salvador - a cultural capital

  • bara beach
  • christ at barra beach
  • still barra beach
  • other end of town beaches
  • statue at old town
  • elevator at old town - only 2p to go up
  • pretty useless for in the middle of the bay
  • skyline
  • elevator from top
  • old train type thing to get to the top of old town - or down for that matter
  • praca da se in old town

On Saturday the 19th of September, Anita, Tav and I arrived in Salvador. The main purpose of Tav and I stopping there was to break up the trip down to Itacare. Anita hadn't decided yet if she'd be coming with us to Itacare or if she'd visit Lencois National Park before that. I was also contemplating going to Lencois as so many people had mentioned it, but then the thirst to stay at the coast for more surf time took over and I decided from Salvador I'd head to Itacare.

Decision made, I went for a walk out to some of the local beaches hoping I'd get a bit of a session in the water. Unfortunately though, all the beaches close to the Albergue do Porto hostel we were staying at were flat. It was only about 10am when I was walking along the beachfront and according to one of those info screens, the temperature was 30 degrees celcius. Unbearably hot, and sweating like a race horse I headed back to the hostel for a cold shower and a snooze on the hammocks - I hadn't slept much on the overnight bus so I was exhausted.

That evening the 3 of us cooked up a few steaks - all of us were trying to cut back a bit on the daily budget. I for one have gone way over my budget and need to tighten the wallet. We also got a couple of bottles of wine for dinner. After dinner, Tav, Anita and the Austrians we met at dinner were keen on going out in town, but I had my mind set on a very productive sunday. My plan was to surf Praia Flamengo, about an hour and a half away, and after that head to Iguajave beach to watch the longboard finals followed by another surf, so I gave the outing a miss. I had a fair amount of wine over dinner, and didn't struggle to fall asleep out in the hallway on one of the hammocks - way fresher than the stuffy rooms.

On Sunday morning I got up early, had some of the free hostel breakfast and headed out with my board to look for the bus to Flamengo. Almost missed the bus because it was just leaving the stop as I arrived. The bastard driver didn't stop for me so I ran after it, fortunately I caught up because there was a traffic jam. The ticket guy at the back of the bus was nice enough to open the door for me. Felt a bit strange sitting on this city bus with my board in my hand. A few minutes later another dude hopped on, also carrying a board. I got chatting to him about the local surf spots etc. Found it funny when I asked him what the crowds were like and he said "Pretty much most locals are a bunch of p*ssies so when the sun is out and the surf is small like today everybody is out, as soon as it picks up a couple of feet you have the beach to yourself." He got off at a much closer beach and I carried on to Flamengo.

It took much longer to get there than I thought it would, and when I arrived I was somewhat disappointed. Not by the quality of the waves, but by the place itself. I was expecting this virgin beach with forrest around it etc. But instead this was one of those beaches that has been overtaken by local tourism. The whole are is built up with rich condo's and the masses of people flocking onto the beach all seemed like rich kids from the city. I surfed for a few hours and then got a bus back to where the comp was being held.
The comp was pretty boring - the waves were small and it was a longboard comp - and frankly I couldn't wait til it was over so that I could go in for another session. Once it was over I paddled out and had another 2 or so hour session (along with about 50 other people who'd been watching the comp), before catching another bus back to the hostel.

The bus going back took a different route, much more along the coast and I was fascinated by how beautiful Salvador actually is. And I also got a glimpse of quite a few surfable beaches. I started contemplating whether or not I should stay in the city a few more days to really get a taste of what was once the capital of Brazil and also where the Portuguese first arrived bringing slaves - which explains the very African appearance of the locals.

We decided we'd head off to Itacare on Monday night, although Anita left for Lencois on Monday morning. So, on Monday morning Tav and I headed out to the bus station to make sure we could get tickets for that evening, and after buying the tickets headed round the old town. Very pleasant place and in some ways I'm sad I didn't have more time for it.