Salvador da Bahia

We arrived at the Terminal Nautico marina at 10 am on the 13th February. Salvador is big, a high-rise, modern city, with a historic colonial centre as befits the original capital of Brazil. We arrived in the run-up to Carnival, and our lasting impression will be one of noise and rhythm, music thumping from 05.30 till late at night. Oh, and of heat... well over 30 degrees and 70% humidity. Somewhere to swim would have been wonderful, but there are no pools close to the marina and the water in the bay is uninviting. Everyone is immune to noise. If the crew of a tripper boat dinghy out to their mooring at dawn, their first action on arrival is to switch on the samba. If two men are chatting in the marina and one decides to go to the loo, the conversation continues uninterrupted, just louder so as to cover the extra distance. Opposite the marina is a naval establishment. Call the Hands is at 06.00, and throughout the day a number of announcements are made, each preceded by a pipe on a bosun’s whistle.
There is an undercurrent of crime, none actually seen by us, but hyped by numerous imprecations to be careful, and by the blatant South-American-city gulf between rich and poor. On the plus side, there is clear determination by the authorities to protect tourism, and “policia militar” are everywhere, as are apparently unmolested tourists.
The old city is on top of a cliff facing the marina. One reaches it on the Lacerda elevator, a public lift which operates frequently and costs 15c, say 4p. We were advised not to use it after sunset, but we did so frequently and had no trouble. The buildings, the churches, and the cobbled streets are lovely. Unfortunately some of the squares and monuments had been fenced off in preparation for crowd control during Carnival. I suppose that Notting Hill is not much different in August. The restaurants are mostly excellent, the wine is good, the caipirinhas are delicious, the prices modest. The beat of Brazilian music in the evening penetrates the soul.
Graham went home to his family in Somerset for 10 days. Mark went with Sharon and Karen from other boats to the Chapada Diamantina Park for a weekend. Later in the week Mark and I took a tripper boat around the bay to visit Isla dos Fades, Itaparica, and a couple of the beaches.
So, Salvador is a vibrant city, we’re glad that we’ve been there and seen it, but it won’t be top of a list of World ARC favourites.
Graham returned at midnight on Sunday 24th February and we sailed for the North after passport clearance at mid-morning on the 25th.