“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” Mark Twain

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Salvador, Brazil - Days 1 and 2

Unfortunately, Salvador was not my favorite port (though I do not have a least favorite) and there are 2 things that contributed to this one was that there was a heightened sense of danger here and the second was that Rob, one of the LLCs, and his family had to suddenly leave because his wife’s father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was not doing well.  So they left from Salvador and returned home to be with him and their family.  They made it back in time to say their goodbyes and I firmly believe that when he heard they were returning he held on to say goodbye.  Having Rob leave has left a big void in our staff and saying goodbye before “it was time” was more difficult than I thought it would be.  I was pretty much a mess and had trouble controlling my emotions which I guess it is not a bad thing.  Since that was the 2nd day of the trip it definitely put a cloud over the rest of the experience.  I realized the importance of saying the things you always mean to say to the people you care about.  Also on the first night when I got back to the ship we heard stories of people being mugged in broad daylight that added to the negative energy here.  What is interesting though is as I walked around I never really felt unsafe, but I still kept my guard up and clutched my belongings wherever I went.  A lot of people left Salvador to head to Rio or the Amazon so by the 2nd day most of the people from our group were out of town.  If I do this voyage again I would probably opt to do one of those trips.

Anyway, there were some very good moments in Salvador and the old city area was beautiful and like I said I felt safe almost the whole time we were there.  The first day in Salvador I headed off of the ship with Laura, Marvel (one of the counselors), her daughter Siphan, and their friend Gayle.  We had been talking about repeating our time together that we had spent in Tokyo and since this was the last port this was the day!!  In order to get from where the ship was in the lower area to the higher area we had to take an elevator up.  So we did this and headed to the old town.  We stopped first for a delicious cup of coffee and then moved towards the Pelourinho area. 

As we were walking in and out of shops the sky opened up and luckily we were stationed in a shop where Marvel was making a large transaction (she was buying soccer jerseys for Siphan’s soccer team) so we planted ourselves here and watched the rain go by.  Recently in Brazil there were some major mudslides in Rio and even this area has been affected by it so when it rains it pours and the heavy rains really effect living conditions in Salvador and around Brazil.  Also because of the way the city is built on many hills with cobblestone roads the rains flow into the favellas (the poorer areas, their equivalent to townships) and effects the poorer areas more so then those in affluent communities.
A coconut payphone??

This is from a graffiti artist I was really drawn to:
When the rain cleared we kept walking and ended up at an Italian restaurant, shared some dishes and then waited out the rain again!  Luckily this was really our rainiest day and the other days would prove to be dryer.  On our walk back we stopped in Pelourhino square to watch a video being filmed for the Brazilian World Cup team.  The band Olodum (who are huge in Brazil – they were in a video with Michael Jackson) and Brazilian popstars Jammil were part of this video shoot as were some of our students.  It was fun to see some of the students dancing in the video and hopefully I will get to see the final product at some point. 

We left this area and Laura and I parted ways from the rest of our group and walked around some more, taking pictures as we went.  We ended at the restaurant, Cantina da Lua, which was named on a blog as the best bar in the world.  Now I have been to a lot of bars in the world and it was fine but I would not say it was the best ever.  I did try my first caipirinha (Brazil’s national cocktail…does the US have one??) which is this mojito type drink made with cachaca (a liquor made from distilled sugar), muddled sugar and lots of lime…it was quite tasty.  After running in to some students there they insisted we tried what they were eating and we both ordered it.  The traditional Brazilian dish was called escondidinho and Laura described it as some sort of shrimp and grits like dish. The gritlike substancecwas made from cassava and we ordered one that had shrimp and the other with chicken.  After this great traditional meal it was back to the ship for me.

Day 2

Debbie (an LLC friend), Allie (a Field Office friend) and I left the ship in the morning to walk around a little bit because the plan for the day was to meet up with some other people around noon when they were done with some trips and then head to the beach.  Part of what we went to see was the Igrega e Convento Sao Francisco (San Francisco Church) which is second in richness to the Vatican in gold. 
When we returned to the ship is when we received the news about Rob and his family leaving.  So we changed our plans and went back out to the old city to walk around so we could be back on the ship by 7pm so that we could be part of a little going away celebration. 
More Salvador photos:

We went to this little Coffee Bar/Bar that was owned by a man that Midhun had met the day before.  We sat there for some time chatting and getting advice from the bar owner.  It was a really great way to spend an afternoon when the mood of the day started out so crappy. 
Here is a caipirinha being mixed up:
The graffiti artist also painted a mural in this bar (I wish I knew the artist's name):
Before heading back to the ship we went to a “tapas” restaurant that he recommended called Zulu.  The menu was definitely interesting but we ended up getting fries with chorizo (cut up hotdogs), Nachos (Doritos with cheese sauce…why don’t we use Doritos for Nachos!!!), and potatoes with garlic cheese dipping sauce.  This satisfied our need for bar food! 
Back to the ship for the going away celebration which of course was sad and this is when I sobbed much!  Afterwards Midhun and I attempted to go out but when we got to the bar/club we were looking for it looked kind of sketchy and we did not see any other taxis outside so we decided to come back to the ship…so much for going out in Brazil.


  1. Stacey-
    You might have had a caipirinha last summer on the 4th of July, that's what Marc was making for everyone. Either way, they were probably better there!

  2. If you ever find the name of that artist, let me know!