The Baiana comes home!
Trip Start Sep 02, 2008
30Trip End Dec 14, 2008
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To make it all the more exciting, mum and dad had taken a 2-week holiday to fly over to Brazil to meet us in Salvador, to search for and show me all the significant places in my first 18 months of life!
The Lonely Planet says the following about Salvador: 'If you're going to be pickpocketed or mugged in Brazil, Salvador is likely to be the place!' Excellent! Luckily it also says: 'Salvador is one of Brazil's brightest gems'.
None of us really knew what to expect, as the Lonely Planet tends to err on the pessimistic side, but it certainly wasn't going to be the free and easy place my mum and dad remembered from the Seventies.
We stayed in Barra, a swanky area by the sea,
Our first day was spent strolling around the neighbourhood that my mum and dad used to live in, finding their old apartments, the local supermarket they used to shop in, the square where they spent Carnaval in their wild young days (before I came along and put paid to all the partying!), the market where my mum went into labour with me, and on the taxi ride back to our hotel, the hospital where I was born!!
Our second day, (to Nige's relief- i think he'd had enough of the Barker reminiscing!), was spent checking out the real tourist sights in the Centro Historico, which is a gorgeous place of cobbled streets with people doing Capoeira, a Bahian martial art/dance, colourful buildings, impressive churches, and little side streets full of tables for drinking a quiet beer in the shade, which we did! Happily we didn't get hassled by small children begging or trying to steal our money, and it was all much more relaxing and pretty than I expected.
Mum and Dad are still in touch with some of their friends from their time in Salvador, so we spent the weekend hanging out at their friends' beach houses, favourite restaurants, favourite beaches etc, and generally eating and drinking well, and trying to make head or tail of the Portuguese conversation going on around us. We were made wonderfully welcome, and it was great to spend some time at peoples' homes after being a tourist/backpacker for so long!
Things I have learnt in Salvador:
1. A Baiana is officially a girl born in Bahia (i.e. me!),
2. Samba de Mesa (literally, Table Samba) does not involve dancing Samba on a table (which would be pretty precarious considering the amount of hip-jiggling Samba involves), but is a slower type of Samba that can be enjoyed whilst sitting at a table drinking, rather than feeling the need to get up and dance!
Where I stayed