First Day in Salvador

Salvador da Bahia Travel Blog

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On our first full day, my roommates Romy and Michelle (this always made me laugh because of the movie) and I decided to walk to Porto da Barra, a beach that is popular with tourists and wasn't too far from our house. We had a map, but it's pretty hard to understand your surroundings on the first day. We walked for quite sometime with no sign of the beach. As we kept walking, we realized that we had wandered to a polling place.

October 1 was (the first) election day for Brazil and it was interesting to see. Voting is mandatory for everyone 18-70 years old. If you don't vote, you may subject to fines or have difficulty getting a passport. I usually vote absentee regardless of whether or not I'm in town but I have been to a polling place in California and it looked nothing like that. There were tons of people and many of them were wearing brightly colored shirts supporting their favorite candidates.

Romy is a pale brunette and Michelle is a 6 foot tall blonde and they looked extremely out of place. Romy had made the most attempts to learn Brazilian Portuguese beforehand and we started asking for help and directions without drawing too much more attention to ourselves. Everytime she asked someone for directions in broken Portuguese, people would turn to me and starting talking to me in fluent Portuguese assuming I was a local. I responded with a shrug and an apologetic smile. I would definitely have to learn some Portuguese to get by in Salvador. We approached sympathetic looking people with "Barra?" They all seemed to respond "Baha?" and point the opposite direction. We said "Noooo, Barra." With no sign of the beach, we made our way back to the house. We later learned that double r's make an "h" sound and that we had gone the opposite way.

After lunch we set out again in search of more practical things like phone cards and ATMs. We were told we could find these things at the mall. This time we asked for detailed directions before we left. We made it to Shopping Barra, a mall that is scarily similar to an American mall but convenient and comforting for the few times when we actually missed home. After that, we decided to continue walking and eventually stumbled upon Farol da Barra beach, next to the beach we had tried to find earlier. It was a beautiful day and there were plenty of people out and Baianas selling cocada and acaraje. We continued along the coast past hotels, restaurants, and bars to Porto de Barra, filled with umbrellas, sunbathers, tourists and vendors. We decided to wander through the city and go home a different way. Surprisingly, we made it back without much trouble.
worldcitizen says:
I know... after six weeks, I still thought it was funny ;)
Posted on: Jul 05, 2007
architeqt says:
i LOVE that your roommates were "Romy & Michelle" - that is so funny i can't even believe it! haha
Posted on: Jul 04, 2007
worldcitizen says:
Yeah, it definitely makes a huge difference. Apathy is not an option!
Posted on: Apr 27, 2007
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