African Music, Carnival (Food), and Poverty...

Salvador da Bahia Travel Blog

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Salvador celebrating Sao Joao
Our arrival to Bahia was a little rough. After a long night on a bus we arrived to a daunting situation at the bus station that took a little time to figure out (if you are going to Barra grab the bus next to the shopping mall). So after some crappy portuguese we were off to the shore, however once we arrived there we had trouble founding a hostel of our liking (HI hotels are a little too souless for us sometimes) so we grabbed another bus to the Pelorinho area and found a basic but nice hostel there. Although Pelorinho is not on the beach it is in some ways nicer as it is more historic and quaint. On the other hand, the numbers of crazy people and hungry children was a little more than we could easily handle.
A nice refurnished Mercado
 Well, that's Brazil. So the first day we spent walking around, seeing the Mercado Modelo (quite nice food and good music) and chilling. We were exhausted from rushing down Brazil so we were looking forward to staying in one place for a few days. At night we walked around Pelorinho where the cool music (and that goes in the Mile Davis definition of cool) bounced off the walls and around corners from several places, never quite loud enough to mix in an unsavory manner, but always reminding you that this place has a decidedly strong African influence. So we sat down had a beer, enjoyed the music, and had a nice night. The second day we took a bus back to the Barra area to chill on the beach. The beaches in this area are beautiful and somewhat crowded on the weekends. We walked around a lot, ate food by the pound, and sat on the beach some more.
A not so refurnished facade where the hobos and puppies live
 A great Sunday afternoon at the beach. We returned to the Pelourinho area to find there was a par-tay going on. It was the festival of Sao Joao complete with tons of booths for beer, liquor, local food specalties, carnival food specialties, and all the music you could ask for. We decided that instead of having a real dinner, we would just try all of the street food. It was delicious, including the carnival food. After a few beers we found ourselves in the reggae bar, a little out of place but having a good time anyway. Then we went to a club with a cover charge and a minumin drink requirement. We filled the drink requirement no problem with the local specialty Caipirinha and grooved to the eclectic mix of reggae and traditional African music. Realizing we needed nothing more to drink, we bounced from the club and went to look for more street food to put on top of all the alcohol. To finish off the night we found hot dogs, and they were delicious as only a night of partying can make them. The next morning we slept in late and Em felt really hungover from too much alcohol and too much carnival food. Around noon we dragged ourseleves to the bus stop and went to yet another beach (did we mention that Brazil has nice beaches and a lot of them?). This beach, called Itapoa, is apparantly famous, and with good reason. Its about 20 km out of Salavdor and has great views of the city, as well as soft white sand, and lots of little places to eat good sea food. We spent the day recovering here by swimming, eating, and lots of walking. After getting enough from the beach, we took a walk up to the Lagoa do Abaete, a freshwater lake surrounded by dunes and trees with good views of the ocean behind it. Then we took the bus back to the Barra area to catch a movie. Same old story with the movie selection, bad Hollywood crap. Forget that. So back to Pelourinho we went with the festival still going strong. It was a Sunday night though so it wasn´t as wild. We decided not to partake and tried to sleep early. However, we were stirred from our sleep by a unconceivably loud drumming troupe right outside our window and had to get up to check it out. Man, this city is cool. Our last day in Salvador was a rainy one so we didn´t do too much. We got some errands done and spent some time on the internet. We got to the bus station early hoping to get tickets to Porto Seguro but we were too late and had to take buses to a different places. So instead of the bus leaving at 8, it was leaving at 10. That means 5 hours at the mall accross the street. Awesome. We walked around the mall for a while, watched Ocean´s 13 which was throughly entertaining, ate dinner, and walked around the mall some more. Finally, it came time for the bus to leave and we were relieved as neither of us had ever spent so much time in a mall. It was a horrible mall, but then again, most of them are.
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Salvador celebrating Sao Joao
Salvador celebrating Sao Joao
A nice refurnished Mercado
A nice refurnished Mercado
A not so refurnished facade where …
A not so refurnished facade where…