1. a hotel, B&B or guest house in Brazil
Portuguese, literally ‘resting place’.
1. a period of being in somewhat less than perfect health
Roamingtons June 2017, literally ‘poo saga’
As you probably have guessed from the blog intro, we were forced to face the age old reality about travelling this week; at some point everyone gets ill. Luckily for you readers, this didn’t happen until the end of the week…
From Santiago (Chile) we flew to Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia (26 states in total), located on the northeastern side of Brazil. After the mammoth journeys we’d been taking in Patagonia (see past blog posts), the 6 hours of flying seemed like a breeze: swift and turbulent. OK so first impressions of Brazil: warm, noisy, energetic, vibrant, and… unnerving, party due to everyone warning us how dangerous it was, and partly due to the number of cockroaches scurrying around!
Armed with a good night’s sleep, a delicious avocado, mango and banana smoothie (the fruit in Salvador was incredible!) and a secret bum-bag for our stuff, we roamed from the beaches of Barra, to the cobbled pavements of Pelourinho.
To avoid being hassled whilst spying on an impressive street capoeira performance, we popped into a building that turned out to be incredibly interesting museum. The Afro-Brazilian Museum details the history of Brazil, from Portuguese invasion to the several hundred years of slave trade from Africa. At one point 75% of the population were African slaves and, along with the historical information, the museum displays several styles of art from those cultures including amazingly detailed wooden carvings. Mmm chicken…
Speaking of chicken, Friday night was spent with a bellowing chabad Rabbi in a shul weirdly donated by the “Fingergut” family; a relation of ours perhaps?
A 7-hour coach ride from Salvador brings you to the town of Lencois and the Chapada Da Diamantina national park, named after historic diamond mining, and features incredible mountains, forests, waterfalls and caves.
Our day started at the Devil’s Pool waterfall where unscrupulous workers would curse the devil for taking the diamonds they had been attempting to steal. In reality, rain could increase the water flow so much that even sunken diamonds would be swept downstream. Whilst the diamond mining has long ended (I still optimistically scanned the ground), this particular spot has become popular for people crazy enough to jump (or accidentally belly flop) 30m into the water below.
The most unique cave experience was swimming in the brilliant blue waters of Poco Azul. In high season tourists face a 4-hour queue for just 15 minutes in the cave; luckily we were the first people there so went straight in. The water was so completely still and clear to the rock beneath that, as we descended the rickety steps, I was surprised to find the water level about 10m higher than it appears!
At Pai Inacio however we were “special enough” to witness one of only two days a year that the view looks like this:
After three days of delicious tapioca pancakes, stunning views and swimming in every cave, waterfall and lake we encountered, we headed to Morro De São Paulo, an island a few hours south of Salvador, for some beach chilling.
OK folks, remember how this blog post started? Well I’ll spare you the unpleasant details, but after a lovely day of exploring Morro, things turned ugly fast when we were hit by a stomach bug. Numerous days were spent indoors wishing we were home whilst being surrounded by lush palm trees, warm sea water and pristine sun-drenched beaches; not quite what we had envisioned!
This is however the reality of travelling; it’s great, but it’s not all great. Blogging about the hours upon hours of planning, researching, debating and deliberating, or the conversations assisted by Google Translate, would make for some pretty dry reading. Travelling can be tough, and requires a lot of work, but I could not recommend it highly enough…in the words of Nike, just do it!
Our supply of freshly felled coconut water did seem to be helping (the pousada owners were really lovely!), but progress was slow. With a flight to Rio de Janeiro rapidly approaching, we had to find a way to escape the island…