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Date: 01 May 2015 17:59:00
Title: Escaped from the treacle ...

12:46.07S 38:38.68W

We got away! Salvador is lovely but it is a big city and trying to get anything done is like swimming in treacle with dive weights tied to your ankles!

For example, the first week we were here I asked Marcelo, our friend who knows how to, and gets things done, to introduce me to the sail maker so that I could buy some fabric to make sunshades. He phoned him straight away, gave me a price and said he'd call for me the following morning to take me round there. The next morning it rained ... NOTHING happens when it rains. After that Marcelo would say "I'll take you around any time" but I could never pin him down, he's a busy man.

On Monday I rang the sailmaker. "Sure you can come by, get Marcelo to bring you." Tuesday morning I caught up with Marcelo. "I'll take you this afternoon." That evening he called by, "Sorry I didn't come, I'll be here tomorrow at 9am". The whole day went by, no Marcelo. In the evening: "Hi guys, sorry, the dentist took longer than planned. I'll be here at 8am." At 8:50 I rang him, "I haven't forgotten you, will be there in 30 minutes". At 9:45 I was about to ring again when I saw his truck pull into the car park. We set off shortly afterwards. At 11:30 we were still driving around doing his errands. "I'd better ring the sail maker to say we are on our way." "Ah, you're not available today?!"
"Tell you what Kath, I'll drop you off in town where there are shops that sell fabric."

I more or less found what I wanted, for a fraction of the price the sail maker would have charged and had a great time on the way, from the conversation with Marcelo to lunch in a small market to discussing fabric in Portuguese, BUT it took all day!

Heavily loaded up with fabric and foam (to insulate the fridge lid) I hailed a taxi. "You want me to take you to the Terminal Náutico? no way, I'm going for a beer, anyway the road is too bad." I struggled up to Pelourinho (the top of the big lift) where Franco kindly met me to help carry the load. Forget swimming ... he looked like someone who'd drowned in treacle. He had had a very bad internet day. This is Brazil, man!

We set off to look for a spanner shop, we had been given general directions. None to be found but on the way we passed a shoe shop, just in time as Franco's sandals weren't going to walk much further!

As it was getting late, we decided to stay in Pelourinho for dinner. At the corner of one of the touristy streets, a lady did a good job promoting her restaurant. It is called 'Mão Dupla' (Double Hand) and was round the corner, off the beaten track, on Rua Santa Isabel. The food was very good and the caipirinha the best we have had so far. At the table next to us were a couple of Brazilian women. We got chatting. Suddenly rain came pouring down so we all huddled together under the sunbrella. The two women were from São Luis, on the north coast, 3 degrees south of the equator. The other two were a brother and sister from Rio de Janeiro, 23 degrees south, approximately two thirds of the way down the coast. All four are tourists visiting Salvador. As they babbled away in Brazilian, we wondered how a country so large with a rather poor communication infrastructure could share such a strong cultural identity and language. To give an idea of the scale, if you put São Luis on top of Caernarfon in North Wales, then Rio de Janeiro would be south of Rabat in Morocco! We parted best of friends with hugs and kisses. It was a fun evening!

It has been raining on and off for a whole week now though today was the most overcast, getting dark at 5:30. Last Sunday it rained very heavily overnight and when I went to the shower block in the morning, I nearly fell into a large hole that had opened up overnight on the quay. Franco had walked past it minutes before and hadn't seen it. He has never been a morning person. Sadly the same rain storm washed away houses in a poor neighbourhood of Salvador, killing 15 people.

We are making the most of the bad weather to get some work done. We are holed up in our private lagoon between Ihla de Frade (Island of the Brother - possibly named after the missionary that was eaten by cannibals here in the 16th century) and Ihla Bom Jesus (Good Jesus Island - named after local stand-up paddlers who look like they are walking on water).
View from our anchorage; a pretty holiday village on Santo Antonio

We’ve got 2m of water under our keel but the mud still looks scarily close

Kath


P.S. Stand up paddling is a 'sport' where you stand on a surf board and use a long paddle to propel yourself across the water.



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