The Elevador Lacerda
After saying good by to Frutos de Maes, I didn't have too much time to
be sad. My mom would be arriving in Salvador shortly and I had last
minute things to do before I left. Romy and I decided to go see the
Carmen Miranda exhibit at the Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia that
afternoon. We had gone to the museum a couple weeks before, unaware
that it was the day before the exhibit opened. It was closed because
they were setting up for the exhibit. But we did see the outdoor
sculpture garden, enjoyed its beautiful setting at the Solar do Unhao
and had coffee at a cute cafe.
Afterwards, couldn't find a cab so we decided to walk home. We were
walking along a cliff and looked down and there was a favela on the
steep hill all the way down to the water.
View of the Mercado Modelo from Pelourinho
We drove past it every day on
our way to work but had never seen it before. It was an area the Lonely
Planet guidebook said was a prime place to get mugged, so we kept our
mouths shut and tried to look local. We walked through a tunnel and up
some stairs and ended up in one of the nicest neighborhoods in the
city. We stumbled upon the geology museum and went in because it was
free. No offense to the rock lovers out there, but it's pretty boring
unless you're really into that kind of thing. Overall, it was a fun day
getting lost in Salvador.
So on my last day we went back to the museum for the exhibit and made sure it was open beforehand. I'd heard of Carmen Miranda
but I didn't know who she was before I saw the exhibit. Apparently she
is responsible for bringing Brazil to the attention of many people
worldwide in the 30s and 40s and responsible for many of the sterotypes
people still have of Brazil.
The berimbau I bought... well not quite. More on that later.
Before I left, someone said something to
me about wearing fruit on my head and I was really confused. Now I get
it. The exhibit was pretty extensive with a lot great information about
her life, pictures, a biographical video and personal artifacts on
display downstairs. Upstairs, there were more displays of her
extravagant costumes, head accoutrements, jewelry, and ridiculously
tall platform shoes- which are obviously still popular there today. I
have no idea how women walk on cobblestone streets, steep hills and
uneven sidewalks with such large shoes! The walls were covered with
posters from movies that she starred in and the center of the room was
set up like a cafe with small tables and clips of her movies were
playing on a large screen. It was a very nicely put together exhibit.
Afterwards, Romy went back home and I went to the Mercado Modelo for
some last minute gifts and souvenirs.
I convinced myself that I needed
so I bought a small one and prayed that it would fit diagonally in my
suitcase. After using my developing bargaining skills and dropping some
Reais at the market, I took the Elevator Lacerda up to Pelourinho.
Salvador is generally divided into to two parts- the Cidade Baixa
(lower city) and the Cidade Alta (upper city). They are connected by
the art deco Elevador Lacerda. A ride on the elevator is just 5
At the top, I enjoyed the view and bought some coconut ice cream. I went to the Bale Folclorico da Bahia
at the Teatro Miguel Santana to purchase tickets for the show that
night. After I saw it the first time, I knew I had to take my mom there
when she came.
Me and one of the regular Pelourinho kids.
I headed back to the house and was told my mom was in
Salvador and had called. I called her hotel but couldn't get in touch.
I decided to take a shower because I needed to get ready for dinner and
the show. Of course she showed up right when I got out of the shower so
I greeted her dripping wet and hurried to get ready. I showed her
around the house and introduced her to the volunteers and staff. After
spending so much time together in close quarters, everyone is excited
to get a chance to see where you come from. After people told her
(incriminating?) stories about me and told us that we look alike, we
headed to Pelourinho.
We ate dinner at Jardim das Delicias
where I had eaten with Sarah before the Bale the first time. We had a
big pot of shrimp and fish moqueca
on the side.
My mom was happy about the farofa because Ghanaians do
something similar with cassava (a.k.a. manioc or yuca) and they call it
. She also enjoyed the Guarana
Antarctica which tastes a lot like a Ghanaian soda called Muscatella.
When we were done with dinner and got to the theater, I realized I left
my tickets at the house! But the guy working remembered me because I
had quizzed him earlier on why the tickets were $R5 more than when I
went a few weeks before. So he let us in without a problem. My mom
really enjoyed the show and said some of the dances were just like
dances they did in northern Ghana. We walked out of the theater and
right into Swing do Pelo. It wasn't the typical Tuesday night group-
there were a bunch of young kids mixed in with the regulars. And one of
the regular drummers was directing them. It was very nice to see the
kids involved. I was happy my mom got a chance to see it because
drumming in streets is something I really love about Salvador.
When I got back to the house, my roommates and some others were waiting
for me so we could all go out and meet up with the other volunteers. We
headed to Nova Schina where we went on our first night! A lot of people
had come and gone but the same core group of people were still there.
It's nice to end where you started because you really reflect on the
journey you had. It was such a different feeling than the first night.
I went from not knowing what to expect to feeling completely in my
element and adjusted to life in a different country. Afterwards, Sarah
and I were not ready to call it a night so we walked over to World Bar
for some fun and dancing!
Salvador da Bahia Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Jardim das Delicias or "Garden of Delights" is a relaxing restaurant in Pelourinho, Salvador's busy historic center. To get to the restaurant, you wal… read entire review