Brazeeeeeeeeeel.. a whistlestop tour !!! Rio to Salvador.

Salvador da Bahia Travel Blog

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yep, Ok I know its spelt with an "I" but it was for dramatic effect ok  !!!

26 hours after setting off from Argentina, we finally arrived at stupid o clock to the crappy bus terminal in Rio De Janiero ! But we were undaunted, finally we were in RIO !! I spent my time humming Girl from Ipanema ( even though we weren`t staying there), Copacabana ( Barrry Manilow.. Thanks mum for subjecting me to him at an early age so the songs stuck!!!).. and the theme tune of the terrible Michael Caine movie "Blame it on Rio".. which kept me entertained while we searched for the non existant tourist office ! Eventually we called it quits and jumped a taxi to our hostal.. which was not a hostal at all but an APARTMENT (yay!) , with seperate rooms, kitchen etc which was wonderful as we think the dodgy empanadas that we had eaten about 20 hours into the bus ride were starting to have a bit of a negative effect !

We tried to ingore the rumblings below and had our first view of copacabana beach during the day ( as everyone kept telling us it was too dodgy to visit at night !), i was a bit disappointed as it was not the bikini clad, g-string sporting beach of babes as I had been lead to believe. In fact most of the ladies (even though wearing the afore mentioned mico bikini) looked like the "before" shot from a TV infomercial about a new fitness machine ! and the men ( of which there were many more) were all sporting mico speedoes under their voluminous beer and rodizio fed bellies ! not that pleasant, but quite funny !
After our fill of this, we got some cash and essentially retired to our apartment for the rest of the evening with some beers and home cooked food to try to settle our now extremly "excitable" stomachs !
The next day was not much better and the muffins for breakfast did not have the required "immodium" effect to make the dream of doing the hang gliding a reality ! So Instead we jumped the bus to sugarloaf mountain ( there are lots of toilets around this tourist trap) to enjoy the amazing views ! It was especially good as this was the cable car used by James bond and Jaws !! which was very exciting !
After an abortive search for the metro back to copacabana, ending up with us walking via both the Yacht club ( V posh) and downtown Botafoga ( not V nice) we jumped a bus home for another night in nursing bad stomachs !
New day, same shit ( if you excuse the pun !) this time we made it up to the Christ statue for even more amazing views and ended the day with a cappy on ipanema beach ( we had to do it , even though we were only there for about 20 mins before we had to run back for the next "emergency" )! That night I thought I would try an old remedy and cooked the hottest curry I could manage in the hope it would kill of whatever was making us ill !

Well, It worked, last morning in Rio and finally we felt better, but by this time it was a bit late for the handgliding as we had a flight booked to salvador that afternoon ! ( same price as the bus and only 2 hours insead of 20 !!), so we spent the morning splashing in the surf at copacabana and lamenting the fact we did not have longer to stay here, but promising one day we would come back and do it proper style !

After years of flying with my job, What happened at the airport really made me feel like a twat ! I had left my penknife ( one of the most critical items we carry) in my hand luggage !! Arrrggghh ! how stupid ! so we had to go back through and check in again, taking ages and leaving very little time to get through, which especially pissed H off as there was a branch of Sobral Jewellery at the airport that she now had no time to brouse in ( and as we would later find out, this was the only branch !!! shit !!) but we made the plane ok, and by that evening we were checked into a great hostal, and were sat on a beachfront restaurant enjoying the sundown in the delightful barrio of Barra in Salvador!

The next day was a Tuesday, the famed "party night" in salvador centre, so after a days beaching and shopping, we headed into the centre at sunset to catch some of the fun. And fun it was, there were roving gangs of drummers hitting the streets being followed by inebriated gringoes trying to dance the "samba" behind them ( great fun to watch !! ), and had dinner on a samba patio watching the band play until the wee hours when we got a taxi home .. excellent fun.. with only one worrying note.... Our hostal was on a one way street, and the taxi should have dropped us off 50 m down the road (we were happy to walk) but he insisted on driving us all the way up to the door ( in reverse) as he said this area was sooo dodgy after dark that even 50 m is too far to walk !! eeeep !

The rest of our time in salvador was spent basically on the pristine beaches, swimming in the surf and generally living the life of riley ! we tried some Prawn Gumbo ( a local speciality) and relished the fact our digestive systems were back in gear so we could enjoy the fantastic Brazillain Fayre ! We ventured back into the centre once more to take some photos of the amazing buildings during the daytime, and if where the hostal was , was considered dodgy, it was nothing compared to the centre, even in the day.. a prime example of the type of people and conversations we had is as follows :
Gringo couple walk into the town square and are approcahed by a young loacl Brazilian Man...
"hola, you speak English?"
" why, yes we do!"
"excellent , I have a restaurnat with very good seafood.. you want to eat "
"no thanks, we have just eaten"
" You want to go on a boat tour, I have a boat tour company"
"no thanks, we are leaving tomorrow"
" you want a spanish language course, my friend here is a teacher "  - enter shaking crack addict to the conversation... " Hola"..
" umm no thanks, we have to be leaving....."
"You want some drugs? I have marajuana, coke etc"
" umm, no thanks, we are not into that --- byee !!! "
" you give me some money ? I am very poor and have a bad day !!"

etc etc etc.... everyone was after something ! but by keeping the austere "british" indifference going, we managed to escape unscathed !

Our Last day in salvador was welcomed by a massive change in the weather, whereas before,  each day was blisteringly hot and sunny, we awoke on the final morning to torrential downpours ! but we did not mind as this day we were off to Belem , on the mouth of the amazon !
So after a short lunch ( made interesting by the waiter wailing on some por street kid who was hassling the customers !) we caught a taxi to the bus terminal and boarded the "Sit up and Beg" non luxury bus for the 33 hr planned journey to Belem !

Amazon adventures to follow !!
Caio.M&H xxx

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