Salvador and Morro de Sao Paulo

Trip Start Aug 16, 2005
1
22
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Trip End May 02, 2006


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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Was well worth it getting out of Rio.

I love Rio, but had I not visited another city or place in Brazil I would have a very limited and not very authentic impression of Brazil as a country. Brazil is almost the size of the continental United States and it is every bit as diverse, in landscape and people, if not more so.

Salvador is a town in Bahia, another state in Brazil northeast of Rio, a two hour flight from Rio. Salvador was the first place settled in Brazil by the Portuguese and also Brazils first capital as well as the biggest slave trading town in the sixteenth century. Because of this it is a predominantly black city today and African influences are very much alive in religion (Candomblé), cuisine, arts and crafts. Salvador, I am told, has also preserved the greatest amount of colonial architecture than any other city in Brazil and the buildings are beautiful. It is a very large city but with a small town feel.

We stayed in Salvador only one night since our ultimate destination was an island off the coast to the south called Tihharé. Specifically, we were headed to a town on the island called Morro de Sao Paulo. The island of Tinhare is a 2 and half hour ferry ride from Salvador. Our hostel in Salvador was a couple of blocks from the beach. This was Lisas first experience in a hostel so we were glad she could actually get to see what one was like. Course, she was introduced to hostels with a nice clean, quiet one where we were the only two staying in our particular room, so she definitely got the nice version.

We spent the next three days in Morro de Sao Paulo, a beach town known for its white sand beaches, calm waters, and supposedly...SUN. We arrived on the island early one morning and we instantly loved the place. There are no roads on the island, and thus no vehicles. So the streets were nothing but sandy pathways connecting the various beaches. There are five if I remember correctly, of which the second is touted for being the liveliest and best to stay on. We were lucky to find a nice little Pousada called Michelle on the second beach, only 50 feet from the beach for about $25 a night. The first day was absolutely beautiful, very hot and sunny. We assumed our entire stay would be this way so we pretty much shopped and walked the pathways of the first beach which is where all the shops and restaurants were concentrated. Little did we know that would be the last of the sunshine for the remainder of our stay!

Yep, lots of clouds and rain the following two days. Lisa did a dive on one of the rainy days. We were surprised the dive agency was going to go through with it but they did and off she went. She threw up twice, and another girl actually threw up into her mouthpiece while under water. Apparently the sea was pretty rough. Glad I opted out of going because I struggle with diving even under perfect conditions. But she did see some wildlife including a turtle so not a total waste. I spent some time reading, eating of course, and taking pictures of the cloudy island.

We were not disappointed we went but we definitely had had enough of the rain by the time we left. Morro de Sao Paulo is a really cool little place, and when the sun shines, it really is a beach paradise.

We headed back to Salvador on our fourth day, again on the ferry. This was the most miserable 2 and half hours I have had on this trip (aside from my ferocious stomach flu in Peru). The sea was VERY rough. EVERYONE congregated in the back of the boat. By the time I got there, there was nowhere to sit so I stood at the back of the boat getting soaked, inhaling fumes, blowing my nose (allergies were also out of control), watching others puke before my eyes, and getting to see one puke bag after another be thrown in the trash bin beside me by the crew girl who was bringing them out from the inside of the cabin where people were also puking. Lovely. Just lovely. I was so, so happy to step off that freakin boat! Of course, we returned to a very sunny Salvador. Funny how the sun can shine so bright in one place and not very far away (on our island paradise) it just wouldn't.

Had a lovely meal of feijoada for lunch upon our return to Salvador. Feijoada is a very Brazilian dish. From my understanding, back in the slave days, the rich used to give the left over parts of the pig to the slaves, or black people. Things such as the snout, the ears, the feet, etc. The slaves then in turn used these meats in their black bean stew and it became known as feijoada. Today, many Brazilians still eat it this way but one can also ask for feijoada without the eccentric pig parts. Of course thats what we did. And it was delicious! After lunch we shopped the arts and crafts market and took a cab to the airport.

Since it now appears I will not be leaving Rio again while in Brazil, I am SOOOO happy that Lisa and I took this trip outside of Rio. I really wish I had the time and money to see more of Brazil. There is so much to see here.Even if Morro was a bit of a let down with the weather, we both really though Salvador was an awesome city and were really glad to have gone there.
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