Salvador De Bahia (Brazil) is a pretty unique place. I am pretty pleased to have seen it but unsure if I would rush back. I don’t know if it was because it was CARNIVALE but it was pretty dangerous. I think it may be the least safe that I have felt on my travels. This could easily be because it was one of the first places that I went to in South America but either way, it was fairly sketchy at times. With any place, you hear ghost stories. We met a dude who had a machetti pulled on him in broad day light. Is it still a ghost story when you know the ghost? This entry is somewhat similar to the sixth sense. Travel blog and insight to the paranormal? Ticking all sorts of boxes here.
Salvador is Brazil’s second city. It feels so much different to Rio De Janeiro. Actually, maybe Sao Paolo is Brazil’s second city. What does “second city” even mean? These questions and more shall not be answered throughout my blogs. I have been telling people ever since I left Salvador that it was Brazil’s second city so we shall keep this myth going.
The streets of Salvador are great. There is a very colonial feel to it (when I say colonial, I am usually just saying that there are cobblestones). We stayed in this awesome little hippy hostel. I would highly recommend it. For the life of me, however, I cannot remember what it is called. I shall do some investigating and try to remember what on earth it was called. It was great. Unfortunately, everywhere becomes insanely expensive around Carnival. During Carnival, we slept in a Hammock for 38e a night. That is fairly ridiculous. However, when we were in Rio, the crap hostel we were staying in charged 85e a night for a dorm with the dreaded three bunk beds. These horrific inventions are your standard bunk bed with another one thrown on top for good measure. Thoroughly unpleasant experiences in those beds. The hammock for 38e a night seemed pretty good value after that! Plus, Hammocks rule. You have the rest of your life to sleep in beds, man. The amount of times I tried to turn a negative situation into a positive one by saying the sentence “you have the rest of your life to…..”
“You have the rest of your life to eat food..”
I had an incredible love affair with my hammock. Anytime I climbed into it, I would be out like a light. Some excellent sleeps in that hammock. I was a well rested boy throughout Carnivale which is probaly missing the point but it was lovely. That could be a handy tip. I worked my ass off before I went to Brazil so by the time I arrived, I was a very tired soldier and jumped straight into carnival. However, I could just be a sleepy pussy. Most likely the latter. The area we stayed in was Pelourinho. Very narrow streets, big colourful buildings and cobblestone paths. Our room in the hostel was excellent. It was a big open space with hammocks hanging everywhere. We had the room to ourselves. Oh, my apologies. “We” are my good friends, Emma (also known as Mags) and Clara. We had a fascinating character stay in our room one night. She was mid 30’s and had originally planned to experience Carnival with her boyfriend but he cheated on her or something.
I am not sure. But, boy howdy was she bitter. She kept referencing him throughout conversations with us. It is a bit of a sickner, alright. She seemed like a bit of a dick. He told the girls that they did not know what they were missing until “you taste some minge”. She looked at me, hoping for approval, she received nothing but distaste. I would mention her name but who knows how famous I will get on this blog. She may have spent the previous year trying to bury her lesbian experience only for someone to unearth it over the internet. She also has a Costa Rican “Fuck buddy” who she was dying to “destroy”. After making these remarks, she would always look at me for some sort of approval. Perhaps because I am a man and this is what men like to talk about. Swinging in her hammock one day, she informed me that she is over her boyfriend and cannot wait to see this “fuck buddy”. I had just woken up, so this was vital information.
I spent a lot of my time when in the hostel at the balcony. I did most things there. I ate breakfast, dinner, drank and read on that wonderful balcony. I had a balcony friend also. Our friendship was not a friendship in the classic way. It was an unorthodox friendship. There was a gentleman (I believe who may have been a chef….just because of his checkered trousers) who would be on the balcony directly opposite me. We never spoke. I am not entirely sure if he ever looked at me but the connection was there. We both loved our respective balconies.
I was somewhat camera shy in Salvador as it was a bit sketchy at times. We brought a small disposable down to the beach on one night of carnival but it was very quickly stolen off us. Sneaky thieves. The promenade where everyone was partying was packed full of people and all of a sudden there was a huge squeeze. Someone took this opportunity to put their hand in my pocket and stole our little disposable camera. I wonder did they keep it or realise that it was fairly worthless. Maybe these thieves prefer to rob sentimental items? Photoshop themselves into some pictures and boom, some precious moments between thief and victim. The robbery aspect was so annoying. We always kept our money in socks. Money got sweaty. It was never a good look buying a girl a drink and reaching down to your shoe to whip out some sweaty notes.
As I explained earlier, we were in Salvador for Carnival. The biggest party in the world and it definitely lived up to the billing. If I was to compare it to something, it would be the full moon party in Thailand but perhaps more family orientated. It actually reminded me of a really colourful and really fun St. Patricks Day. You see kids running around extremely drunk and dressed up adults. Carnival seems very different in different parts of Brazil but in Salvador there was a strong African vibe. Most of the South American African descendants ended up in Salvador. They are very proud of its heritage. There was plenty of drums and tribal dances. The Salvadorians (?) were the darkest in skin colour of other Brazilians that I encountered. I spent the majority of my Carnival sweating, drinking crap Brazilian beer and dancing to songs that I did not know. So much dancing to songs I never heard of. I am pretty sure I pretended to know the words to songs. Dancing and singing your heart out to Brazilian pop classics. Good times. Shamefully not trying to use any portugese words, just screaming “Blah Blah Brahma”. As fun as it was, it would have been lovely to hear some familiar western classics. Will I Am was one of the headliners for a concert so maybe its best we stayed away from western classics if that was what was on offer.
We spent the majority of our nights down by the beach. The beach was not great for fun beach activities such as sunbathing or swimming but was awesome for a party. However, we were warned to stay off the sand at night as it can be quite dangerous. I fear that I am scare mongering. I do really like Salvador, it just can be a little sketchy! Beside the beach was this huge promenade that was literally filled to the brim with people dancing. Floats go up and down the promenade with people performing on each float. Pretty brilliant. You can be daft and pay money to dance behind a float. I do not know why people do this. We tried to jump in behind and dance but were quickly escorted. Our pastey white skin was a pretty obvious giveaway. I think you pay so you can get space to dance as there are ropes stopping you from getting too close to the floats. I found the whole thing very confusing.
Brazilian hangovers were very unpleasant. I usually found hangovers in previous warm countries to be very easy to rid. I just figured that all the toxins were sweat out during the night. This did not occur in Salvador. I woke up fearing that my head was about to explode. Our hangover days usually involved lazing around, complaining about our hangover and going to the square to watch some singing and dancing. There were worse ways to rid a hangover.
We had an unorthodox final night of Carnival. We were gearing up for an extremely messy final night on the town but stumbled upon what appeared to be a final night for OAP’s. This was truly buckets of fun. We thought it would be funny in an ironic way to go for a few drinks but ended up staying the whole night. We spent the night dancing away with people at least double our age. It was hilarious. They had so much energy. An old gal that I was dancing with had to deal with my copious amounts of sweat as she was gyrating away. My pride would not let me take a break before her.
Carnival ended just as quickly as it began. The streets suddenly seemed dead. Salvador seemed like a much more quiet tranquil place after Carnival but what a bloody party!