So I underestimated the amount of time and energy it takes to get to an internet cafe, upload pictures, think clearly while sweating to death. Sorry I´ve been MIA. We flew into Salvador on March 9th and holy cow is it hot here. 29 degrees in the room, at the start of the evening with AC and fan on (it does cool down eventually). This little city on the coast is pretty remarkable; I would say it looks like Havana and Cinque Terre put together. The streets are cobblestone and hilly, narrow … and the buildings are old and peeling but full of colour! Carnival just ended a short while ago and so all the decorations (think scary clown faces and Disco light paintings) were still up upon arrival. In fact, Tues night is the “big” night around here so we made it just in time. I´d say the streets were busier than the fullest pub in Vancouver during the Canada-US game! Honestly, you do not want to be carrying anything with you. Luckily for me, we have a safe in the hotel so it is bliss not wearing that dreaded money belt.
The first night we were here we enjoyed live music on the streets (they have this everywhere, little plastic tables and chairs cropping up from nowhere). They do charge a cover fee but it is totally worth it. You see people sitting for hours on end and then moving elsewhere. So far, the people here are a bit more pushy from a tourist´s perspectives because it is a place where tourists come (not Canadians, it seems, though!) Cruise ships dock here so that would make up for a huge portion of the population.
On Day 1, we got to enjoy 2 local dishes: one was Moqueca de Peixe, which is fish, tomatoes, bell peppers and ontions cooked in spiced coconut cream (almost Thai in flavor but lighter). This one comes with rice, black eyed peas (Fergie not in tow), and 3 different kinds of manioc (paste, powder, etc). I´m not a fan of the manioc as it tastes like cream of wheat powder .. but it was interesting and can be good if it´s sweet in pastries! The second dish is their Feijoda, which is essentially bits of meat (pork, beef, whatever.. haha) and beans. It was super duper good. This used to be a staple of the Afro-Brazilians .. and in this region of Bahia, there is a large influence from both the Africana and Europeans. It makes for a very interesting melting pot in terms of food, art, and culture in general!
On Day 2, we spent the day wandering around and looking into rental cars as we are heading up the coast and my dad is going to take on the task of driving around here! It isn´t as crazy as some countries we´ve been, as there are traffic lights etc., but let´s face it — Canadians are all about the organization of rules … and most other countries are not so much (or perhaps i should say, as much). We also hit up a wonderful museum with so many amazing and intricate African sculptures and masks. In the evening, we went to a Folkloric show, the “Bale Folclorico de Bahia” .. it was fantastic and actually supposed to be the best in the world (according to the New York times). CAPOEIRA is this type of martial art combined with dancing that blows your mind! Kicks and twirls about a cm from eachothers´ faces. I was very impressed 🙂 Before that we hit up another restaurant and had fabulous seafood, beer of course, and the Caiprihna which is essentially like a Mojito without the mint. My mom swears that two of these in a row killed her cold, but I´m skeptical … I´ve come down with something harsh and will try this experiment tonight 🙂 Keep you posted.
The last day we went on a boat tour of two local islands and got to see what Salvador looks like from afar. It´s unique in that in one view, you will see city (i.e skyscrapers) and low slung carribean looking homes. Where we stayed was actually the old part, very hilly, and small; Salvador itself has over 2 million residents.
Next we are heading to Priai de Forte which is a smaller touristy town up North on the coast … we will tool around with the car and hit up a few other towns before heading back to Salvador and flying to Rio on the 17th!
p.s “R” is pronounced like an “H” when it comes at the beginning of a word; this makes for totally different sounds as you can imagine 🙂
Ciao for now 🙂