Travel Journal

Journey to Salvador

(Monday 17 August 2009) by Brennan-adventures
Hi folks,
Well off we go again, this time travelling to Salvador via Campinas. The journey to Campinas was broken for lunch in San Jose do Rio Preto. We were having lunch at the parent’s house of a student of Mikes. This house was in a gated community, and the estate looked vaguely English with front gardens and driveways open to the road. It was strange to see.

Anyway the house was fab… as they all are for the middle class of Brasil. The dad of this student runs his own airline company… 4 small planes taking 6 people at a time up to remote tribes in the Amazon; mostly for contract work for companies or medical services to the indigenous people living there. Some of his photos were amazing, Tribes miles inland with the airstrip just made from dirt.
The tribes were stark NAKED, and it looked so strange with the visitors fully dressed. This particular tribe had a strange fashion…. A hole in their bottom lip (between their lip and teeth) which had a long piece of tubular wood pushed through the hole. This was started when the children were about 7 yrs old and the piece of wood was increased in size until it reached about 12cms long and 4cms wide in adulthood. The wooden “adornment” was worn by men and women, from the time of wearing it whatever they ate had to be ground up as the jaw line did not match up to enable them to chew….. over 40 years of slop---ugh!! :-x:-x

Lunch was an enormous banquet of beef, sausage, mushrooms and prunes. Rice, chips and vegetables--- all without garlic so a relief for me. Pudding was made with a fruit of the same family as cacao… this made a white chocolate tasting mousse. This fruit comes from around Amazonia. The student’s mother is an accomplished artist and her paintings ranged from abstract to flowers both on canvas and china, all very beautiful.
Well after lunch we started our drive to Campinas. All went well both with time and road surface so we were there in 3 hours— only to find the airport parking in the dark!!

The first two car parks we tried were Full… oh cripes what now?? The guard on a gate told us to try this underground car-park, yippee space for us and even a little shuttle bus which one of the Brazilian F1 drivers were moonlighting as a night job--- a real hang onto your knickers job especially around the bends. Luckily the journey was short. :-|

The airport was large and soon we were onboard a lovely newish aircraft on route to Salvador. We landed at midnight, me feeling like I had circumnavigated the world !!

First impressions, in the dark was a very rundown and shabby place, but clean and no litter around. The people seem to fall into two distinct groups, those descended from slaves and very dark skinned or more European looking with blue/green eyes and fair skin… no it wasn’t the tourists!!!

The hotel we were staying in was about 15mins from the airport at a beach. This however meant a journey into the city took over 30mins and was expensive especially at weekends when the taxi prices rise by 30% after 2pm on a Sat afternoon; then 50% all day Sunday. We decided about lunchtime to visit the city… the weather was a little overcast, and sooo windy. I remember being told that it’s like this all the time here.
The middle of the city was sooo poor with dilapidated and empty buildings. Lots of street kids who were dirty and just trying to get together enough money for something to eat. :-(:-(

We spent a time walking around and looking in the churches. Then we heard drumming… a wonderful noise coming from inside a building. This was OLODUM the drumming group in the Michael Jackson’s video. It took us 10mins to find an entrance into the building… but oh so worth it. This was a practise session so only held in the building. There were at least 50 children/youths age ranges 7 – 25 with different sizes of drums. The noise at times was deafening in the enclosed space, but quite emotional… well you know me, weeping at anything here I was off again !!
There were two guys in charge, one overall and the other overseeing the smaller drum portion of the group. There also was a Brazilian tourist who could play the drums well and was known to the guys in charge. This guy had experience in conducting orchestras or large groups of musicians. He then got involved trying out new beats and sounds… At first the guys in charge looked sceptical but boy did it sound good… They then let him have his head and away we went on a fantastic drumming frenzy, with all different types of beats running through the initial slow pounding beat. We must have spent a couple of hours watching with other tourists. Then all too soon for me it broke up. :-\

We then caught a lift down to the bottom of the cliff and headed to the marina. This lift fairly wheeked down, infact I did wonder if it would stop !!
There was a market and filled with local people who were trying to make a buck. There were bags made from ring pull can tops stitched together and wooden toys and paintings on tiles. It was starting to get towards sunset, so we took the lift back up the cliff and walked to a restaurant. This was very nice and assured me no garlic… I had steak and chips…yummy !!

There were kids hanging around outside making flowers from palm fronds, juggling coconuts just to make a couple of cents. I am sure if I lived here all the time I would either be poor, giving change out or have to set up a soup kitchen to feed them. :-(

Next day we went to the beach… well Mike has obviously been to many beaches in his life and is VERY picky now!! This sand was brown and quite gritty, Mike was not impressed. The huts selling drinks had also seen better days, but the toilet provided by them was good… These are Mike’s words!! 7-)

We managed a couple of hours on the beach before we were chased away. The people sitting so close… you know us Brits needing our personal space and the wind blowing the gritty sand everywhere. We retreated back to the hotel and sat by the pool. B-)

I have to say and this is only my opinion, as lots of Brazilians love the Nordeste… where we are at the moment.
I have visited Fortalaza and Salvador, and I found them both similar; lots of poor people with the majority of the buildings crumbling and lots of families/children sleeping on the streets. I much prefer Rio or beaches around Sao Paulo. There must be a lot of richer people living in both the cities we have visited in the Nordeste as there are lots of high-rise condominiums, and garages selling new cars, all I see though are the poor children and wonder what life holds for them? Gosh getting a bit deep now.:-^


Well just found out the hotel room we are staying in is within a house that was owned by one of the writers who wrote “Girl from Ipanema”. ….Vinicius Moraes….. He wrote the words and Antonio Carlos Jobim wrote the music and sang it.

Back down to the beach this morning, quieter as it was Monday, but the wind was fierce!! At one point the rain started and was horizontal… the beach guy put two of the other umbrellas alongside us to make a windbreak…. Felt like camping!! The shower was brief but the wind stayed strong… we managed a couple of hours before retreating again to the hotel.
Tuesday I am up at 4-30am for the flight back to Campinas, Mike off to work then for a couple of days.…. I do wish I had 2 weeks at the beach though, but I am getting greedy!! ;-)
Love to you all
Laur x

  • Salvador by Babs
  • Fab Photos by Sheila


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