Barra in Bahia

Next morning we packed, returning the room we had been sleeping in back to Simon & Rahel for use as an office. Time was getting on so Colin went to buy water and guarana for the bus trip to Salvador. As he walked to the nearby corner shop, he noticed Simon’s car was missing. Enquiries revealed he had sent it to be cleaned after our trip to the bush and it hadn’t been returned yet. As he was taking us to the bus station, this was a little concerning. No problem, as he had already enlisted the services of a Pastor who had popped in for a chat and had his own car. Saying our goodbyes to Rahel and the girls was a little sad, as we had come to really enjoy being part of their family in the past couple of weeks.

Luggage in car we were off to the bus station in Floriano. The main concern about being a little late was that we still had to buy tickets for the first part of our trip, from Floriano to Picos. We had to catch this bus as it was the only way to make our connection from Picos to Salvador. Tickets bought, sighs of relief taken we said our goodbyes to Simon. We really appreciated him giving us the chance to help and putting up with us in his and Rahel’s home, and their great company. It will be good to meet up with them again, and we pray for God’s blessing on the new church in Barao.

And we're off!

The trip to Salvador itself was a bit of a marathon. First was a 3 & 1/2 hour bus trip to Picos. After a 4 hour wait there we caught the next bus for the 13 hour journey to Salvador overnight. The second bus was very comfortable, for Colin but for Lindsey it was a nightmare. The seat design definitely suited the longer body. Somehow she got in some sleep, after a couple of episodes of the West Wing. After the Rancho and Floriano the city of Salvador was a bit of a culture shock. It has the largest population of descendants from African slaves brought to Brazil in the 1800′s, and has a very large Macumba influence.

Macumba is an Afro-Brazilian religion that combines traditional African religions, Brazilian spiritualism, and in some descriptions Roman Catholicism. For instance, when the Catholic missionaries originally preached to the Macumba followers instead of disagreeing with Catholicism they simply renamed some of their own deities to match Catholic theology. As an example, the goddess of the sea was rebadged as the Virgin Mary.  Candomble is the best known sect that practices Macumba and its practices are very evident, especially around Carnival. On that note, the Carnival in Salvador is second only in size to Rio.

Salvador from the hotel

And from the other side....

We booked a prepaid taxi from the bus station to our hotel, to avoid negotiating throng of drivers that were trying to move us towards their cars. The hotel did us a favour and made the room available early as we arrived in Salvador at 8am. Thank you very much, Rio Verhmelo! So, after some food we set off to explore the town. Based on the information in our Lonely Planet guides, we started with the ‘Pelo’, or the Pelourinho, which was the business centre of the town but also contained most of the older buildings of the original city.

Not our kind of town!

It was a lively place with plenty of places to eat and drink, but didn’t have a very welcoming feeling. Maybe this was because of the more evident signs of Macumba practices, some of which include vengeful & demonic rituals, not exactly leaving the followers happy & joyful! Jesus is needed here.

Also some of the older buildings seemed almost derelict…….time to move on. We caught a taxi down to the Barra, a part of the city which lay along the Atlantic coastline. It included the main port, a couple of beaches and the oldest fort and lighthouse of this historic city.

Any room for us on the beach??

The perfect place to see the sunset

We saw a great sunset from the old lighthouse hill,

Quick, to the lighthouse for the view!

Beautiful!

This guys guitar playing the sunset in was amazing

then wandered along the beachfront road, grabbing some food from one of the livelier bars while we watched Flamengo win a cup match on penalties. Ronaldinho plays for them now and it was obviously the favourite team of the soccer mad locals. The pastel (pronounced pash-Tay-u), we ate is a traditional Brazilian food, something like a Cornish pasty, but filled only with meat. The one we had here was fabulous.

The walk along the seafront

It was obviously close to Carnival time and we saw a float of Hari Krishnas practicing for it as we walked towards our hotel.

A bit different to the UK versions of Hare Krishna!

Despite the reputation of Salvador for being a little dangerous for visitors after dark, the walk along the seafront was great. Maybe we were beginning to blend in after 3 weeks………or we just looked like tramps who didn’t have the price of a cup of coffee on them.

All walked out, we headed to a traditional Brazilian Churrascaria for dinner. It is named after the style of cooking, called churrasco, which comes from the Portuguese word for barbecue.

So all of this is for me?

The food was good but we also learned the traffic light system used in many of these places. You have a table mat which is green on one side and red on the other. When you start eating, it is green side up, if you don’t turn it over to red, they just keep on bringing you more food. Thanks go to our good friend Fi Hatton…..oops Nichols…….for tipping us off about this.

Ok, we're stuffed, please stop bringing more food!!

The next day, we were on the move again. We had taken Simon and Rahel’s recommendation and booked a couple of nights on an island close to Salvador called Tinhare, staying in place called Morro de Sao Paulo.

 

 

One Response to “Barra in Bahia”

  1. Geoff & Joey says:

    Enough of this work malarchy. I’m coming out to join you. See you in the morning.

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