African Soul

Trip Start Oct 17, 2004
Trip End May 13, 2005

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Flag of Brazil  ,
Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The main goal I had of heading north through Brazil was to get to Salvador - acknowledged as the cultural capital of Brazil and not to be missed. It was certainly different, with the centre with much restored, colourful colonial architecture and spectacular churches. One of which had a golden ceiling inside and has to be the most spectacular church I've ever been in! The city was also notable for its African influence, with nearly all the residents being of African origin, and the city being filled with African music, dance and food. One particularly memorable night was spent with some friends at an Olodum concert. They are held every week with this African-influenced percussion band, who once worked with Michael Jackson. It was also noteworthy as being just about the hottest place I went in Brazil, I think due to lack of a breeze in the centre.

However, my experience in Salvador will always be overshadowed by the amount of hassle I received as a tourist in the City Centre. Whilst begging is upsetting to see, there were a large number of "giving presents" you were expected to tip them for, like paper bracelets. Even if you didn't want them, they would be thrust upon you. It is obvious the locals see tourists as a good source of income (and why not?), but Salvador is one of the places I visited on my travels where it's a bit too much. Unfortunately, it is also mixed with a fair amount of violence, with many people I knew in my hostel being mugged.
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