Salvador and the Bouncy Catamaran

January 3, 2010 - 9:20 am No Comments

Had a great night’s sleep in our very well air-conditioned room. Breakfast was served right on schedule. The tomato and basil omelet was delicious, but the strawberry yogurt tasted like Pepto Bismol.

Ronaldo picked us up for our Salvador city tour. He was young and friendly, and his English was adequate. We got into his car and he took us for a drive through the city and to Barra (which I think is pronounced by the locals as “bah”), where an old lighthouse fort sits on the tip of the peninsula.

Two Guys in Salvador

We drove around the city a bit more, past the local fútbol stadium and some poor neighborhoods. The graffiti here is (and in Rio, too) is pretty impressive. It’s a shame that the rest of the city doesn’t have the charm of Pelourinho, but at the same time, there is a beautiful simplicity to poverty that is interesting in its own way. I’d love to hop around some of these neighborhoods and take photos, but that’s just not possible for the average tourist.

Then back into Pelourinho for a walking tour. It was very warm and humid, so we were sweating lots. Ronaldo knew EVERYONE. He’d stop on the street to say hello to friends and pop into every other shop to have a quick conversation.

Colors of Pelourinho

Painting Canvas in Pelourinho

Capoeira in Pelourinho

We went inside the rather plain-looking Igreja de Sa?o Francisco and found the inside to be magnificent, with ornate, gold-covered trim everywhere and high, painted ceilings. Definitely a hidden gem.

Inside Igreja de Sa?o Francisco

After saying goodbye to Ronaldo, we stopped for yet another all-you can-eat meat feast for lunch, and I had a refreshing truly delicious caipirinha de kiwi.

For the rest of the afternoon, Gog and I explored Pelourinho and the immediate area ourselves.

Zumbi Dos Palmares

We took Salvador’s famous elevator from Pelourinho down to the “Lower Town” and visited the Mercado Modelo, a huge structure built to house locals selling the same crappy canvas paintings, t-shirts, and hats.

Salvador's Lower Town

Bustling Inside Mercado Modelo

At the marina, kids dove into the water, each trying to outdo the last, stopping for a moment to ask us for money.

Backflip into the Marina

Sunset at Salvador Marina

The sun was setting, so we stuck around for a few minutes but then got the fuck out of there and returned to the safety of Pelourinho before it got dark.

Sunset at Salvador Marina

Lower Town Sculpture & Elevador Lacerda

Dusk in Pelorinho

Seeking dinner and nightlife, we followed Marco’s recommendation and went to an area in the city called Jardim Brasil. The one place that seemed to be hopping was Bohemia Club. Music was blaring, but the windows were tinted so we couldn’t really see inside.

In swimsuits, stinky t-shirts, and sandals, Gog and I went inside. There were no other tourists in there, just locals who were pretty dressed up. We got some looks of curiosity, but Gog and I did our best to blend in and enjoyed a beer.

From there, we took a taxi to Barra and explored the area on our own. The busiest bars were gay bars, so we kept walking (we are not gay) and didn’t find many other places with people in them. The crowd thinned out even more when it started to rain. Overall, I’m a little disappointed with the nightlife in a city this big.

Right now, we’re on our way to Morro de São Paulo, an island paradise near Salvador recommended to us by all of our drivers and guides. We’re in a high-speed catamaran, bouncing over the body of water between Salvador and Morro, the Bay of All Saints. We’re just going for the day.

The tomato and basil omelet in my stomach is considering a revolt, so it’s time to put away the laptop.

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