Halloween and a Salvador City Tour

Salvador da Bahia Travel Blog

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Adriele and Reinaldo on the playground
There was another one of the numerous Brazilian holidays this week so we only had class Monday through Wednesday. Tuesday was Halloween and I wasn't sure if they celebrated it in Salvador, but I decided to have a party anyway. When Grace (CCS Brazil Director) saw me preparing, she told me that they don't typically celebrate it, but she thought it would be an interesting cultural exchange. So on Tuesday I brought candy and had the kids make Jack o' Lantern masks. They knew it was a mask and beyond that, I'm not sure if they understood, but they definitely had a lot of fun with it. My teacher made a little book for me that week with pictures of the class, an inspirational story, and note thanking me for my help and my patience with the kids. As a volunteer, you don't expect anything in return, but it's really nice to know your work is appreciated.
It was definitely beginning to sink in at that point that it was my second to last week. The first two weeks were slow, but I knew the last two weeks would fly by.

I missed the city tour my first week in Salvador (they do a city tour each time a new group of volunteers arrives) so I decided to go that week with the new group of volunteers who had arrived the weekend before. We piled into the van, and along the drive our guide told us a lot of interesting facts about Salvador. We drove through part of the city I had never seen before and we stopped at one spot where you could see favelas for miles. There were shacks covering the hills that went all the way to the ocean. He also pointed out that fact that in Salvador, the poor often have the best views.

The next stop was a tilemaker's workshop.
Fabiana and Matteus on the playground. That slide in the background was an accident waiting to happen but the kids seemed to love it.
He had beautiful tiles inspired by Bahia. Some were sets that you could decorate a bathroom or kitchen with and some were smaller individual tiles with scenes of capoeira and fishmerman and other such things. We stopped at an ice cream shop nearby with many interesting flavors. A new volunteer and I kept looking up the flavors in my phrasebook and asking for samples. There were some flavors made with fruits we'd never heard of and some unlikely combinations and flavors... like corn. It tasted like those Jellybelly popcorn flavored beans. Not my favorite, but I guess someone must like it.  Eventually, we sensed the guy working was getting annoyed with us, so we made our decisions and ordered.

From the ice cream shop, we went to Igreja de Nossa Senjor do Bonfim (a church).
Favelas all the way to the bay
I've heard there are 365 churches in Salvador, one for each day of the year. You certainly do see plenty of churches when you're there. Igreja do Bonfim is one of the most important to both Catholics and followers of Candomble. Senhor do Bonfim is Jesus Christ to the Catholics and Oxala to Candomble followers. Every year on the second Thursday in January, there is a celebration called "Lavagem do Bonfim". Thousands of people congregate at a church in the cidade baixa (lower city) and follow Baianas carrying flowers on a walk to Bonfim. When they arrive at the church, the baianas wash the steps of the church which is symbolic of personal cleansing. It starts with the party and the party continues along the walk with drumming and dancing and then it ends with a huge street party.
Forte de Monte Serrat
It's the second largest celebration in Salvador after Carnival and conveniently held close to both Carnival and Festa de Iemanja. I'd love to be in Salvador in the months of January and February!

You will find souvenirs from Bonfim in other parts of Brazil, most notably the fitas do bonfim. These are ribbons that you are supposed to tie around your wrist with three knots and make three wishes. They say that when the ribbon falls off, your wishes will be granted. In Rio I saw many keychains made with the fitas and t-shirts inspired by them. The ribbons are sold cheaply in mass quantities in front of the church and other locations in Salvador. If you're in Salvador, be wary of beggars who come up and try to tie them on your wrist.
Great location for a soccer match
They act like it's a gift, but then they will probably follow you and harass you for money. The church is also popular with those seeking healing and there is a room filled with pictures of people seeking cures and plastic limbs hanging from the ceiling. The plastic limbs represent ailing body parts that are in need of help... it's really a very odd room.

The last stop was Forte de Monte Serrat. Everyone around was playing soccer, even the basketball court was a makeshift soccer field. I don't remember the significance of this fort, but from its location, there were great views of Salvador. Minus the palm trees, it reminded me of San Francisco. After the tour some of us went to the Mercado Modelo, which is the best place to go for souvenirs. When we were done shopping, we enjoyed dinner and the sunset on the second floor of the market.
newtampo says:
Sweet, nice and beautiful moment. :) The kids are lovely, also the book they gave you! :)
Posted on: Aug 06, 2007
southafricangirl says:
wow great information and wonderful pictures of the kids.
Posted on: Aug 05, 2007
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Adriele and Reinaldo on the playgr…
Adriele and Reinaldo on the playg…
Fabiana and Matteus on the playgro…
Fabiana and Matteus on the playgr…
Favelas all the way to the bay
Favelas all the way to the bay
Forte de Monte Serrat
Forte de Monte Serrat
Great location for a soccer match
Great location for a soccer match
Even the basketball court is a soc…
Even the basketball court is a so…
A man enjoying the soccer game and…
A man enjoying the soccer game an…
View of the sunset from the Mercad…
View of the sunset from the Merca…
Salvador da Bahia Sights & Attractions review
The Mercado Modelo is located in Cidade Baixa near the financial area of Salvador. It's basically a tourist market where you can get a ton of cool art… read entire review
Salvador da Bahia Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
This is the ice cream shop we visited on our city tour, I just figured out the name of it! It is a little out of the way of the main areas tourists vi… read entire review