Today I lived out the fantasy of every man who visits Brazil - a Brazilian girl asked me if I wanted some head. I didn't quite understand at first, and it took quite some to explain it to me, with a combination of words and hand gestures, but I finally got the message. She worked at the restaurant where I had lunch and was asking how I liked my beer. Oh ... not quite what I was hoping for, but I do also like that kind of head ...
I've figured out the mystery of why clothing costs so much in Brazil - it's not just the high taxes, it's because clothing stores employ so many people! With some time to kill today before my flight to Salvador, and because there isn't much to see or do around Boa Viagem, I headed to a nice, big, and more importantly, air-conditioned shopping centre. I laughed after walking into one store that had at least twelve employees - a comparably-sized store in Canada would probably only employ four to five people.
Like with any typical mall in North America, I quickly got bored and whiled away the rest of the morning with a coffee at Kopenhagen, a chain of coffee shops with a location I had seen while in Rio. Hoping that a fancy-looking chain like Kopenhagen might produce a decent cappuccino, I gave it a shot and discovered that my logic was flawed - weak ... A later attempt at the airport with Sao Braz, another big Brazilian coffee shop chain, proved to be another failure. The rest of the morning was spent having lunch at the food court - what's nice in Brazil (and also Argentina) is that shopping centres have what are essentially cheap sit-down restaurants operating out of the food courts. None are gourmet, but generally serve decent and reasonably-priced food.
I've been eagerly anticipating Salvador, as I've heard so many good things from both friends and people I've met during my travels - they all raved about the place, especially Pelourinho, the historic centre of Salvador. But when the plane finally arrived, I didn't want to get off - why? Because of the flight attendant - previously, I thought such heavenly creatures only flew the skies aboard Spanish airlines ... it made me want to stay on the flight until it reached its final destination of Buenos Aires! I only finally disembarked because of the hope that there would be more women like that in Salvador, and after security guards dragged me away, kicking and screaming.
Pelourinho has long had a reputation of petty crime - pickpocketing, muggings, young kids swarming tourists and taking everything ... but not according to a couple of Brits I met in Florianopolis, who said it was super safe, with policeman on every corner. But on the bus ride from the airport, a local lady proceeded to caution me, advising me to be extremely careful and to avoid walking after 9 PM, and that Pelourinho can be extremely violent ... OK ... who to believe?
But as always, these things are always exaggerated, at least for tourists - it was still early evening, but I never felt safety was an issue at any point during the short walk to the hostel. In fact, about five minutes into the walk I realized something - Pelourinho is awesome!!! So bustling and colourful, with carts selling food and drink, recorded music blaring from bars, live music played in the streets, capoeira demonstrations ... incredible!
Finally making it to the Nega Maluca guesthouse, I could tell that Rimma was right, an Israeli girl I met in Fortaleza, who had wholeheartedly recommended this place. Very social, with some nice comfy chill out areas, including a rooftop with several hammocks strung up and ready for some serious relaxing. A few of us had a plan to head out to a samba club after making some dinner, but the lure of the hammocks on the rooftop was too great, and we ended up chilling there instead. I think I'm going to love it here ...