Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Salvador da Bahia

We made it to Salvador at the beginning of a very wet weekend, which nearly managed to turn all the brightly coloured houses of the Pelourinho into a boring grey. Mmmm, flip flops and wet cobblestones; Slip slops.
From Salvador

The Pelourinho sits on a hill over looking what's known as Ciudad Baixa (lower city) and the bay upon whose borders Salvador lies. It's super cultural up here, which also means it's super touristy and you get hustled to buy stuff or give out money wherever you go. On the upside there is music and dancing all day long and we are always stumbling upon a group of kids bashing out rhythms on the streets outside their school.
From Salvador

We got taken in by a scam last night when a street kid came and asked Leah for some money. We've read that it's best not to give out money since more often than not they don't use it to buy food but instead for drugs, or even worse for someone elses drugs. So instead we offered to buy him some food and he lead us off to some cafe. We ordered him a burger and a drink, which we paid for upfront and then we waited while they went about making it. When the kid realised we wanted to stay and wait with him while he ate he threw a tantrum and began huffing about outside the cafe, and when asked why he didn't want to eat with us he said he wanted to take the food home. Meanwhile we still waited for them to make his burger. I realised that the guy in the cafe was in on this scam and actually they expected us to go before we received his food, at which point no doubt they would have split the money we had handed over and he would have been off to hustle someone else for money. When he realised we weren't going anywhere he reluctantly took the burger and drink and then left in a huff. But when we left after him he was waiting round the corner and promptly ran back around into the cafe and we overheard him arguing with the owner, no doubt expressing his disappointment about having food rather than cash. What to do?

Tomorrow we're splitting North again to Maceio and in the next two weeks we've to make it right up to the most Eastern shores of Brasil before we turn the corner and fly West toward the jungle. Incredible to think that we just past the four month marker on this trip! A little under a month left in Brasil now and then we shall be in Venezuela.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Itacaré

Itacaré is a super cool little surf town where we have been since Sunday. It has cobbled streets and loads of restaurants and bars much like Arrial d'Ajuda, the difference is that it feels less polished and touristy, which is down to the more hippy / surfery crowd that hang out there.

The beaches are lovely, though the bay closest to the town is a bit poluted and stinky, however a 10 minute walk brings you to fantastic waves and clean water. I spent the first two days playing on our board, which was frustrating at first but I had one or two quite good rides in the end. Some of the waves are really scarey - massive and steep and they form those tubes you see people riding through in surf videos and photos. The thing is, when you're lying on a board looking down one it all gets a bit hair raising - and if you dont stand up you get mashed; welcome to my world.
From Itacare

On the third day we got up early and took a bus a little way out of town with a Swiss girl called Ursula to find some other beach that had been recommended for snorkelling. The bus dropped us by a muddy track and we had a feeling that they had shot past the proper path to the beach. However, some helpful locals pointed us in the right direction so off we went and were soon following a path through an amazing jungle forest which we hoped would lead to the beach. After some interesting and rather painful encounters with ants, a few river crossings and a squelchy walk through a mangrove swamp we finally arrived at what was indeed a pretty nice beach. Not sure you'd write a book about it though. There was no snorkelling to be had since the sea was rough (out of season apparently) so we wiled away a nice day reading and throwing the occasional Frisbee.

Back in Itacaré that evening we went to watch a Capoiera demonstration, which was pretty cool. Not sure I understand it all that well yet but some of the dudes where obvisouly really good, even to my untrained eye. We actually prefered some of the stuff we've seen individuals do on beaches when they're just practicing since the sand allows them to do some amazing flips and stuff without too hard a landing.

I had hoped for one last day of surfing before we left but yesterday the sea was a right mess and the lifeguards were actually stopping people from going in. Nevermind, reading the Lonely Planet it seems as though there will be plenty more as we continue up the coast past Salvador and onto São Luis. We're currently sat in a bus station waiting for our bus to Salvador - we started at 6 this morning so we're both a bit bleary-eyed, only 8 hours to go though....

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Arrial d'Ajuda

We met a realy nice guy called David and his Brasilian step daughter Ueidi at our lovely pusada here in Arrial d'Ajuda (check the photos of the pool over looking the reefs and lovely blue sea!). They've left back to Salvador today but we've had a nice time hanging out with them for a couple of days -we'll hopefully be catching up with them in Salvador next week for a bit of local knowledge!
From Itaunas and A...

I've managed to upload a whole bunch of photos from Vitoria, Itaunas and here so take a look if you've a moment!

P.S Is Myspace dead in the face of Facebook?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

North north north - Porto Seguro

Arrrgh, my head is fizzing after one of the worse bus rides yet - from midnight till seven in the morning rumbling along in a dark smelly box. At one point the over enthusiastic child in the seat behind noisily slurrped down it's Guarana drink (smells a bit like Tizer) and then threw it up all over the isle - thankfully though, not over Leah who was in the seat directly in front trying to get some shuteye. The journey started at 16:30 from Itaunas after there were no seats left on the bus that would have arrived here in Porto Seguro right as we eventually began our journey described above. Blah blah blah, I cant think straight, think I need to hit the lovely pool or take a dip in the calm blue seas that are making up for the nasty journey! We're actually staying in a town just across the estuary from Porto Seguro, which is much nicer but has a much more complicated name that I cant remember right now - I'll ask Leah and get back to you! It's called Arrial d'Aujda.
From Itaunas and A...

First though, I've got to call the Mexican embassy in Venezuela to try and work out how we are going to get home without it costing an extra GBP1500 to buy a flight from Venezuela. BA have decided they can be of no help. Thanks guys.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Itaúnas

After five hours we arrived at the deadest town so far; Conceiçao De Barra and had to run around knocking at doors to find an open pousada (Hostel). We debated not going to Itaúnas (which is where we were aiming for all along) as the bus connections are terrible and to get out of here we have to back-track for miles (and hours) but in the end we're super glad we did. Itaúnas is great - sure it's outofseason sleepy, but it's got personality. Personality goes a long way.

No sooner had we stepped off the (rickety) bus than a dude approached us asking if we wanted a pousada. We're pretty cagey about being approached these days after a few dodgy experiences, but this guy is super cool and genuine and is really looking after us here! This place has 35 pousadas as it balloons in summer from 1000 fishermen to 25,000 party people! We're actually pretty happy to be here in the sleepy hour as we had the beach almost to ourselves today.
From Itaunas and A...

There were just two of us surfing the waves - me and a guy called Marcelo who we've been hanging with ever since! We got chatting and after the beach Leah, myself him and his wife went for a canoe trip up the river here....then they invited us to dinner at their pousada - he's been coming here for 15 years! Travelling is fun!
From Itaunas and A...

Tomorrow I'm going surfing again :)
From Itaunas and A...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Vitoria

We splashed out for a day of luxury yesterday after leaving Guarapari and stayed in the Senac da Ilha do Boi in Vitoria...a place atop a hill with a Sauna, pool and cableTV. Last night we ventured into the happening 'Bermuda Triangle' of Vitoria and had the nicest Sushi of the trip!

This morning hasn't gone so well however....the bus we wanted was full so we have to wait around till 4 to leave. Then we walked into town to find this internet cafe so I could Skype Heddwyn for his birthday...the first computer crashed, on the second one the microfone didn't work and then to top it all the boss of this place seems to have sacked the guy who was trying really hard to help me out....what a w*nker. Got that wrong thankfully!

There's some nice architecture in this part of town though, I'll try and get some photos before we hop on the bus. I wont be sad to leave now, but it also seems as though a lot of the coastal places have shut down with the coming of winter...though it's still hot and sunny. We're trying to get up to a marine park for some snokelling....but currently it's hard to get in touch with anyone for advice on whether it's open. oh well!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sleepy outofseason Guarapari

After a tiring 9 hour bus journey we arrived in a windy and rainy Guarapari yesterday evening. Today the sun is out again but the wind is whipping what would usually be a calm and beautiful great-for-snorkelling bay into a sea of white horses. And 90% of everythig is closed. I guess our snorkel and masks will be staying in the bags for the time being....

I think tomorrow we will head to Vitoria.

P.S I think it's Ben Lambert's birthday, Happy Birthday Ben!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Super Surf at Saquarema

We've escaped from Rio and come to Saquarema where we've been watching a leg of the Super Surf Brasilian surf championship. This beach is allegedly one of Brasil's best surf beaches and when we arrived the waves were massive! However, today the swell has dissapeared somewhat, which has made for a dissapointing final for the surfers. However, for me it was great as I got to spend hours on our board playing in the waves. I went in yesterday too, but it was pretty scary for a novice like me!

Last night the town was heaving as some famous band were playing, never really caught the name though - sorry. We went to join in and after a steak that could have fed ten (we actually shared a portion listed as a single) and a fantastic banana and chocolate pancake we joined the heaving crowds in front of the stage. There was a cool fireworks display before the music that went off in front of the very pretty church that overlooks the town and the bay. We only stayed for a couple of numbers in the end though as it turned out to be a sort of Ska band and it didn't really butter our muffin.

On a final note: if you want to stay regular, forget fibre; drink coffee.

Friday, May 04, 2007

One last look....

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Death of my Birks


It was with a tear in my eye that I had to say goodbye to my trusty Birkenstock sandals that have been travelling with me since the begining of this trip....Bye bye Birkies, bye bye.
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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Football, Snot and video rush

Man, I'm all snotty. Had to happen eventually I guess - a little bit of rain over the weekend and suddenly my nose is running all over the place. Nice.

On Sunday we went to see a football final between two Rio teams; Flamengo and Botafogo. We went with a whole bunch from the Hostel and were bunched together as token Flamengo fans in the sea of serious Flamengo football nuts that went crazy all around us. The atmosphere and vibe were great, but at the end of the day it was just football, innt?
From Flamengo Vs. ...

The video below should illustrate some of the maddness that overcame everyone...The other videos are from the Redbull air race and the Christ statue that I tried to post before but they didn't seem to work...

We're now staying with some family friends of Leahs' called Munira and Dilshad and their three young daughters, Nafisa, Tahani and Zahara. It's great to be in a home, though we're are getting far too comfortable thanks to their wonderful hospitality! I've got this cold though, which I'm keen to shake off as my head feels like a damp sponge.

Flamengo fans going crazy

Redbull plane madness

Redbull Helicopter madness

Rio from Cristo