(Religious) Performance & Cocktails
Salvador da Bahia Travel Blog› entry 4 of 45 › view all entries
Taxi journey negotiated I was trying to negotiate my bearing in the Pelhourino when I experienced my first (and only) bit of hassle; a guy came up to me and was insistent that I go see his hostel/ pousada, after consistently telling him I had a reservation elsewhere I had to finally resort to International Sign language, not my favoured method of communication but in situations like this was definitely justified.
After checking into my new hostel I headed off to a Candomble ceremony in one of Salvador's favela's (don't worry it was with a guide), the ceremony itself is a religious ceremony that was bought over to Brazil with the African slaves. There were at the peak of the evening around 200 people our guide estimated crammed into this tiny highly decorated hall, with very little air-con and sweltering heat.
Sunday, my final day was a pretty chilled affair as I'd visited most things in Salvador that were high on my list except for the Church of Bonfim, so off I ventured on a bus to see why this place attracts so many visitors.
The church itself sits at the top of a hill with amazing views across the city and as well as buying fitas to tie to your wrist you can buy a bunch to tie to the gates outside, as a result the gates are festooned with a plethora of colours that streamed in the passing breeze - a great sight to see and one which in the sun would not fail to cheer up even the most miserable of people. I am not usually one for superstition but the fita I am now wearing is as much a symbol of my time in Bahia as it is for the hope that the areas where I need some luck in my life come good.
The reason why many come to Bonfim is that they believe the place has the power to cure people's ills, the Room of Miracles as its known is a little bit of a spooky scene with replicas of various body parts in wood and wax that people want curing hanging from the ceiling and the walls are covered in pictures of the cured and those hoping to be cured. The church also holds special significance to those who practice the Candomble religion as for a time their religion was banned and in order to be pratictised openly they syncronized their gods with the figures in the bible, with Jesus Christ (Nosso Senhor do Bonfim) representing Oxala their highest deity and therefore the church of Bonfim is their most important church.
After snapping away like a Japanese tourist I had to brave my fear of a new language and ask how to get the bus back to the city centre, which I successfully managed (I am hoping my range of Portuguese sayings will grow over 6 weeks).
Well I hope that gives a flavour of my time in Bahia, next stop BRASILIA!