quarta-feira, 24 de outubro de 2012

Salvador Part 1 10-24 to 10-25-2012

October 24, 2012 

Nowhere to go: 
After attempting to book a flight out of Rio from a bogus travel site, we were stranded at the hostel at 4am bewildered. Tipsy and tired, we decided to sleep off the confusion. I was woken up at 11am by Steve shaking my shoulder. "They're kicking us out." He said. "The skydive instructor was put on probation and the company is upset with the hostel. The just told me they have no more rooms available." I glanced over at the two empty beds beside me? "Really" I said. "Yeah man, we gotta go." Now whether they were upset or just joking, we will never know. But I did know that that claimed to be fully booked so we had nowhere to sleep that night in Rio. So we did whatever any logical travel would do. We packed up our bags and took a cab to the airport with no idea where to go.
After we had to leave the hostel
It had always been a thought of mine to show up to an airport with no plans and to book whatever flight seemed to suite my fancy. It is the ultimate expression of freedom and adventure. Steve and I decided to just go for it. To fly by the seat of our pants (no pun intended). So when the driver asked us which terminal to take us to, I smiled and said "I have no idea." When we arrived at the first ticket terminal I said "Vose fala engles." She shook her head "no" Okay, time to put my Portuguese to practice. "Cuanto es Salvador?" I said. "500 reales" she replied. "Caro, ao estudiante" was my Spanglo/Portuguese attempt to say "expensive, I'm a student." Since both Spanish and Portuguese are romance languages, there is often subtle overlap in the words. She smiled and said "nao," which means no. I proceeded to list off every major destination to fly to in Brazil but Salvador seemed like the best option, so we booked it! After jumping to the front of the check in line to save time, we passed security and arrived at the gate just as the flight was boarding.
Buying last minute tickets to Salvador
Arriving in Salvador
We arrived at our hostel in Barra and immediately rushed off to find some food to eat.  One thing that we noticed was that the prices were twice as cheap, the food portions were twice as big and the taste was twice as salty.  We ordered one stewed beef dish for the two of us.  The was we ordered was that we picked the coolest sounding name on the menu since nothing made sense to us.  We lucked out with great food.  We walked to the local market to pick up some exotic fruit and then headed to the beach to watch an unofficial youth soccer match;  We chatted overlooking the waves about the differences between Salvador and Rio.  Our conclusions were that most of the people are Black/Brazilian, it is much less touristy, a little gritty, it felt like we were really traveling instead of resort hopping, the food is way different and the fruit way better. As we sat overlooking the ocean, we sipped our sip coconut milk and discussed how cool we were that we were in Brazil and all our friends were probably still at work.  Hmmm..Now that im typing this, our night sounds kinda bromantic.  I can assure that there was no kissing and we both slept in separate beds.

October 25, 2012

The best place to see all of the history and culture of the founding city of Brazil in Pelouorinho. This was the first major city and home of 80 percent black/brazilians secondary to the prominent history of African slaves in the area. We took a bus to the historic city and set off to find tour guide. Searching for a tour guide: The guidebook told us that it didn't matter whether you chose a local tour guide or an official as long as they seemed knowledgeable and spoke good English. So we set off to find a guide. The first guide we tested was terrible. He would only know his memorized facts in English and when I would ask him something outside the norm he would just nod his head and say yes. "What year was this church built" I wold say. His response "Yes...Yes..."
The main square
Marco the tour guide: 
The second guide we tried passed all of our tests and we negotiated a price. He agreed and took us on an incredible tour of the old city. We started at a church, worked our way into the streets to see the men who made the instruments for carnival, talked about the architecture, saw the center square where blacks used to be whipped, the black church that they built for themselves when slaves, where Michael Jackson sang one of his songs and filmed a video (this seemed to be very important), thew market, a caporera martial arts demonstration that both Steve and I got pulled up into and road the city elevator which takes you from the lower market to the upper city. It was pretty damn cool. A fun three hour tour filled with information.
Kissing The Bahian Womans Hand
San Fransico Church of Fake Gold

Marco negotiating prices for us at the store for cachaca booze
Steve getting a Caipoera lesson
Fish at the fish market
The elevator from the market city to the historic city
Overlooking the bay
With Marco at a nice Kilo resturant
Our cachaca that we bought - cheers for dinner
 Beware of the Bracelts: 
There are people in Salvador who go up to you and give you three flimsy bracelets for free, say its from the church and you need to make three wishes. You cannot take them off until the wishes come true. They then say that they helped you and you need to help them. They take out Jewlery for you to buy. Steve and I saw many ladies tricked in these schemes and Marcos told us to watch out. 
A tourist getting swindeled

We needed to kill some time before a dance show so we visited the Afro Brazilian Museum, watched a street performing drum band of children and chatted. While waiting, we saw a tour agency and decided to poke our heads in to kill some time and see prices. We were amazed by the tranquil beauty of a place they showed us called chapada. Exotic caves, diving, hiking and waterfalls had us sold. We decided that we soaked in enough culture from Salvador in a day and we would leave that night on a 6 hour overnight bus ride to Chapada.  Right before the bus we had just enough time to grab some moqueca to eat and shower.
really good moqueca

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