Dallying along the Coast to Salvador
Trip Start Jan 20, 2004
187Trip End Ongoing
But in the end we found it. Our perfect beach. We had retreated from Itacaré which we would have loved five years ago when it was a sleepy fishing village, but is now very hip, packed with lively restaurants and bars, and has become a trendy destination for the young surfing crowd in 4x4s. Later, stopping to admire the stunning panoramic views from a cliff-top lookout, we noticed that the palm-fringed, white sandy beach immediately below us and stretching for miles down the bay seemed to be deserted
We spent three days enjoying the peace and quiet of this tropical paradise. The white sand was squeaky clean and the pounding surf provided all the 'beat' that we needed. We watched the fishermen leave early in the morning in their precarious sailing rafts, and return with their haul late in the afternoon. Each evening we turned up at Edmundo's cabana to feast on the catch of the day - red snapper grilled in coconut oil the first night, next giant prawns sauteed in butter and garlic, and on our final visit oysters in a spicy seafood sauce. We walked the beach for literally miles, and played in the giant waves. At night we lay out watching the stars - the Southern Cross very low on the horizon these days and Orion not showing up until the wee hours of the morning. The sea breezes kept us cool at night and the palms shaded us by day. We enjoyed the company of other occasional travelers, sharing ice-cold beers and swapping yarns late into the evening. That was the extent of our partying. We wouldn't make very good Brazilians!
Our next stop was Salvador...what a contrast
The 'Cidade Alta' - the original settlement was a fort standing watch on a sheer bluff overlooking the Atlantic - has recently undergone a revitalization program, but even now tourists are warned not to flaunt their cameras. In the daytime the Pelourinho neighbourhood is bustling with touts, hassling to act as your guide around the maze of art galleries, fabric and craft boutiques, restaurants and bars, but it is probably not the place to wander around on your own after midnight. During the evening the restaurants line the streets with plastic tables and chairs and everyone sits drinking beer (the wine is so bad here that even the Brazilians don't drink it!) watching life go by. There is music from every corner, drumming bands roam the streets and if you're lucky you'll see a demonstration of Capoeira - the beautifully fluid martial arts-cum-acrobatic dance form which was originally developed to resist the slave traders. Impromptu parties break out on all sides. The city has long had a reputation for bawdiness and uninhibited, extravagant behavior, and it clearly continues to flourish. The four days and nights of Carnaval in March - when anything and everything goes - must be quite the party, even by Brazilian standards!