Salvador Journals

Brazil with an African drumbeat - the exotic city of Salvador de Bahia

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A September 2004 trip to Salvador by actonsteve

Igreja NS Preto Photo, Salvador, Brazil More Photos
Quote: The beating heart of African Brazil has to be Salvador de Bahia, a city bedecked in colonial churches, cobbled pracas, sapphire waters, and drum and percussion beats of Brazilian rythmn. This is a city to get into your blood and make you feel alive.

Brazil with an African drumbeat - the exotic city of Salvador de Bahia

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Overview

Igreja NS Preto Photo, Salvador, Brazil
Quote:
The beat of drums seems to permeate Salvador de Bahia. It fills every corner of the old city, and every stone of Salvador seems to echo with music. The cobbled Portuguese colonial streets of Pelhurinho seem to reberverate in this city of samba, candomble, and capoeira. Its exotic feel and heritage can been seen in the Afro-Brasileiro inhabitants who were descended from West African slaves. They give the city an unbelievable energy and vitality. There is a fire in the blood of Salvador de Bahia. This is a city which has not yet been tamed, and any polite tourist respectability is for show. Underneath, mysterious Afro-Brasileiro currents run - Salvador is a city which moves to...Read More

The Barra Turismo Hotel

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Hotel | "The Barra Turismo Hotel - a lucky find by accident"

The Barra Turismo Hotel Photo, Salvador, Brazil
Quote:
Brazil has fruits that number into the thousands. Each day at breakfast, the cook thought she'd try a new one for the guests. They would go by names of fruto-do-conde (custard apple) or cupuacu (Amazon pear). Most tasted rather acrid and bitter, despite being very good for you, and I used to have a game of dare with myself each morning to down a glass of what was on offer without making a face.There is nothing to make a face about with the Barra Turismo Hotel - it was a superb find. And I did find it by accident - it wasn't my original choice in Barra. I originally booked the Village Nuovo Suites only two doors down. I arrived on my first afternoon on a flight fro...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 21, 2005

The Barra Turismo Hotel
Ave Sete de Septembre, 3691
Salvador, Brazil
71/264-7433

Churrascaria Ancoradouro

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Restaurant | "Churrascaria Ancoradouro -Twilight dining in Barra"

Churrascaria Ancoradouro Photo, Salvador, Brazil
Quote:
Salvador de Bahia was almost designed for sunsets.The sun goes down slowly on the Baiae do Todos os Santos (The Bay of All Saints). The sea turns orange with the fading light. People sit on the sea wall and are lit up in silhouette with the receding sun behind them.I saw all this through the aperture of the beachfront restaurant Churrascaria Ancoradouro. This is a small restaurant, only about 12-foot by 40-foot in size, and has one of the best locations on the Porto do Barra. Across the small road is the Orla (sea wall) and the nearest beaches to the centre of Salvador. Afro-Brasileiros sit on the seawall and chat to each other watched over by the tourist police. The pro...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 21, 2005

Churrascaria Ancoradouro
Avenida Sete de Setembro, No. 11 - Orla
Salvador, Brazil
(071) 264-5561

Praia do Ondina - Bahian beachlife at its best Photo, Salvador, Brazil
Quote:
I bet you have been in the situation I am about to describe... You are wandering along the promenade, minding your own business, when a football comes spinning its way to your direction. Not just any football. I was passing a court where young men were playing the Brazilian national game, and the fencing was 30 feet high. A player had sent the ball soaring into the air and over the fence, with it landing at my feet. The players immediately shouted at me to throw it back so they could quickly continue with their game. I picked it up, willing to give it a try, but one player realised that the fence was too high for me to throw, belted out of the court and ran to me. Meantime, I was just ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 21, 2005

Praia do Ondina - Bahian beachlife at its best
Pituba and Ondina beaches
Salvador, Brazil

Morning samba on the beach Photo, Salvador, Brazil
Quote:
One morning in Barra, there was a memorable sight taking place on the beach in front of the hotel. Watching from the promenade balustrade was a small crowd. They were viewing a group of boys and girls on the beach, doing samba exercises before work. I began to watch, and they rotated in a ring, swivelling their hips to samba music and letting out whoops of delight. Olodrum drummers beat out a rhythm, and each person moved his or her body to the music. To me the scene epitomised Salvador - taking advantage of the beaches and living life to a musical rhythm. Barra is the closest beach suburb in Salvador to the centre. It forms a right angle to the Baiae do Todos Santos, with the famous F...Read More
Terreiro de Jesus Photo, Salvador, Brazil
Quote:
One of the features of Salvador that adorns all the postcards are the Baiana women. Often they are Afro-Brasileiro ladies of ample girth, wearing headscarves and dressed in billowing skirts. They are "local characters" for the tourists to have their photos taken with, and they represent the culture of the Brazilian northeast and its African heritage. They hang around Praca Muncipal, waiting to embrace tourists in a bear hug, sporting a wide grin and asking for ten reals for the privilege. But there was something faintly creepy about them, as Salvador is the centre for candomble, and often these women are priestesses in this strange and mysterious African religion. The cen...Read More
Cruzeiro de Sao Francisco Photo, Salvador, Brazil
Quote:
Azulejos?You know azulejos, those beautiful ceramic tiles they have in Portugal. They are generally white and blue, and each piece completes a part of a wall-covered scene of everyday life. In Salvador they are a work of art imported from Lisbon and cover the courtyards and churches of the city. I stood in one courtyard, and all four sides were covered in azulejos, which told allegorical stories as they wound their way around the cloisters. Salvador de Bahia has the ambience of old Europe. It just takes a second in the mind's eye to imagine 18th-century Portuguese jesuits gliding around the cloisters and the sound of Mass coming in from the chapel.Withou...Read More
lacerda elevator Photo, Salvador, Brazil
Quote:
In Salvador de Bahia, capoeira occurs daily. On the strike of the clock at 11am, Bahian youths dressed only in white trousers climb onto a podium in the restaurant area of the Mercado Modelo and start to dance/fight. Percussion instruments create a ryhthm for their leaping and kicking. This "semi-balletic" art form is an expression of Bahian culture. Two sinewy black lads spin and whirl around each other in "mock combat" (see photo). People gather to watch a dance created in years gone by for people to settle their differences without resorting to violence. It's very popular. I've seen teenagers on the promenade at Barra mimic capoeira. A form expression for the poor in s...Read More
hatchling nets Photo, Salvador, Brazil
Quote:
Just how many times can you watch a turtle swim around its pool in the pouring rain?Well, despite the weather, the turtles fascinated me. There is something primeval about them--something slow and ponderous, as if they have just emerged from the Jurassic or Cretaceous age. With their strong jaws, leathery backs, and protruding eyes, they do look like something out of the age of the dinosaur. They are something rare and special, and the sanctuary I visited was set up to protect this exceptionally endangered species.Brazil has some of the greatest turtle populations in the world. It definitely has some of the longest tropical coastline in the world--a coastline whose temperature star...Read More
bossa nova singers Photo, Salvador, Brazil
Quote:
As I strolled along Itaparica beach, there was a movement off to my left. The water splashed, and a man's head emerged. The rest of him followed, striding out of the surf, black as ebony, clutching a snorkel and dripping water in the sun. He smiled a greeting, then threw his catch onto the sand - a huge starfish as big as your hand that writhed and wriggled. With a grin, he scooped up his prize and made off down the beach, an air of satisfaction apparent from his swagger.Itaparica beach is as close as I have come to paradise on this trip to Brazil. The sense of remoteness and space on the beach were one of the attractions of my tour of the Baiae dos Todos Santos (Bay of All Saints). An age...Read More