlor that draws big crowds.


Cars with enormous boom boxes and speakers park along the beach blaring tunes giving this area a 'night club' vibe!

Cars with enormous boom boxes and speakers park along the beach blaring tunes giving this area a 'night club' vibe!


Groups of kids row from other neighborhoods along the bay to join the party.

Groups of kids row from other neighborhoods along the bay to join the party.


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There are plenty of people selling water, beer, and local fried fish to make a buck or two. This is one of the fancier vendor setups.

There are plenty of people selling water, beer, and local fried fish to make a buck or two. This is one of the fancier vendor setups.


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.

Beach #2 on Morro do Sao Paulo.

Beach #2 on Morro do Sao Paulo.


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.

Not your typical ferry ride! It was raining so hard our driver had to look above the roof of the boat to see where he was going.

Not your typical ferry ride! It was raining so hard our driver had to look above the roof of the boat to see where he was going.


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.

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There's a big surfing culture in Itacare as well.

There's a big surfing culture in Itacare as well.


We hired a guide, Leo, to do a hike through the Mangroves to a more secluded beach.

Hiking through the mangrove mud was a sticking point for Elizabeth.

Hiking through the mangrove mud was a sticking point for Elizabeth.


The destination was well worth it though.

The destination was well worth it though.


Vendor on the beach grills some cheese for us.

Vendor on the beach grills some cheese for us.


A local kid brought us some jack fruit for a delicious snack.

A local kid brought us some jack fruit for a delicious snack.


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.

We got a sneak preview of capoeira as Leo practiced on the beach.

We got a sneak preview of capoeira as Leo practiced on the beach.


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Capoeira is much more than an art form in Itacare. It is a way of life and a way of building a  stronger community. The young adults are mentors for the younger kids. A lot of trust is built given the near proximity of the simulated fighting moves.

Capoeira is much more than an art form in Itacare. It is a way of life and a way of building a stronger community. The young adults are mentors for the younger kids. A lot of trust is built given the near proximity of the simulated fighting moves.


The strength and agility of these guys is phenomenal! Take a look!

Kids of all ages do capoeira. We saw people between two years and fifty years old perform! The square in the town center is full every night with kids doing capoeira.

Kids of all ages do capoeira. We saw people between two years and fifty years old perform! The square in the town center is full every night with kids doing capoeira.


Elizabeth gets a lesson on the Berimbaus from Leo. On the hike we saw the biribá tree that the instrument is made from.

Elizabeth gets a lesson on the Berimbaus from Leo. On the hike we saw the biribá tree that the instrument is made from.


We've left the beaches of Brazil and are heading inland across the continent. Some very long bus rides await! More soon,

- Dave

Posted by daveliz 03:54 Archived in Brazil

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Comments

Hi Elizabeth and Dave,

I meant to e-mail you earlier that I am a great fan of Brazil. In 1973 and 1974 I went to Rio about 8 times on business. I worked for the largest steel mill in Brazil in Volta Rehonda, about 2 1/2 drive west of Rio. I would go down for about 3 weeks at a time and work in Volta Redonda during the week and stay in Rio on weekends. I made several friends some of whom I am still in touch with. The Brazilians I met were so warm and friendly. I only have good memories of my trips there.

So, I can relate a little to your great trip in Brazil. I have never been to Bahia, but I know the food is very different being cooked with a lot of coconut milk. I just read all the details of your Bahia trip ~~~ really sounds so interesting. I did not have a chance yet to read you last blog about Rio. I have been so busy since returning from Enland and Germany with Sandy and my oldest son, Adam, on a business trip. Will read it on Sunday.

Now we are leaving Newton for a overnight trip to New Hampshire with son # 2 and his girlfriend # 1.
Will e-mail after I read about Rio.

Continue to have a great trip!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Alex

by Alex Freedman

Hi guys!

Your last journey looks amazing. Love the photos of the Salvador neighborhood and the surfers. I was in Salvador on Semester at Sea so it brings back a lot of memories. What an experience you are having. That is a crazy pic of the boat driver-Yikes!Looking forward to seeing you both soon!

Love,
Sara

by sagejane@aol.com

liz and dave... once again enjoyed the visit thanks linda

by linda e. greene

Totally know Olodum. They tour the US fairly frequently!

by mjaco

p.s. So jealous of Salvador, Bahia. A dream of mine to visit and buy records there!

by mjaco

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