On the afternoon of February 18th me and Toni left on our trip. We used a small regional airline called Gol! The flight went smoothly and in a little less then an hour we were at the Salvador airport. Toni had arranged for a lady to pick us up. The airport is really far from the city and it took us a little over an hour to get to our hotel. We drove through the country and then the modern part of the city. There were lots of modern skyscrapers and apartment building. The hotel we booked was called Villa Roma. It was three blocks from the beach on top of a slight hill. The inside was rustic with wooden floors and little artisan pieces of art all over. Our room was solid white, brown wood floors. It had a wooden shutter that closed the window. There was an air conditioner that worked ( thank god ) and a small TV. The bed was not very comfortable and only had one sheet on top ( that wasn't even gathered at the corners so it basically slid off while you slept. )
We were happy to be here. We went out the first night and walked along Barra beach. Toni bought us acaraje which is a specialty here. It was sold by a large black women in a traditional baian dress. It is a fried bread that is crispy brown. It is cut in half and green tomatoes, a yellow paste, shrimp and for the brave, red chilies are added. We both ate it on the side of the street with a beer. Schien beer is big here. We then went to dinner at Cabana da Cely. I ordered a cheese pastel to start and then had fried fish with french fries. We also had more beers. Next we went down the street to the Mercado bar for live music. A young man was playing guitar and singing Samba, Bosa Nova and Forro songs. Forro is a type of Northeast Brazil music that is sung with a repetitive rapid tempo. We both had Caipirinhas. When we got back to the hotel I wanted to go the pool in the courtyard outside our window but the water was a sickly green.
The next day we got up and had breakfast at the hotel restaurant. We had an assortment of breads and fruits. I had a rather large pimple on my back that was starting to bother me. I tried to pop it but only a little liquid came out. Today ( the 19th ) we took a taxi to historic old town Salvador. This is the most interesting part of Salvador with the colorful colonial buildings. There were still a lot of decorations for Carnival that was just last week. We started at Praca da Se. We visited the Memorial das baianas which is the large modern cross sitting on an angle. We walked up the street Rua Laranjeras and stopped into some tourist shops. There were lots of things to look at. Musical drums, wooden statues, shirts and the usual tourist things. Bahia ( which is this region of Brazil ) is know for these ceramic statues of black women in traditional Baian dresses. We spent the afternoon walking around. We saw the Igreja ( church ) of Sao Francisco but it was closed. We went into the Fundacao Casa de Jorge Amado who is a famous Brazilian writer. We had lunch at MamaBahia. Toni ordered moqueca which is fish served in a yellow stew. It was very tasty. We also had Caipirinhas. The restaurant was very pretty and set on a corner of one of the side streets. After lunch we walked back towards Praca da Se. A little boy tied strings to our wrists. The strings are not suppose to be bought but given. The person gets three wishes when it is tied with three knots. You can not take it off though and only get the three wishes when it falls off. It has been over a week and I am still wearing mine.
Back at Praca da Se we walked to Palacio Rio Branco but unfortunately it was closed for renovations. We took the Elevador Lacerda to the streets below. Historic Bahia is perched above the coast line. In 1873 a merchant, Antonio Francisco de Lacerda built this elevator. It is used by 30 thousand people daily. When we left the elevator there was the Modern Market. A large artisan market filled with everything you could want from Bahia. We bought shirts, a white lace table cloth. A pipe for Toni's mother whose smokes. On the second floor is a nice restaurant that looks out to the marina. Downstairs is a more basic cafeteria with boys performing Capoeira ( A mix of dancing and marcial arts ). We had a beer and then took a taxi back to the hotel.
When we got there Toni complained because the pool was still closed. They said it was still dirty from Carnival. Toni also said he heard the guy at the front desk offer the rooms at a significantly lower price then what we paid. That night at dinner we walked up the beach to Bahia evento. It was a large restaurant on the beach. We ordered wine and fried fish. That night was hard to sleep . The thing on my back was bothering me. The air conditioning worked too well... the room was cold and we only had a light sheet.
The next day ( the 20th ) we got up early and went down the beach and looked at hotels. We found a really nice modern hotel that faced the beach that was only 10 reais a night more then the Villa Roma. We went back, checked out, got our stuff and checked into Marazul. We were on the 6th floor with an ocean view. Toni called a friend of Jean Willis who said he would meet us at the beach. He said there was a gay area of the beach called Le boy that was located at the end of the beach. We went and got two chairs and a umbrella. The water is a lot different then Rio. It was a lot warmer. The beach hardly had any waves. The beach gets deep very rapidly so everyone is close together a few feet into the water. Andrea came and we spent the day talking to him and drinking beer. He also disappeared once to go smoke pot in the rocks. We don't smoke but I guess a lot of the gay guys there do.
That evening we went to the hotels pool ( yes, the pool water was a gorgeous blue at his hotel compared to the sickly green at the Villa Roma ). Afterwords we got pasta and seafood at the hotel restaurant. That night we had a slight problem with the air conditioner. It worked but the room was still a little too warm. It basically only came with an on and off switch so you could not choose the level. In the early morning we had them change our room
On our last day of Salvador ( the 20th ) we spent the day at the beach again. My blister was in fact an ingrown hair. Another one had sprouted up and the first was infected. It was getting pretty disgusting. Toni said all the sea f00d ( especially shrimp ) was making it worse. We went to the pharmacy and got some medicine for it. We had lunch at a local restaurant. Toni was homesick for steak so we had steak with rice and beans. In the evening we had dinner next door to our hotel. The place was called Pereira and is very chic. The inside was all sleek wood and glass. I ordered leg of duck with small fried potatoes. Toni got lamb with a potato puree. We also drank wine.
The next day the lady driver came and picked us up. We headed back to the airport for the next part of our trip.