Monday, September 14, 2009

Salvador, Bahia

After three nights on the island of Morro de São Paulo, we spent August 7-10 on the mainland in Salvador with Eric's family.

We stayed at San Marino Hotel in the Barra neighborhood which put us in a great location for going to the beach and checking out some of the city. We got in at sunset the first day, so we didn't do much other than go for a walk and have supper.

The second day we caught a bus and spent the day on Stella Maris, a beach 30 kilometers north of Salvador. We set up camp under a huge umbrella away from the crowd. And much to my delight, there was a lady making/selling acarajé right there behind us. Eric and I knew immediately what we'd be having for lunch!

Acarajé is a rather unique food, and one that I have a hard time describing. It is sort of like a big hush puppy that is served with all kinds of mushy goodness and the spiciest, yummiest hot sauce I've ever had. The hot sauce, if you chose to use it, would light you on fire, but oh boy was it good! If you want a slightly more detailed explanation of acarajé, check it out on wikipedia. Or better yet, just get yourself down to Bahia and try it!

We had a really good time at Stella Maris. Besides filling up on acarajé, we spent the day playing frescobol (paddle-ball), working on our tans, and playing in some seriously strong waves in front of the perigo (danger) flag. Eric, Kelly, and I spent a good chunk of time getting ourselves pummeled in the surf. My father-in-law joined us for a little while, but accused us of trying to get him killed by calling him out to play with us. ;)

The next day we decided to stay closer by and just walked down to Praia do Farol da Barra. We enjoyed the beach there too, but it was a little more crowded and not as nice as those out of the city.

We were there during low tide, which meant that we had clear shallow water that got really warm in the sun and had plenty of sea-life to check out. We saw everything from sea urchins to octopuses (octopi? Webster says either is acceptable, I think I like the latter.)

That night, we headed down to Pelourihno which is the historic part of town and the center of most of the nightlife. We arrived just in time to watch a gorgeous sunset from the Cidade Alta. (It is also interesting to note, that since Salvador is on a south-jutting peninsula, it is one of the only places in Brasil where you can watch the sunset over the ocean!)

Pelourinho is full of colonial-era buildings dating back as far as the 1600's and is a really beautiful area thanks to recent and ongoing restoration. The narrow cobblestone streets and colorful architecture is quite picturesque!

One of our good friends is from Salvador and he told us we couldn't leave the city without a trip to Olodum. So we did as we were told.

Olodum is a famous group that created samba reggae, a music style quite popular for Carnaval and, as you might guess, with a heavy emphasis on percussion. They put on regular shows in Salvador, and it draws a good crowd of locals and tourists. The night we were there, it was no where near capacity but still plenty full of people who came out to enjoy the music and dance. For anyone who wants to know what Carnaval is like without actually being here for Carnaval, you should go to see Olodum - that's pretty much it, except multiply the crowd by a gazillion and add lots and lots of cerveja. It is an open air environment but under a rather low roof, so it was LOUD! Since we had the kiddo along, I created ear muffs for her with a blanket and kept it pressed against the sides of her head the entire night (along with keeping her sort of around the corner, so she wasn't right in front of the umpteen-million drums and in the midst of all the partiers.) As always, she did awesome despite the noise and commotion and being out until almost midnight. But then again, she is Brasilian . . . she thrives off that stuff. hehehe

So my kiddo can stay up late without getting grumpy, but you can forget about doing anything the next morning. Gabs needs her sleep - she's kind of like her Mamãe in that regard. So after her night of partying it up with Olodum, she needed the next morning, in it's entirety, to recover. We eventually had to wake her up so we could catch our flight home, but otherwise we just spent the morning in our hotel room. (And please note I am not complaining one bit. I am rather fond of the fact that after a late night I get to sleep in too!!!)

But while we stuck around in the room with the Gabster, my in-laws went out for one last walk in Salvador before we left. They took my camera along (since the battery on theirs died and they forgot their charger) and showed back up with this picture (among others) with a Capoeira group. I'll tell you what, leave 'em alone for one morning and you never know what they'll get into! ;)

In other big events, not necessarily Salvador-related, Gabriela decided she was big enough to give herself a bottle while we were there. I was planning to give her the bottle en route to Pelourinho that evening, but she got hungry while Eric and I were still trying to get ready to go. She kept reaching for the bottle and crying. Finally I just gave it too her to see what she'd do; she laid down and turned it right up! She fed herself the entire 7 1/2 ounces - and even knew to tilt the bottle up more once it got down to the bottom! Eric usually gives her a bedtime bottle since that is their main cuddle time on weekdays, but it's awfully nice to have such a self-reliant little 4-month old!

And then I figured if she can feed herself, she can use the toilet like a big girl too, so we've been working on that the last two weeks. Nope, I'm not even kidding . . . but more on that later!


Stephanie said...

Beautiful pictures!! Whenever we plan to travel, Im coming back to your blog to plan haha! Gabi is getting so big! She is so dang cute! and I am definitely interested in what you are teaching her!

Vivi DiLopes Adams said...

That's so cute! I guess Ian is a bit too lazy. He won't hold his bottle yet.

Ray Adkins said...


It is really refreshing to read your blog.
Your blog is positive and uplifting.
You have a great family and Gabriela is beyond precious!


Paulrf said...

Nice to find your blog! And yes, I agree, the pictures a very nice! :-) I'm from Atlanta, and my wife is from Fortaleza, so I may follow in your footsteps one day (well more ore less - a little bit further north perhaps). Anyway, I look forward to reading about you guys. Beijos e abroços :-)