Saturday, March 04, 2006


I met up with Laura, Matt, and Mica and we flew out of São Paulo together. Once we got to Salvador and I met up with Marcos, we pretty much split up. I’ve only seen the other students once, except Mica whom I saw twice when Marcos and I went to their hostel to give her some papers and then the next day to go to the polícia federal. I have been hanging out with Marcos and Mariangelica a lot though. Marcos has lived here for 33 years so he definitely knows his way around the city. A lot more than some guide at a pousada anyway. He has gotten us (me, Mariangelica, Candace, and himself) passes to sit in Camarote Universitário for Friday Feb. 25th and Sunday Feb. 27th and we’ll be marching with a bloco on Monday the 28th. In the Camarote (kind of like VIP section standing room only type stuff), we’ll get to see the trio-eletricos and performances from a big balcony. This way we won’t have to worry about being trampled to death in case of a riot. A bloco is a roped off group that follows a trio-eletrico (a huge 18 wheeler/RV type deal that has a huge sound system and a band or group playing on it). I think the bloco deal is a once in a lifetime thing. It’s definitely not something you can do in the Carnaval do Rio de Janeiro (requires a whole other explanation. Look it up on Wikipedia or google it and compare the Rio Carnaval with that of Salvador and Recife.)
We went to the Pelourinho (historic district of Salvador) which was really awesome. We saw some drumming groups, some cool Candomblé Orixá stuff, lots of awesome people, and I picked up a nice little painting from some native Bahian painters who personalized it a little bit for me. The painting was only R$10, so that’s a pretty sweet deal.
I did witness some pretty crazy stuff though. Some guy was taunting some of the Polícia Militar and went a little too far. They pretty much beat this guy to the ground with batons (they=about 8 policemen), and then took him off, and then they all had their guns drawn basically daring people to mess with them like he did. Although this sort of thing happens in the US, I don’t think police can just act out like that. The thing that makes the Polícia Militar (military police) intimidating is they walk around with their batons and guns fully exposed. I mean, they’re harnessed, but you definitely know what’s there and they don’t hide it. They also show absolutely no emotion. I haven’t seen one of them smile or laugh or anything that resembles something other than a stone-faced police officer. We don’t have military police like this in the US so that’s good. It just reminded me somehow of growing up in Salisbury. I mean I never saw anything like that, but it reminded me of being in/seeing lots of fights and cops in the neighborhood a lot at night.
Regardless, from the moment I stepped off the bus Tuesday morning at Lapa station to go get Mica I fell right in love with Salvador. Aside from the language, the way it was laid out remind me of Salisbury and growing up there and the schools I went to. I was loving it and had a smile on my face the whole time. It’s a beautiful city and the most beautiful beaches and clearest ocean waters are right there. Swimming in the ocean as the sun sets and on into the night was pretty romantic, and I was alone! Imagine if I were with another person. One day, one day. I can’t wait.
The downside is the poverty. The minimum wage in Brazil is R$360, which is barely $165US, and that’s not per week, that’s per month. The thing is, most Brazilians make either this much or even less. Americans nor America can even imagine or envision this type of poverty that exists here in Brazil, or Africa, Southeast Asia, China, Russia, the Middle East, former Soviet Bloc countries, or the rest of Central and South America (and Mexico). Western Europe and the rest of North America have it really good compared to the rest of the world. You read about it and see it on TV and stuff, but it’s impossible to realize and understand the brevity of it until you actually see it.
I’m still definitely enjoying Salvador, even if I am getting sick of dendê oil and coconut milk-soaked food. On Saturday I went to a big feijoada gathering at Joel’s, a friend of Marcos. Everyone made sure to point out that Joel is Jewish. I hung out again with Mariangelica, and also Rogerio. He is a history student at UFBA who studied at UNCC with Maria last semester. He is pretty awesome and definitely Bahiano.
I escaped the Americans by hanging out with Marcos and Mariangelica (she’s Venezuelan). I really wanted to come here during a different time, when I could really enjoy the culture here and experience everything. I am planning on coming back near the end of June if I can for Festas Juninas (a time usually reserved for going to Recife where they have the biggest Festas Juninas. I’m just reversing the order of things: wanted – Recife Carnaval and Recife Festas Juninas / getting – Salvador Carnaval and Salvador Festas Juninas). Marcos’s sister and brother-in-law invited me to their place in the interior of Bahia, so I couldn’t turn that down.
After reading through my entire Frommer’s guide several times, I have decided on the places I want to visit in the rest of Brazil before I go back to the US. I’d like to visit Natal, Fortaleza (maybe), Manaus, Cuiabá/Corumba/Campo Grande (aka the Pantanal), Rio de Janeiro, João Pessoa, maybe Belo Horizonte, maybe Porto Alegre, and if there’s time and it happens to be on the way, I may stop for a day or two in Brasília (I’ve heard from some I should go, and I’ve heard from others it’s not worth it). If I go to all of these places, I’ll have visited the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, the Federal District, Bahia, Pernambuco, Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará, and Amazônas. I really don’t think I’ll have the time or money to go to these places, but it’s worth a shot. Porto Alegre would be cheap by flight and I could go from Recife to João Pessoa to Natal by bus. Oh well, it doesn’t really matter right now, I’ll figure all that out later. I just want to see as much of Brazil as I can and take in all the culture and language I can get. I am probably going to Salvador for the Festas Juninas, I’ll try to get back to Recife, and I’ll definitely have plenty of time to go back to Florianópolis and São Paulo.
On a side note, I’m developing some wicked tan lines. My feet and upper legs are white as hell, and where my watch is at has become whiter than the whitest white you could imagine. It’s impossible to avoid getting tanned here. I used SFP50 here and I still get tanned. People in Brazil, especially in the really hot and coastal areas I think develop a natural resistance to the sun. They have dark skin already, but you can always tell the people who were born and have lived there their entire lives and the people who decided that they loved the beach. The people who have lived there for a long time have normal looking dark skin, while the person who has migrated has some pretty ugly looking dark leather skin.
It is hot as hell in Salvador though, usually around 37ªC (99ºF), so it’s good that it seems to never rain here, otherwise the humidity would be unbearable. Marcos said the lowest the temperature gets here is around 70ºF, which to me is warm enough.

Alannis Morrisette or however you spell it.


I've learned to deal with it. Candace hasn't.


This guy had a dead beaver on his head.

Some hippie-ass painters.

"I love you" in a lot of different languages.

Most famous shot of the Pelourinho, only without the people.


A nice stage setup that would play host to different groups during Carnaval in Pelourinho.

Igreja do Senhor do Bonfim da Bahia

Night shot of the coast.

Watching the sunset. I have some awesome high-res shots of this that I will post.

Watching the sunset.

Beach in Salvador.

I just thought this shot was neat.

Some of the "nicer" favelas in Salvador.

These next two are from the little party we had before everyone left the next day.

Everyone ended up in Salvador, but quite a few didn't make it back to Curitiba.

Some wicked trees they have here.

Another one.

I'll translate these plaques later.


Translate later.

Translate later.

Translate later.

Carnaval might have negative affects on your health.

And make you unable to eat while contemplating important things.

What the hell is wrong with me? There's a reason why I put this one last.

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