View of Salvador from the ferry
For our first weekend in Brazil, some of my roomates and other volunteers decided to take a trip to Morro de Sao Paulo,
a town on the island of Tinhare, 308 km south of
Salvador. On Friday afternoon, we went down to the port
at Mercado Modelo, purchased tickets and got on the catamaran just in
time. For those with troubled stomachs, there is also the option to fly
or drive south and then take a much shorter boat trip to the island.
was a bright beautiful day and as we backed away from the dock, we got
a fantastic view of Salvador. I stayed out on the deck for awhile and
soaked up some sun and sea water. It got a little choppy after awhile,
but it was fun.
Approaching Morro de Sao Paulo
After two hours we approached the island of Tinhare and
the town of Morro-- rolling hills covered with palm trees and tropical
greenery. At the dock there were plenty of locals waiting to greet us
with wheelbarrows. They were hoping we would pay them push our luggage
in the wheelbarrows and show us to hotels. We thought this was a little
silly and we declined their offers. Several of them continued to follow
us. As we got on the island and walked up steps, we realized that there
were no roads and noticed that the wheelbarrows had the word "taxi"
written on the side. This made us laugh, but we still declined their
offers. So we kept walking along a sandy path through the "First
Beach". It was full of restaurants, hotels and expensive boutiques.
After a long walk, we ended up on the Third Beach where we decided to
A "road" in Morro and a "taxi driver"
Most hotels were fully booked and/or out of our price range. We
were looking to spend no more than 25 Reais per night. Someone told us
it was a holiday weekend and that was why it was so packed. It seemed
like every weekend in Brazil was a holiday weekend! Eventually, with
the help of a "taxi driver", we found a hotel and talked our way into
$R25 a night. So for about $12 US per night, we had clean, simple rooms
with air conditioning, hammocks outside our doors, and a pool. Not bad
at all! Who needs a fancy room when you don't plan on spending much
time in it?
After settling in, we wandered around a bit.
The island had a really relaxed vibe to it and you could hear reggae
music floating out from all of the bars and restaurants. We got ready
for dinner and looked for a place to eat.
Dinner on our first night in Morro
We ate at typical American
time which must have been pretty early. No one else was eating yet and
every restaurant we walked by tried to convince us that they had the
best food. Finally, we settled on one that offered us free beverages,
had a menu in English, and a table right on the beach. At night, the
Second Beach transforms. The lounge chairs and umbrellas are put away
and fruitsand drink kiosks are set up. These were much like the ones in
Pelourinho, but there were many more of them with more fruit options.
Everywhere there were beautiful displays of coconut, lime, oranges,
mango, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, bananas, and some fruits I had
never seen before. The restaurants and bars that line the beaches
filled up and eventually it became a huge beach party. At one of the
stands, we started to make conversation with one of the vendors. He
asked me where I was from and I told him I was from
California. He looked at me and pointed to his own dark skin and said,
"No, no, no. You are from Bahia!"