Lower City - Panoramic tour.

Trip Start Jul 19, 2012
Trip End Aug 03, 2012

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Bahia,
Thursday, July 26, 2012

The panoramic tour showed us another side of Salvador that is surprisingly different from the Historic City. This section of the tour focused on the area known as the "Lower City", along the coast of the bay of Bahia.   This side of Salvador has little of the historic nostalgia of Pelourinha and more of the harsh reality of a "Third World" city much as you would find in Kingston, Dar es Salaam or Mombassa.

On the way we stopped to buy porridge, for the second time I might add, at a stall run by Vanessa who had her 8 year old son.  Most children in Bahia State have been out of school for the last 3 months as the state schools have been on strike so it is quite normal to see lots of children around out of school.   We had all three options of corn, tapioca and hominy and they were all absolutely delicious.    Like most people we have met in Salvador, Vanessa and her son have a warm spirit and were pleasant and appreciative of our patronage.

Before we got to  the lower city we made a stop at Dique do Tororó, a lake in the middle of the city with eight giant statues of Orixas.  Here again, was another example of the ubiquitous nature of Condomble in Salvador in particular and Bahia in General.

Travelling through the lower city provided an exceptional view of the multitudes of communities “Favelas” sprawled across the hills in and around the city.  The large number and density of these communities is something quite amazing.  Considering the immense size of the country, it is interesting to contemplate the vast numbers of people that are crammed into limited spaces in the cities.   

The streets along this part of the city were teaming with people making a living by whatever means they could master.  This is clearly the commercial heart of Salvador, dominated by informal trade and a large market.  Some areas specialize on scrap metal and here you will find self-taught motor mechanics and scrap dealers who can provide parts for and repair any vehicle on the road. 

We passed the crowded market place where, inside, you would find it hard to imagine that you were not somewhere on the African continent or in the Caribbean.    The people, layout and the goods on sale, in fact the entire atmosphere are all so familiar.

The tour took us to the peninsular of Ribeira and we made a stop at the Prentice art gallery where they make beautiful hand painted ceramic tiles with African images of Bahia.      We then went on to the church of Bonfin where thousands and probably millions of Brazilians make pilgrimage every year to wish for miracles to overcome challenges in their daily life.  The Church also has a very strong association with Candomble through the Orixa Oxala.

On the return journey we made a short tour of a typical Portuguese colonial home in a self-contained compound and consisting of the European living quarters, a chapel and the Slave living quarters.  The Brazilian word adopted to mean Slave Quarters is in actual fact the Angolan word for village, Senzala.    

We also passed by the Mercado Modelo, the main craft market in Salvador but the half day tour and early start was beginning to take its toll so we decided to leave it for another day and took up the offer of lunch instead.
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Mayemi on

I am looking forward to the video so that we can use it to help enlighten our people ,you are both true pioneers hopefully this will inspire africans from the diaspora and the continent to connect with this piece of the earth.
We have to be bold and couragous and move outside of our comfort zone as part of the liberation of the minds of our people in the words of the Honourable Marcus Mosiah Garvey" I know no national boundary where the black man is concerned ,the whole world is my province untill africa is free"

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