Sunday, December 29, 2013

Adventures in Salvador, Day 2, December 29, 2013

A friend and I have been doing the historic church thing. We walked down from our hostel to a nearby church with a black saint encased in class. People were selling ribbons which believers tie on their wrists until one of their three wishes is granted.  We then moseyed along looking for this elevator—I hadn’t a clue what to expect, but when we got to the building, it was nice that there was no fee on Sunday.

As we walked through the plaza, I was reminded of Tana again—even the taxis were parked in a line along the street in front of a blue church. In Tana, there was also a blue building. On the way back to the hostel, we took another ferry, this one three levels high. Earlier, the ferry was so full there was standing room only. Our constellation was being able to reach the life jackets faster from our standing position (smile).

Elevator Lacerda first and then to the Mercado Modelo across the street. I wasn't aware until just now that the original market, a Customs House was partially destroyed in 1986 and reopened as a big tourist market place--like the outlets in Vallejo or Fairfield, California.
I can't imagine what it must have been l like to have been chained in the watery depths of the building awaiting sale. Reminds of a Katrina story—remember what happened to the enslaved oops, I mean incarcerated men and women who were left to drown in their cells?
Solar do Unhao—transfer point for sugar imports, was closed on Sunday—I love haunted stories, these murdered Africans. Maybe I'll go back Saturday to the Solar and Museu de Arte Moderna when there is a concert (Lonely Planet 445).  I haven't seen the inside of one museum yet. I want to get to Museu de Arte da Bahia (2-7 Tues-Fri., Sat-Sun 2:30-6:30) and Museu Carlos Costa Pinto (Wed-Mon 2:30-7 p.m.(Lonely Planet 446)

We took a ferry to Ilha de Itaparica (one of Baia de Todos os Santos, Brazil's largest and at one time one of its most important, bays, to see more historic churches. There are 56 islands.
The beaches were shallow, the latest faze standing on a boards and rowing standing up. Stairs ran between the sidewalk and the sandy shores where parents sat as their kids splashed in the shallow waters. Along the opposite side of the beach were small restaurants where people ate fish, pizzas or drank beer or soft drinks.
We'd rode one of the public vans to the beach, but the driver was charging us too much so we got off and walked the rest of the way with some kids who were headed our way.

Families go to the beach in Brazil on Sundays. The vibe at Praia Ponta da Areia is low key and friendly. Cars don't speed and pedestrians, even the four legged ones don't have to worry about getting run over. The cobbled streets make it hard to walk, but there are bike lanes along the sidewalk so cyclists can enjoy the seashore too.
The boom boxes were playing as mostly boys danced. Other youth sat in chairs in the ocean, while I even saw a man fishing. At the end of the walk is a pier which was closed and a shopping center with community vendors selling crafts. Silvana bought these really cute thongs with embroidered beadwork crystal in white—really elegant and unique. Of course there are historic churches, in this case

There were also cacau trees, mansions, and more upscale yet not economically out of dreaming reach houses.  We saw four women take turns posing in front of their dream house. There was also a bit of upscale graffiti along the street which was a suburbia architectural prototype found the world over—San Leandro Marina complete with sign; Berkeley Marina, Ft. Mason Center. We didn't see the huge tree at the center of the island which wraps its roots around the ruins of the Igreja Baiacu. I thought about it and then forgot to ask where it was (Lonely Planet 457).
The pastels of these edifices were really complementary to the natural landscape. Pretty houses are nice. On the way over the ferry was smaller with one level which was full to standing room only. However, on the way back we rode on a ferry which was a commuter vehicle full of cars and trucks and motorcycles and people, but not too full. Three levels high, the trip back was a nice way to unwind as the sun declined in the sky.
One of the reasons we took the ferry over was to take advantage of the lovely skyline the distance from shore provided of Salvador, Bahia. On the way back as we relaxed after a wonderful day, we toasted each other with fresh yet tepid fresh coconut water. It hit the spot. The taxi ride back to the hostel was quick.
Earlier, while I was watching my friend eat beans with salt pork and other tasty looking items while she waited for her entree, fresh fish to get prepared, I looked through her Lonely Planet Guide for other activities to do.
Just after the section Baia de Todos os Santos & Reconcavo, I read about Cachoeira & Sao Felix where I read about the Sisters of the Good Death and a museum dedicated to their story, Museu da Boa Morte and Centro Cultural Dannemann, This area is known to have a strong Condomble community, perhaps the strongest in Brazil. There are also great artisans who do African influenced woods carvings (Lonely Planet 460-61).

We are looking at renting a car and doing our own cultural tour. I have never driven in another country before, but Brazil might just be the country that breaks the trend (smile).


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