Afro-Brazilian Cultural Hub
Trip Start Nov 08, 2009
14Trip End Dec 22, 2009
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Where I stayed
Pelourinho was an area of vibrance and entertainment with artists, performers, and musicians and had a kind of Bohemian feel to it and reminded be kind of a New Orleans meets Jamaica is the closest thing we could relate it to
Next day we got to see some of the sites of the city which weren't too impressive but I think the city's ultimate draw is the beach, unique cultural atmosphere, and perpetual festa celebrations kind of like an ongoing Carnival. Saw very few international tourists as you would find more Brazilian tourists coming to this area much like a Miami to us. As a matter of fact, we never came across any Americans or anyone whose first language was English. That's when you know your getting an authentic cultural experience - just the way we like it.
Went to Mercado Modelo to buy sunglasses, capoeira pants, tank tops, and swimsuits - and yes, I will be sporting a speedo for all you paparazzi out there
That night we went to a festival in Pelourinho. Some crazy guy was doing capoeira with a group until he was kicked out and then came to us wanting to be our friend doing crazy uncoordinated moves and then finally pouring my leftover beer into Rachel's leftover caipirinha and drinking it! What a mixologist or just so out of it he didn't care! Wild stuff. Real street capoeira in jeans with all kinds of flips and tricks. When the capoeira guys are wearing jeans you know they're the real deal - no Jack Black recreational pants for them. Some of these locals had no remorse about asking us for everything and anything from asking for a swig of our water and then ending up drinking the whole bottle to a kid starving for food and not happy when we offered to buy from a street vendor rather he wanted us to buy from a restaurant around the block
Next day we decided to hit up the beach which was nice and had some cool cliffs to jump off of. I made friends with some of the local boys and we started to do Superman jumps into dives and flips and all kinds of cool launches from these cliffs. Of course, they asked me if I had any money I could give them - we were on a cliff that you had to swim a quarter of a mile to get to - yeah, let me just get the wad of cash I have stashed in my imaginary waterproof fanny pack for you and I hope you like the cash dry because it miraculously stayed dry while my fingers pruned up worse than a member of the California raisin band.
The funniest part of the day was that Rachel wanted to leave a little earlier but I wanted to stay because I didn't think I got enough of a tan. 4 hours later… if Fruit of the Loom ever decided to add a tomato to its commercials, then I would have been a perfect candidate after getting toasted "veggie red" in the sun while at that beach. It was streaky red and got progressively worse. The climate out there is deceiving as it was mostly cloudy but would light you up if u didn't drown yourself in SPF 50 - which is what we were using by the way. Lesson learned: never underestimate the Brazilian beaches and tomato red skin color is never flattering.
That night we had a great dinner at Fogo De Chao - a "real" churascarria although we found that they had significantly more locations in the States than in Brazil and maybe that's because dinner for two costs as much as a few months rent for the locals. Ouch! Either way, it was enjoyable and we got as much filet mignon as we wanted - on demand.