Leaving Salvador and Heading to Rio

Salvador da Bahia Travel Blog

 › entry 29 of 35 › view all entries
The Church of St. Francis in Pelourinho
I had to wake up fairly early on Saturday morning to get my second anti-rabies vaccination. The clinic was only open from 7am to 11am. After being bitten by a cat earlier in the week, I had to get the shots on the exact dates the nurse gave me otherwise they would be useless. As I was waiting for a cab, it started pouring heavily. The cab driver dropped me off at the medical center and I stepped in to a huge puddle of water up to my knees. The drainage system there is not the greatest. In the heavy rain, streets become rivers and the outdoor staircases become waterfalls. There were plenty of others in line for vaccinations in the courtyard waiting room. I joined them under the limited covered areas and waited for my turn. When I was done, there were no cabs on my side of the street so I had to run across the busy flooded street to get a cab on the other side.
The big Baiana in Pelourinho


I got back to the house soaking wet and and I tried to call my mom at the hotel. I asked the guy working there about meu amiga Alice (I refered to my mom as my friend to simplify things) and he was so confused. After a few minutes of going back and forth he said, "OH! Ah-lee-see! She go with my friend on a tour!" He didn't understand the English way of saying Alice, he read her name like it was Brazilian Portuguese. He had arranged for my mom to go on a tour around the city with a guide.

After I figured out where she was, I began the daunting task of packing. I had a bunch of things to leave behind and get rid of, but many more things that I had acquired. My berimbau didn't fit in my suitcase.
Orixas in the water and the futebol stadium in the distance
By the time my mom was done with her tour and came by the house, I was still not ready. I guess that was partly due to talking to people and saying goodbyes. I pretty much shoved everything in my suitcase and overflow duffel bag decided to deal with it in Rio. My suitcase was really heavy-- thankfully Brazilian airlines don't seem to be too strict with luggage weight. I said goodbye to everyone at the house and it was really sad. The house was a big part of the experience-- meeting interesting people from all over the world, hanging out with the Brazilian staff, living in a tiny room with four others and sharing three bathrooms with 30 people. I made some unlikely friendships in the house and I still keep in touch. It's such a unique experience to share with people who were strangers before we arrived in Brazil.
I'm not sure who this is...


Salvador had welcomed me with sunshine and it rained nonstop as I left. The weather definitely corresponded with my mood. No one should ever be upset to go to Rio, but I was so sad to leave Salvador. It was truly a life changing six weeks and I felt such a connection with Bahia. So when I saw how long the lines were at the airport, I wouldn't have been too upset if we missed our flight. But our flight was delayed (which seems to be typical with TAM Airlines) so we ended up waiting at the airport for a couple hours. They wouldn't let me take my berimbau as a carry on so I had to check it and hope that it would still be in one piece once we got to Rio.

When we arrived in Rio we got our luggage from the baggage claim and then had to go to a different area to get my berimbau. When I found it, it was broken. The guy working smiled at me and told me to follow him. He led me to a room with tons of unclaimed luggage. There were several shelves of berimbaus that had been left behind. He looked through all of them with me and helped me find a bow that was the closest size and color to my broken instrument. When I left, there were a bunch of other people coming into the room holding broken berimbaus who were also in need of new parts!

Outside, we got a taxi to take us to our hotel. It was dark so we couldn't tell what was around us. After a bit of drive, we saw a mountain in the distance, set aglow with lights. It was our first glimpse of Pao de Acucar! We finally arrived at our hotel in Copacabana. We decided we should do the basic sightseeing on the first day so we arranged with the concierge/receptionist to do a day long tour of Rio the next day. Our room wasn't fabulous but it was large and had a view of Copacabana. It was so weird to have so much space and a TV with cable. We had an early and long day ahead of us so we went straight to bed!
HuBison says:
Oh my, what a funny story about your berimbau. I will be in Rio the first week in April and want to buy one or two from down there and am wondering how I will get them back to the US in 1 piece with a layover in Atlanta.
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The Church of St. Francis in Pelou…
The Church of St. Francis in Pelo…
The big Baiana in Pelourinho
The big Baiana in Pelourinho
Orixas in the water and the futebo…
Orixas in the water and the futeb…
Im not sure who this is...
I'm not sure who this is...