My First Weekend in Salvador

Salvador da Bahia Travel Blog

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After the first two weekends of exploring other parts of Bahia, it was time to spend weekend in Salvador. On Friday night we met up in the Barra neighborhood. Barra has a wide range of nightlife from mellow sit down bars to energetic dance clubs. We sat down and had drinks at an outdoor bar/restaurant while the area grew more and more lively. After awhile, we went to a club next door called World Bar. I was happy to hear that Friday was reggae night and there was a live band. They sang a bunch of Bob Marley covers but I couldn't tell if they were singing in English or Portuguese. I danced all night and had a great time and had to be dragged off the dance floor by my roommates when it was time to go home.

On Saturday, my roommate Sarah and I went to see Bale Folclorico da Bahia. Some of our other roommates had seen the show the weekend before when we were away in Lencois. Everyone said was something we had to see before we left Salvador. We took a cab to Pelourinho and purchased tickets at Teatro Miguel Santana before heading to dinner at Jardim das Delicias. Live entertainment is common at restaurants in Bahia and there was a guy singing and playing guitar. There was something very odd about his singing, he sounded strangely similar to a backwoods bluesman from Mississippi and I wasn't convinced that he could really sing like that. We eventually figured out that he was lipsynching to recorded music. Every once in awhile he would pick up his saxaphone and play a horrible solo with the recording. It definitely made dinner more entertaining. After dinner we went back to the theater and sat next to a couple from Germany. They were very interested in hearing about the U.S. and our volunteer work in Salvador and we chatted with them until the show began. The show was amazing- if you go to Salvador, you have to see it!

On Sunday, the sky was cloudy and rain was in the forecast, but that didn't stop us from going to a soccer game to support the Bahia team. We arrived at the stadium and purchased tickets. To interact with the ticket sellers, there is only a triangular hole a few inches wide that was about eye level for me (I'm 5'2"). I'm assuming it's for their safety and to avoid robberies. There were people selling cheap team jerseys in the parking lot, so some of us who didn't already have team gear bought hats and shirts. As we got closer to the entrance there were vendors selling kebabs, beer, and sugarcane juice. It's all very cheap but you can't bring inside any food or drink you purchase outside of the stadium. When we got to the entrance there was a lot of commotion and we were tangled up in a huge crowd. They kept telling people different things and we kept moving from gate to gate, not understanding what was going on but following the crowd. For some reason they wouldn't let us in and the crowd was getting really angry. We were packed in like sardines and trying to hold on to our purses and each other. Eventually we got in without getting trampled on.

The game had already begun so we made our way up to the seats. Inside the stadium you can purchase tickets for food and drinks that are almost as cheap as the things outside. If I remember correctly, $R5 gets you 3 beers. And I think cheap Brazilian beer is much more tolerable than cheap American beer. Just as we were beginning to enjoy the game, it started to rain heavily. We left the stands and joined people under the covered areas. Because a good chunk of the volunteers decided to go to the game, we clearly stood out as foreigners. Some people weren't happy we were there and shouted "Gringos go home!" at us. Another group of guys took a different approach and kept throwing peices of popcorn at us. I think that was their way of flirting. Another group of guys was nice enough to give up their seats to us. As we all know from the World Cup, Brazilians are passionate about soccer and it's no different with local teams. Our team won 4-1 and everyone was happy.

After the game we headed to Shopping Barra for dinner. We ran into Rodrigo, the guy who had helped translate for us in Lencois the weekend before. It seems that if you're in Bahia for at least a few weeks, you'll run into the same people all the time. We kept seeing people with Bahia team jerseys who had come from the game and they cheered when they saw us in our shirts because our team won. When we were eating at the food court, we ran into the CCS Brazil Program Director, Grace. She was on her way to see a movie and the next day she scolded us about eating junky American fast food while we were in Brazil. We thought it was a bit funny and embarassing but it was nice to have someone encouraging us to have a more Brazilian experience.
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