Cachoeira - Day 52-54
Trip Start Jan 31, 2008
254Trip End Ongoing
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Day 52 - 27/02/09
Had to wake at six this morning to vomit, first illness of the year bar the throat infection, snow blindness and mild frost bite on Aconcagua. Still feeling pretty rough after the puking session but I suppose I feel a little better after expelling whatever nastiness got into my belly. I'm just hoping it's a lack of sleep and a poor diet catching up on me over the carnival period, fingers crossed it's nothing more serious than that.
Anyway, regardless of how I'm feeling I need to leave Salvador today. It's only a 2 hour bus ride to my next destination which is Cachoeira, an old Portuguese colonial town 100km from the coast on the Rio Paraguacu. Thought it would be nice to relax for a few days in this sleepy town before heading to hectic Rio to stay with a friend.
The bumpy road to Cachoeira winds through some beautiful rolling green hills. It's nice to see some countryside again after 10 days in build-up Salvador. In Portuguese Cachoeira means waterfall, must be a reason why the place is called "Waterfall", I'm sure I'll find out soon enough. Got off the rickety bus and jumped on a motorbike taxi with my ridiculous amount of gear. It was a hairy ride, I was hanging on for dear life with my bags still strapped to ever available limb. I'm staying in the Pousada A'juda, which is a homestay slash guest house on a small hill overlooking the river in the oldest part of town. A very rustic colonial building, which is in the process of falling down. I have a great room though, it's a large corner room with 3 big windows overlooking the narrow cobbled streets and river. I have some privacy at last after spending many weeks in dormitories. Come to think of it, this is the first time this year I've had a room to myself. I will certainly enjoy this rare novelty for a couple of days.
The architecture in Cachoeira is in a state of disrepair but extremely charming and full of character. Some of the buildings are justifiably in the process of being renovated with local government funding. The town is defiantly worth saving now before it's too late. I can see this place being a massive tourist destination in a few years. There's something about Cachoeira which really draws you in, I don't know what that something is quite yet, but hopefully I'll find out in the coming days.
Cachoeira is situated on one side of the Rio Paraguacu and another town called Sao Felix is on the opposite bank. A British build wrought iron bridge connects the two towns which where once governed as one. They were split because the ruling Portuguese were worried that the towns were becoming too powerful and rich due to the sugar cane and tobacco booms. The towns now have a fierce rivalry, I've heard it can get rather heated at times.
This evening I walked around the sleepy cobbled streets for while before grabbing a bite to eat then the obligatory few beers. Returned to the Posada for an early night to enjoy the solitude of my large room.
Day 53 - 28/02/09
A local guy took me and a couple of other Gringo's from the Posada for a bit of walk today. We walked up a short forested trail into the surrounding hills overlooking the town to see a small waterfall. The guy was a really nice chap, he's just bought one of the dilapidated colonial building's which he plans to renovate, he made some money working for an American archaeologist in the local area and has invested his hard earnt cash into buying the property. He wants to convert it into a Posada and create a little business for himself. The walk was really pleasant, was so nice to do something active again, haven't done anything remotely physical since I climbed Aconcagua in Argentina back in January. Ok, it wasn't climbing a mountain but it was nice to spend some time in the great outdoors.
Walked across the wrought iron bridge to Sao Felix this evening. Sao Felix has similar colonial architecture to Cachoeira but has such a different feel. I defiantly prefer Cachoeira but I really I don't know why.
Day 54 - 01/03/09
After several muggy overcast days in Cachoeira, the sun finally shone today and the bright sunshine lit the colourfully painted colonial houses. Cachoeira is such a beautiful place on so many levels. I feel really safe here, which is such a nice feeling after carnival in Salvador and the surrounding countryside is really beautiful, reminds me of home a little. Don't want to leave this pretty tranquil town but tomorrow I return to Salvador to catch the bus to Rio.
Cachoeira is famous for the religion of Cantombe which is an African pagan slash voodoo religion mixed with Catholic values. Seems like a strange concoction of religious influences from one end of the spectrum to the other, it's very unique to this region of Brazil. Unfortunately I didn't have chance to see this unique religion being practised in the area.
This evening I was in laying bed after watching the sunset when a big bat flew into my room through one of the big windows, it frantically circled the room for a minute or so before finding it's way out. Must of been a fruit bat because it was huge, hopefully he eat a couple of mosquito's on his short visit.