So much happens in one day that I feel like I have been here for a month and it hasnt even been a week. I started class on Monday and tested in to a beginning intermediate level, which is great. Theres only four of us and we are all from a different country. Im the only girl and the youngest one. There someone from Italy, Japan, and England. Our teacher, Roboulo (I think - Brazilian names are so difficult!) is young and fun. I like that he always talks to us about culture and where to go and what to do in Salvador. He´s a true Bahian. I am so in love with Brazilian culture and warmness. On Monday I went to Prai do Flamingo with Sara, a girl from Sacramento. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought it would be a quick trip to what is supposed to be the nicest beach in Salvador.
Ilha dos Frades
Side note, there are beaches EVERYWHERE and one about 10 min from my house. Anyways, we had to wait for a bus, which dont have schedules, so whenever they feel like coming, we flag them down, since they dont stop unless you do so. So that took about 45 minutes, then once we got on, the bus drove along the coast for about 40 minutes. I kept looking around thinking, OK, one of the beaches has got to be it. Well, I asked the driver and he told us he let us know. After another 20 minutes past all kinds of favelas and what looked like a trip into the deep inland, Sara and I were the only ones on the bus. This started to make me a little nervous, as it was already almost 4 pm and the sun sets here at 6. Finally, when we got there it was literally out in the middle of nowhere on this one lane street far from any civiliation.
Ilha dos Frades
The beach was beautiful, but I would have been just as happy at any of the 500 beaches we passed along the way. The difference in this one was the many cabanna huts and clean, touristy services. I felt as if I was in a nice and tropical version of Rosarito. We had one drink, the tide was already too high to go on the beach and the sun began to set. Once the sun sets, thats my sign that I should be home, or with a big group of people carrying nothing valuable and definitely no purse. Well, we still had to catch a bus back. Two hours later, on a wooden plank for a bus stop, our bus finally came. I cant explain how our worry started to eat away at us as we sat there on that lonely street waiting for a bus with no schedule that may not even come. By the time we got back to the city and anywhere close to where we live we were exhausted.
Agua de Coco (cocunut water) em Ilha (island) des Frades
My walk home from the bus stop (which is all up steep hills) was accompanied by a heavy rain that had me completely soaked to the core by the time I patheticly showed up on my doorstep. It was definitely a learning experience, and I think I had my share of Praia do Flamingo!
On the brighter side, I went out Tuesday night in Pelourinho with my friend Natalie. We had dinner in San Antonio which overlooks the bay and watched the sunset. Salvador is one of the few places in the world where you can watch the sunrise and the sunset on the water (since there is the Atlantic, and a huge bay). Afterwards, we went to the center to watch Gernanimo, a live band that sets up every Tuesday night in front of the many steps of the cathedral. With our lataos in hand, ready to dance, just as the band started to play, it started to rain.
Island of Itaparica
And it didnt stop. It began to pour and everyone ran for cover. As we shivered half covered by a ledge, a group of afro-brazilian girls came running past us laughing and dancing in the rain. Natalie, being British and immune to the rain jumped out to join them. It wasn´t long before all of us were dancing in the rain to our own beat. I felt like a little kid and had so much fun! Soon Momo, a dancer from Romania came out and joined us. We danced in the middle of everyone who was trying to find shelter, they looked at us like we were crazy, but we were having twenty times more fun than them. We danced until the rain started to slow down and people came out from hiding. By this time, there was not an inch of dryness on my body. We then went and found an outdoor bar with live samba music and danced so much that we ended up drying off before we went home.
Island of Itaparica
Brazilians are amazing dancers, but they are very patient and welcoming. I learned a lot that night and had a great time!
I started an Afro-Brazilian dance class yesterday. I did a class at the school, which was pretty fun, but then the teacher told me about a class in Pelourinho at night at a dance school. Natalie and I went, and man, we were absolutely dripping in sweat at the end! It was soooo much fun though! There were a lot of people, and we were the only foreigners and only white people. We danced to the rythm of live drums who made the beat to what we did. I had a great time and think I will be using this class instead of the gym. There are tons of different types of dance at that school, which I intend to explore (since they only cost 5 bucks a session).
Capoeira em Itaparica
Unfortunately, everyone at my school comes and goes every week. Natalie and Sara are both leaving next week, so that sucks. There will be new students, but it looks like I am just going to have to get used to saying goodbye a lot. boo.
Anyways, I have to go do some shopping. The exchange rate is a little higher today. :) Im going to Rio Vermelho tonight, which is supposed to be a really fun area at night. Well see!