Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Salvador, Bahia, Brasil

I am too tired from being in Salvador to write but since I'm headed north and don't know when I'll have some free time to catch up on writing, better to get it done now.

Salvador is 80% black, descendants of slaves, old colonial city, music pulsing through all forms of life here. Free concerts, capoeira (Brasilian martial performance art), spicy West African food, coconuts in cooking, all sorts of things...

We got here Friday night late and I'm headed north tomorrow, Wednesday.

Saturday was a day around Pelourinho, the historical center, a jazz concert, followed by Rio Vermelho, a nice nightlife area. Sunday was a 11am concert in Parque da Cidade, then Olodum at 2pm, a percussion bloco, school, that strode through the cobblestone streets banging on all sorts of percussion with people dancing and watching in front, behind, and to the sides. They ended in the Largo de Pelourinho, with sweaty bodies, beer, caipirinha. Carnaval is nearly here.

Monday was a total rest day, cooking Italian, Japanese, fruit salad, and a lot of sleep.

Tuesday Ben, an Australian also staying with us, and I got up at 6.30am thinking that would be early enough to avoid the heat (we were oh-so-wrong, it's scorching hot by 6.30am here) and went to the beach at Barra, over to Pelourinho to take pictures (most noteworthy place for me is the slave pens under the main market, you go down in suffocating stale air that has about 5cm of stank water always on the ground, now there's footing for tourists, but this is where the slaves were kept when they had crossed the Atlantic. I've now been to the last place for them leaving Africa, in Ile-de Goree, Senegal, and to the first place they'll live out their slavedom is they survive the journey, Salvador da Bahia, Brasil. Creepy.)

And so it goes.

It's a totally different vibe here, with a lot more African roots for sure, and it's hotter, or my body's just shutting down from the constant heat. Ahh.

Lots of thoughts about Brasil to come. It's a complex country with multiple realities, many problems, many beauties, and many horrors. I'll think about it on my hopefully 10 hour journey, could be longer if we don't get a ride, to Recife tomorrow.

1 comment:

AlexSM said...

Hi Yuri

Nicely done. Your observations descriptions are very realistic and with "feet on the earth", as the old brazilian saying says.

I hope you've had the oppoturnity to visit the Hotel Pelourinho. If not, we will be happy to have you and your friends with us in a future visit to Salvador.

Best regards,

Hotel Pelourinho