A Travellerspoint blog

Sorry Patricia

Bye bye Brazil ... sigh ... but the funny thing?  For the first time that I can <i>ever </i>remember, I'm finishing up a trip without wanting more - strangely, I'm actually looking <i>forward </i>to going home, rather than <i>dreading </i>it.  What's happening to me?!??!?!?!  Where did the vagabond backpacker go, the one who always wanted to keep on traveling until his feet turned into giant football-sized blisters?  Could this mark some turning point in my life?  Has the wandering hobo finally had that epiphany, finally seen that sign from the Universe telling him that it's time to stop this silliness?  Bah!  That's just stupid talk!

Brazil kicked my ass.  Of the +45 other countries I have visited, none of them can make such a bold claim.  And not only did Brazil kick my ass, it stomped it into little bits.  Dancing to the tune of the samba.  While wearing soccer cleats.  And fio dental.  Then it lit the remains of my ass on fire and barbecued some good ol' churrasco over it.  And tried to extinguish the flames with some caipirinhas and caipiroscas, but those things are pure alcohol, so the fire grew even bigger.  So they ate some more picanha and danced some more samba, just because it's Brazil, and that's what Brazilians do.  Then they finally put out the fire with some guava and passion fruit juice, when they were exhausted from all the partying and ass-kicking.  But somebody brought out some energizing acai and Brazil said "Let's kick his ass again!  Because we are Brazilian!!!  And because we can!!!  Now we samba some more!!!"

I leave Brazil completely exhausted ... truth be told, the first ten days of the trip were pretty crazy and hectic, and I never recovered.  The heat, the sun, the long travel distances, the late nights, the lack of sleep, the recovery from the Yellow Fever symptoms and food poisoning ... it all caught up to me so quickly and came crashing down on my head in an instant, leaving me with the biggest Brazilian hangover.  I'm getting too old for this shit!  Can somebody tell me where to buy a time machine so that I can go back to a time where I could still handle all this???

I want to go home.  I want to sleep in my big, beautiful bed.  Under a thick goose down duvet, because it's nice and cool in my condo, and not 28 degrees and humid.  I want to have a nice hot shower because it's cold out, not a cold shower that is necessary to cool down my body temperature before it reaches heat stroke levels.  I want to sit on my sofa and do absolutely nothing.  I want to stare at the TV until my eyes glaze over and look like donuts! 

Brazil, you've won!  You've broken me down like no other country has ever done before!  But I definitely need to admit that Brazil is an awesome country - it's not all pretty like the Caribbean, but it's a great backpacker destination for that very reason.  It's beautiful, but a little rough around the edges.  And though I've already said this many times, it needs to be repeated - I've never been to another country where music is so intertwined with daily life.  If you take the pulse of Brazilian culture, it's not the sound of a beating heart you will hear but rather, the sound of a beating drum!  Nightclubs, dance clubs, clubs devoted to every type of Brazilian music, clubs devoted to every type of music in existence, all kinds of live music venues ... if you love music, Brazil is the place to be. 

Brazil isn't meant for the fast-paced traveler like myself - it's meant to be savoured, so quickly bouncing from place to place really doesn't allow you to fully appreciate what this country has to offer.  The month I spent here was nothing in a country so vast, a country with so much to see.  Chupada da Diamantina, Pipa, Jericoacoara ... so many great out-of-the-way places that I missed, so many places that weren't possible to visit given such limited time.  This first trip was a good introduction to the country - planning an itinerary for my next time in Brazil will be a breeze!  The Amazon, the World Cup, some beautiful little beach towns ... it'll be killer!

So, the final verdict on Brazil?  It's definitely worth a return visit and is one of the top countries I have visited, but sorry Patricia - as good as Brazil is, it's still not quite as good as the greatest country in the world and my favourite, Spain!  While the beautiful sound of samba makes you want to get up and dance, the beautiful sound of Spanish senoritas and their rolled double 'R's makes you drop to your news and cry tears of joy.  It's OK Brazil ... how could you compete with that?  But no worries - you'll still always hold a special place in my heart as Spain's wilder, Portuguese-speaking cousin!      

Now it's time to pick a song for the trip - typically for these wintertime getaways, it's not a song with any deep meaning.  Usually, it's a song I heard and liked during the trip.  A suitable choice would have been Stomae's <a target="_blank" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHoT4N43jK8">Alors On Danse</a>, a catchy but bland and repetitive dance tune that a few of us laughed about, because it was being played everywhere despite being so bad, and because it's sung in French, which probably nobody understood.  Instead, I'm going with Coheed and Cambria's <a target="_blank" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLFtM4GIRA4">Here We Are Juggernaut</a>, which was chosen despite having absolutely nothing to do with Brazil, because simply put, it's a killer song and I love listening to it!  And if there's anything I learned after traveling through beautiful Brazil for a month, it's that life is all about enjoying yourself and doing what feels good - it's the Brazilian way!     <b>Here We Are Juggernaut</b>

<i>Coheed And Cambria</i>

Keep your secrets in the dark Nothing matters anymore Body's breaking, drive me crazy This is not your place No, this is not your playground it's my heart

We were stupid, we got caught But nothing matters anymore So what? Here we are Juggernaut

Courage broken lashed to scars Can this love be what I want? Body's breaking, driving me crazy It's your fault!

We were stupid we got caught But nothing matters anymore So what, here we are Juggernaut

Juggernaut

So let's hang us a hangman We'll bury our burdens in blood So hang us a hangman We'll bury our burdens in blood Become stronger Juggernaut

Answer me "Did we take this too far?" You've given all I could need "Did we take this too far?" Oh, but your kiss won't leave me be "Did we take this too far?" Cause your teeth just won't stop Chewing out my heart!

We were stupid we got caught Nothing matters anymore So what? Here we are Juggernaut! Here we are Juggernaut! We are Juggernaut!

Why, why, why?

Free Advertising For That Bastard Rotten Ronnie ..

Free Advertising For That Bastard Rotten Ronnie ..


Killing the Final Few Minutes of the Layover ..

Killing the Final Few Minutes of the Layover ..

Posted by vagabondvoyager 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Family Ties

One of the things that makes Brazil so great is the multiculturalism - so many ethnicities are represented here, but the interesting thing is that first and foremost, people here are Brazilian first, and whatever their ethnic origin might be is secondary, if it even matters at all. Maybe it's just me, but even though I was born and raised in Canada, I feel like I'm perceived by others first as Chinese, and then as a Canadian. It's not a discriminatory sentiment, but it's quite obvious that I am different. And it's not to say that Brazil doesn't have any discrimination because it does, according to locals I've spoken with - it's just that the divides in Brazil are generally not along ethnic ones, but instead are along economic ones.

All this make me think of something funny - one of the hostel workers, Yula, took a real liking to Sam and we joked that she was her mother, since she took pretty good care of Sam during her time in Salvador. So if that were the case, that would make Johan Sam's father, and I would probably be the creepy uncle. It's the perfect modern multicultural Brazilian family, with Canada, China, Israel, and Sweden all represented!

So today is my last day in Brazil ... booooooooooooooo!!!! Not much going on, just taking it easy as I only had a few hours before leaving this crazy country. Ended up heading into Pelourinho with Johan and Samantha, just wandering around and doing some souvenir shopping, and checking out a free cultural centre that housed a museum showcasing African masks and statues, some modern art, and some religious-themed works. After a quick lunch and some goodbyes, I was off to the airport.

As always, the journey home is a time for reflection about the trip - prior to arriving in Brazil, I had spent a ton of time studying Portuguese for the two-week period immediately preceding the trip. The goal was to establish a firm base in Portuguese and hopefully speak something resembling the language after a month. I came into this aiming high, hoping to be nearly fluent by the time I left Brazil, knowing that I would never attain a level anywhere near that in such a short time frame.

But I am still happy to say that I can at least carry on a half decent conversation with a Brazilian. It did make me wonder ... really, I didn't have much Portuguese practice until the midpoint of the trip in Fortaleza, where I spent the better part of four days speaking the language since I didn't encounter too many non-Portuguese speakers during that time. It was that constant practice those four days that helped my Portuguese improve greatly ... if only I had been able to spend that much time speaking the language during the first two weeks!

But unfortunately, there was a negative side to my Portuguese improvement - as it improved, my Spanish worsened! It was terrible! I now speak Spanish with a slight Portuguese accent and quite often, I accidentally use a Portuguese word in lieu of the intended Spanish one. The languages are just too similar, and it's far too easy to confuse the two and make mistakes.

It's a hell of a journey back home - a 2.5 hour flight from Salvador to Sao Paulo, followed by the long flight to Chicago, a 4 hour layover, and then the final flight to Calgary. All in all, it'll be over 23 hours of travel before finally getting home. Isn't it wrong that I have to spend all that time traveling, only to arrive home to -20 C temperatures?

View From Nega Maluca's Terrace

View From Nega Maluca's Terrace


The Last Graviola Juice of the Trip - Sob, Sob ...

The Last Graviola Juice of the Trip - Sob, Sob ...


3200 km ...

3200 km ...


Somewhere in A Small Town In Germany ...

Somewhere in A Small Town In Germany ...


Who Would Wear Pants Like This?!?!?!?!

Who Would Wear Pants Like This?!?!?!?!


Final Per Kilo Restaurant of the Trip ...

Final Per Kilo Restaurant of the Trip ...


Guava, Mango, and Pineapple For Dessert ...

Guava, Mango, and Pineapple For Dessert ...


View From the Restaurant ...

View From the Restaurant ...

Posted by vagabondvoyager 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Combustion

Free the turtles!!! That was the mantra for today, as we were heading out to Praia do Forte, home of a turtle sanctuary. Poor little turtles in captivity - somebody needed to rescue them! The fact that the turtle sanctuary's goal is to raise and release turtles into the wild was just an unimportant detail that we could not let stand in the way of our objective. So we gathered our forces and readied ourselves for the mission, only to realize one terrible thing that would derail our plan - the last bus to Praia do Forte was at 10 AM, and it was already 10:30. Huh ... oh well, saving the world can wait until another day! Luckily, Ihla de Itaparica is only a 50-minute ferry ride away that runs every 30 minutes. There are supposedly a number of nice beaches around the island within a short bus ride of the town of Beira Mar, but due to a lack of time we stuck around the town. Once again, not the nicest of beaches, but who can complain about having any bit of sand, sun, and surf, especially coming a cold, northern climate? We had a few good hours until some ominous-looking storm clouds moved in, accompanied by thunder. Time to head back to Salvador!

The group split up, with a few of us heading down to check out the Marina. Johan does a lot of sailing back in Sweden and has a plan to return to Brazil with his boat, sailing around France and Spain, then down to the Canary Islands. From there, it's a long trek across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, and from there down along the coast of Brazil to Rio. The entire thing should take about a year he figures, including time to check out the various ports of call, and also waiting for the appropriate currents and weather patterns. I told him to let me know when it's a go - I'd love to tag along for part of it!

Johan wanted to check out the port charges at both the municipal and private marinas for future reference. That also gave us the excuse to chill out and have a beer at the fancy private marina - perfect timing as the sun was just starting to come down, making for cooler temperatures and also providing some beautiful sunlight reflecting off the boats and water.

Tuesday night is Pelourinho's biggest party of the week, with free concerts and a samba procession, essentially turning the historic centre into one giant street party. The evening started out on the steps in front of Igreja do Santissimo Sacramento do Passo for some live music, which was alright ... after a while some of us got a little bit bored and we headed into the streets searching for a percussion-induced concussion! Brazilian music is all about the drums, and it creates this powerful energy that reverberates inside your skull. It's like the people are gasoline and Brazilian percussion is the match that sets off the fire in Pelourinho!

There was this incredible percussion group performing in the street, forming a large circle with people invited to dance in the centre. Singing, dancing ... song after song this continued, one of those things you'll never forget and can't believe you were a part of. Then all of a sudden, they stopped ... because the drum procession was coming through. It's like I said earlier, percussion is what starts the party - but in Brazil it doesn't just set it off, it combusts and explodes!

The drummers were unbelievable - raising large drums with one hand high in the air, and striking them with the other, then dropping them back down, like it was some orchestrated part of the dance. Juggling drumsticks, throwing them high in the air, then catching them and striking those beats in perfect time ... they definitely put on a great show. Those immediately following the drummers appeared to be a part of the group, line dancing in unison, with seemingly a different dance for each song. As the procession passed, more and more joined and though the dancing was not choreographed at all in the back, nobody cared because everyone was having too much fun!

It's a shame that I left my camera back at the hostel - we were sternly warned about rampant pickpocketing Tuesday nights, and almost none of us wanted to chance it. We were even told to "keep your money in your balls", because it was so bad. I didn't follow that piece of advice, because it sounded rather painful, and also because it seemed like something that would require the services of some back alley witch doctor to execute ... so I instead emptied my pockets and wore a money belt. Apparently the pickpocketing is quite comical, at least according to anecdotal evidence - you'll feel the hands in your pocket and at times, even feel more than one set of hands going for it. So I was bit disappointed that nobody even tried to pickpocket me ... is there something wrong with hoping for a little groping?

After the procession left, we wandered over to Terreiro de Jesus for some more free music. It's typically a busy place with a few street vendors, but tonight it was absolutely packed, with street vendors completely lining the perimeter of the square. But unfortunately, the magic just wasn't there, and it just didn't compare to the procession we had just witnessed. A few of us wandered off to Praca da Se, which was one of the few quiet places in town tonight. Despite all the fun of the craziness in the streets earlier, it was nice to end off the evening by escaping the crowds with a little walk and fresh air, with a view of all the boats sailing by ...

Sunset at Salvador's Harbour

Sunset at Salvador's Harbour


The Big Bunda = The Big Ass!!! ...

The Big Bunda = The Big Ass!!! ...


Only in Brazil ...

Only in Brazil ...


View of Salvador From the Ferry to Itaparica

View of Salvador From the Ferry to Itaparica


Nothing Beats a Drink on the Waterfront

Nothing Beats a Drink on the Waterfront

Posted by vagabondvoyager 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Rude

Today, Salvador was hot. Really hot. Burst your eyeballs and make the resulting puddle of ocular fluid evaporate kind of hot. Especially out in the sun, waiting to take the Elevador Lacerda down to Mercado Modelo, Salvador's big crafts (i.e. - tourist crap) market, located in Cidade Baixa, the lower part of Pelourinho. It's a little suffocating with the crowds, especially with today's heat, and is especially annoying with old ladies grabbing at you, trying to scam you.

It's a common scam around the world, where they "give" you a cheap little bracelet, and they're quite aggressive about it if you ignore them, grabbing onto your wrist as you try and walk away. On a side note, how come the women in Floripa's nightclubs weren't so aggressive about grabbing at me? I definitely would NOT have walked away ...

Anyway ... after these old ladies bestow their gift upon you, they ask for a small gratuity and if you give them a coin, they tell you no, they need some paper money, that it's for a magic trick. They do end up giving you a nice little magic trick, making your money disappear into thin air, but then you never get it back ... this happened to one of the guys from the hostel and it was sad, because it was a guy that had so little money, he could only afford to eat biscuits and water on a 30-hour bus ride into Salvador!

The market isn't worth too much time, unless you have a ton of souvenirs to buy, so I headed back up to the main part of town for some sightseeing, popping into Igreja Sao Francisco. I'm checking things out when all of a sudden, some lady starts yapping at me. I had no idea what she was saying, and told her I don't speak much Portuguese. Then in the most condescending tone, she says "I wasn't speaking PORTUGUESE, I was speaking JAPANESE." Great, like I understand Japanese ...

Then she asks where I'm from and I say Canada, to which she replies "I know Canada, very beautiful." in the most rehearsed fashion possible. "Would you like a tour? Then after I can show you around some other places. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah!" No thanks ... that's quite alright ... I'm ok ... she wasn't even listening to what I said, just going off on her whole sales pitch. Perhaps you need to work a little on your people skills, if you're going to be a tour guide ...

Then it gets worse as I go to Teatro Miguel Santana to pick up some tickets to Bale Folclorico da Bahia, a production showcasing song and dance from the region, which came highly recommended by the hostel and by others who have watched the show. Apparently, these recommendations were not made based upon the level of customer service ...

I show up just after a couple that was also looking for tickets - they were directed to a guy who was about to disappear behind a door. They spoke with him briefly and gave him some money as I stood directly behind them, but before I could get his attention, he already disappeared behind the door, returning several minutes later with their tickets and change. I barely got his attention before he disappeared once again, and get the response "Why didn't you ask me before I went upstairs???", with a roll of the eyes. Uh ... because you were ignoring me earlier?

Then he goes off on a whole diatribe to one of his co-workers sitting nearby, as if I'm not even around, whining and bitching for a couple of minutes. Finally he takes my money and disappears, returning a short while later with the tickets and change. It never ceases to amaze me that somebody working in the tourist industry can be so rude and provide such shoddy service to those that created the market for their services. Based on principle, I should've said screw off and walked away without buying tickets ... but the question is, is it worth doing so if you end up missing out on a potentially incredible experience? Tonight, the answer was no, it's not worth saying no, because they only person that would've lost out would've been myself, as some other tourist would've snatched up the tickets. But it is unfortunate ... obviously, the guy knows he can get away with that type of attitude and still have plenty of business, so there is no incentive for him to change. What's up with all the rude people today??!!?!?!?

Now contrast that with the super friendly lady over at Cafe Atelier, where I stopped for a cake and coffee in the afternoon. It's the cutest little cafe, with what I believe is an antiques shop in the front, and a small little cafe with an even smaller balcony overlooking the bay - a perfect little spot for a snack and a break from the heat.

So I order a chocolate cake and a cappuccino, and it takes forever ... but it's ok, because the waitress is so kind and friendly, always smiling and cracking jokes. It's obvious that she's overwhelmed, running around taking orders, clearing plates, and making drinks at the bar, but nobody really minds. It probably took her fifteen minutes to come take my order, but she would always smile and say "just a minute" every time she walked by, without taking the order.

Quite some time later, she brings out the chocolate cake, which she wholeheartedly recommended - at least, I took it as a recommendation when I asked her what type of cakes she had and she just looked at me and said "chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate!", with eyes bigger than the chocolate cake. How could I say no to that? She then apologized, saying that the cappuccino would be coming very shortly, and not to rush and eat all the cake - "It's Brazil after all, and here we're very calm and relaxed ..."

She returns less than five minutes late with my cappuccino and seeing my now empty plate, bursts into laughter. "What happened to the cake???" as she chuckled heartily, to which I could only shrug my shoulders and say "It was too good ... I ate a little bit. Then a little bit more. Then a tiny bit more. Then it was all gone!" I probably spent 90 minutes at that cafe, with most of the time waiting for my order to be taken and the food to come out. Even getting the bill took a good 20 minutes, but I didn't care ... the view was great and the lady was so nice that I couldn't hold it against her.

So back to the show - by the time we rounded everyone up, we arrived just a few minutes before the start and ended up stuck with crappy seats. But the show was phenomenal, definitely worth the 35 Reais and then some, and also worth having to deal with the jackass who earlier wold me the tickets.

There were five parts to the performance, the first being "Pantheon dos Orixas", which showcases Candomble, an Afro-Brazilian religion that originated in Salvador. The second part was probably the best, "Danca do Fogo", a one-man fire show - I've seen these before, but never anything like this. The guy would walk over a pot of fire, and it wasn't like the fire walking where people walk over the coals - the flames were shooting up and as he stepped off, you could see the bottoms of his feet still on fire for several seconds. He then lit up some sticks and rubbed them all over his arms and body, then picked up some of whatever was burning and held them in his bare hands for several seconds, before popping it in his mouth to extinguish the flames. From what I could tell, there was no oil or gel spread on his body to prevent burns. Insane!!!

The next part was "Puxada de Rede", symbolizing fisherman and their wives asking for the Goddess of the Sea for protection and good fishing. After that was a Capoeira demonstration, which was unbelievable for both the intensity and speed of the performance. I was later told by someone studying at one of Pelourinho's numerous and famous Capoeira academies that the performance was completely rehearsed, and not true Capoeira - the real thing is dynamic with the participants playing off of one another, where there's an ebb and flow to it, unlike tonight's show. But it didn't matter ... rehearsed and choreographed or not, it was still an incredible spectacle.

And to finish it all off, of course - some samba, the most Brazilian of dances. I'm not usually big on these types of traditional dance performances, but this night was unforgettable. I've never before been to a country where song and dance were so integrated with the culture. In fact, it seems like the entire culture revolves around these two things and this is evident in the energy and happiness the performers exuded. Brash, colourful, loud, with incredible percussion ... it was almost as if the roof was about to explode off the place. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed in the performance, but you can check out some similar stuff here.

There was no way that another typically-quiet night in Pelourinho (by Brazilian standards, at least) could top that, though we tried - there was a samba club known for being the best place in town this particular night of the week, but nobody brought enough cash for the 30 Reais entrance fee. But lucky for us, there was a free reggae concert across the street, so we were able to enjoy that, and also catch a bit of samba on the street outside. The great thing about Brazil is that you can almost always find something free or cheap to do!

Elevador Lacerda, Mercado Modelo Down Below

Elevador Lacerda, Mercado Modelo Down Below


Palacio Rio Branco, Praca Municipal

Palacio Rio Branco, Praca Municipal


Blinged Out Igreja de Sao Francisco

Blinged Out Igreja de Sao Francisco


The View From Cafe Atelier

The View From Cafe Atelier


Killer Chocolate Cake ...

Killer Chocolate Cake ...


Forgot the Name of This Cool Little Church

Forgot the Name of This Cool Little Church


More Blinged Out Igreja de Sao Francisco

More Blinged Out Igreja de Sao Francisco


Even More Blinged Out Igreja de Sao Francisco

Even More Blinged Out Igreja de Sao Francisco


Bahian Crepe ...

Bahian Crepe ...


Forgotten Stash of Money ...

Forgotten Stash of Money ...


Sons of Gandhi - Famous Pelourinho Music Group

Sons of Gandhi - Famous Pelourinho Music Group


Cat Nap

Cat Nap

Posted by vagabondvoyager 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

1000 Calorie Bomb

For a country with so many beaches and such warm weather, the past three and a half weeks have been relatively devoid of time spent lounging around, sunning, and swimming. Today was likely the last chance to get in some beach time before heading home, so I wanted to take full advantage. A bunch of us headed out to Itapua, since it was only a short bus ride away and despite not knowing this at the time, gives me another funny story to tell!

It's a beach frequented mostly by locals, so a group of international backpackers like us isn't exactly inconspicuous, which is usually a bad thing here. After we settled into a spot on the beach, Johan noted some locals hovering around in the background, perhaps will some ill intentions toward some tourists ...

Itapua beach definitely isn't the stuff of postcards, with lots of seaweed washed up on the beach, some nasty looking tidal pools that people liked to sit in, and fish carcasses strewn about, which gave the water and area a slightly unpleasant smell. It's also a completely exposed beach, with only a couple of palm trees that provided any shelter from the blistering sun. A few of us scouted an area with a number of fishing boats, some of them inverted and placed atop stands, which provided a small amount of shade to take cover under when the sun became a bit too much.

It was a bit of a maze in that area, with so many fishing boats lined up together, and all of it backing against a stone retaining wall. As the afternoon sun grew hotter, we crammed ourselves under the little bit of shade we had, sitting in a row across, with our belongings just behind us. Normally I'm quite diligent about placing my things in front of me where I can see them, within arm's reach - but with the maze of boats and the retaining wall, it seemed safe ... though I did wonder if anyone would be brave enough to sneak back there and try to snatch something. It didn't seem very likely, with a group of six people.

Getting hungry, I went for a walk in search of some street food, coming across a guy selling mixed skewers of meat - beef, chicken, and sausage, all topped with a few slices of cucumber, onion, and tomato drizzled with vinaigrette. I eat one. Tasty, but salty. I go pick up a can of Pepsi from another vendor. Refreshing. I'm still hungry, and decide to head back for a second skewer.

So picture this - I'm walking along with a drink in one hand and a skewer, down a ramp back towards the group on the beach. Mmmm ... so tasty, salty grilled meats balanced with the sweetness of an ice cold soft drink on a hot day at the beach. Grease is dripping down my mouth and fingers. Perfect. I'm in a blissful state of near Nirvana - salty fatty meat and caffeine will do that to me.

I notice that the group has scattered somewhat from the shelter of the fishing boat, with some now either swimming or out in the sun. All of a sudden I hear some guy screaming, and some kid is running up the ramp towards me. With a backpack in his hand. Not sure what to make of this, I squint to take a closer look - maybe the sunlight reflecting off the grease on my mouth and fingers is affecting my eyesight. The next thing you know, the kid drops the bag, takes a sharp left, and scrambles up the retaining wall. I bend down to pick up the bag - it's mine!!! WTF?!??!?

I return to the group and everyone is a bit shocked - obviously, the kid had been lying in wait for quite some time until the opportunity arose, when there were only two people left under the boat. One of the girls started shouting when it happened but was afraid to do anything, as she was also guarding someone else's bag that contained a high-end camera and a significant amount of cash.

We decided to pack it in and while doing so, the old man who was yelling at the thief was scolding at us to be more careful, to keep our things within sight and by our side. We really couldn't say anything about that, because it was mostly his help that really made the kid drop the bag, even though I could've attempted to snatch the bag back, if I wasn't so dazed and confused at that moment. It really was fortunate timing that I happened to return at that exact instant, because it may have been just enough to shock the kid into dropping it.

We thanked the old man as we were leaving and he pulled out his wallet, showing us his ID - Military Police! So he was probably shouting something along those lines to the kid, freaking him out. Unlucky on the kid's part, just happening to be attempting a robbery in the presence of a cop, and just as I was returning to the scene of the crime.

Later that night, a few of us ended up walking around and grabbing some street food - first an acaraje, a local specialty of a black-eyed pea fritter cut open and stuffed with a shrimp paste, shrimps, beans, hot sauce, and assorted vegetables. The fritter is a bit like a falafel, and it's almost like the local version of a kebab. Cheap and tasty, but loaded with calories - rumour has it that each one contains almost 1000! Not feeling quite satisfied with just 1000 calories for dinner, we also grabbed a skewer of meat - a mistake! Though they were also quite delicious, Johan and I ended up with some stomach troubles later that night and the next day, which we attributed to the skewers and not the acarajes. It's always a risk with street food, and I'm surprised that there haven't been any incidents previously.

Pelourinho is rather quiet at night ... it's lively for a while until about midnight, when it completely dies down, leaving the streets empty. As fun as Pelourinho is, it's a bit boring later on, as all the nightlife is in Barra or Rio Vermelho. The most happening place in town tonight was Praca do Reggae, an open air reggae club - great music and vibe, it was SO tempting to go in ... but we stayed out, as common sense prevailed. The crowd there was super sketchy, with many people completely bombed and a number of people strung out. After returning to the hostel, we found out that our instincts were right - apparently, Praca do Reggae is notorious for pickpocketing, robbery, and drug dealing. The police raid the place every few days. If only our instincts were so good at the beach earlier today!

Sunset over Cidade Baixa (Lower City)

Sunset over Cidade Baixa (Lower City)


Itapua Beach

Itapua Beach


Nasty Tidal Pools - Why Would You Sit In That?!?!?

Nasty Tidal Pools - Why Would You Sit In That?!?!?


Ripping Off a Fellow Canadian's Idea ...

Ripping Off a Fellow Canadian's Idea ...


Finally, Acai!!! ...

Finally, Acai!!! ...


1000 Calorie Bombs - Assembling Acarajes

1000 Calorie Bombs - Assembling Acarajes


Igreja Nossa Senhora do Carmo

Igreja Nossa Senhora do Carmo


Cruzeiro de Sao Francisco With ...

Cruzeiro de Sao Francisco With ...


Monument in Praca Municipal

Monument in Praca Municipal


Terreiro de Jesus

Terreiro de Jesus


Igreja do Santissimo Sacramento do Passo

Igreja do Santissimo Sacramento do Passo


Igreja da Ordem Tercerio do Carmo

Igreja da Ordem Tercerio do Carmo

Posted by vagabondvoyager 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

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