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Tuesdays, Turtles, & Tranny Tantrums

Tuesdays, Turtles, & Tranny Tantrums

There is nowhere in the world quite like the Afro-Brazilian city of Salvador.  This city rocks!  Salvador’s resident population is largely made of descendants of African slaves.  The residents have managed to preserve the slave traditions better than anywhere in the world – including music, dance, food, and art.  Even the historic center neighborhood (Pelourinho) is named after the whipping post used there to punish the slaves.  Walking through the streets of Pelourinho is a feast for the senses – colorful art and dancers, flavorful food, and the sounds of handmade instruments.  It’s easy to forget which country you are in.  The numerous historic centers filled with old cathedrals, colorful buildings, and women in bright, traditional dresses are a photographer’s dream. Bryan didn’t even know where to begin shooting.

Tuesday is the best day to be in Salvador, specifically in Pelourinho.  Geronimo is a famous singer/musician who vowed that if he ever made it big he’d perform for free in Salvador once a week. Hundreds of people line up on the stairs of an enormous, abandoned church and vendors sell cheap beer and caipirihnas.  Geronimo reminded us of the Brazilian version of Jimmy Buffet.  His back-up band even sounded like the Coral Reefer Band.  On Tuesday evenings there are plenty of free music productions all over the streets of the Pelo.  People dance and follow the bands up and down the hilly cobble-stone streets.  Any day of the week you can see men performing Capoeira with accompanying bands.  Capoeira is like a mix of martial arts, dance, and gymnastics.  It began back in the time of slavery as a way for the slaves to stay in shape and practice defending themselves.  The masters forbid Capoeira so the slaves disguised the practice fighting with the ritualistic dance moves and flips.

Some of our readers have expressed interest in hearing more about the hostels we stay in.  I definitely have to mention the hostel we stayed at in the Pelourinho area of Salvador – Galleria 13.  A dorm only cost $17 USD per person per night.  The location was right in the middle of everything in the most happening area of Salvador.  The price included a large breakfast and my personal favorite – a free caipirinha hour! 🙂  I was also partial to the place because of the two co-owners – a boxer named Spartan and a Brazilian “Fila” named Zulu.  A Fila looks like an even bigger, droopier version of Rawley.  The hostel also provided lots of information about the city and surrounding area for its guests (and the owner and staff spoke English).  The only downside of the place was the all-night battle Bryan had with a Canadian girl over control of the A.C.  I kept waking up sweating and then I’d hear Bryan sneak out of his top bunk in the dark to turn the A.C. back on.  Not all of the hostels have been the best in South America but we have come across some great ones.  And you definitely can’t beat their prices.

Bryan finally gave in and took my dirty laundry to a laundromat!  I’ve been washing my clothes by hand since the start of the trip (6 weeks!).  Bryan heard horror stories about clothes being ruined by the laundromats so he was reluctant to try it;  especially since our clothes are higher quality travel brands like North Face, Columbia, and Patagonia.  I was so desperate to have fluffy, clean laundry that I was willing to take the risk.  On one of our bus rides my bag was underneath the bus and must have shared close quarters with a shipment of fish (probably belonging to the same guy who brought the bucket of fish on the bus with us).  My bag and a lot of my clothes reeked after that.  Bryan thinks I did it on purpose so I could get my clothes washed.  😉  Laundry here is pricey!  It cost almost $20 USD and took over 6 hours to have one load of laundry done.  We came back before my clothes were finished and saw that one of the gas dryers was smoking profusely.  The women ran over to it and pulled out some of MY clothes.  Bryan convinced me that they were all burnt, shrunk, and melted.  The women at the laundromat definitely don’t understand the “tumble dry on low heat” instructions on all of my clothes.  Luckily, I haven’t noticed anything wrong with them yet . . .  I’ll think I’ll just stick to hand-washing for now.  I miss my washer and dryer almost as much as I miss my dogs!

While we were waiting for my clothes to finish we stopped in a nearby restaurant for a drink.  All of the sudden I heard a person yelling and screaming.  I’m calling the person “it” because although it was nearly naked, we still don’t know whether it was a male or female.  Let’s just say there was anatomical evidence to support both sides . . . I won’t get any more descriptive than that!  He-She stopped in front of the open-air restaurant and started ranting and raving at all of us, crying and flailing its arms in the air.  It took its pink skirt off and was wearing only a tank-top and flowered thong.  It’s face and knees were all scratched up and bloody.  It asked for a cigarette from a woman at the restaurant and then snatched the lit cigarette out of her hand and threw it to the ground.  The disgusted woman and her husband left without paying for their beer.  Several policeman pulled up but didn’t seem to know what to do when it collapsed on the ground and threw a tantrum, crying about it’s skinned knee and telling the police that it was a model and a dancer.  The he-she continued taking off clothes and stomping down the street.  The police finally arrested it after speaking with some men who it was apparently harassing.  I really wish I could understand Portuguese at times like that!

We took an overnight trip to the resort town of Praia do Forte (before returning to Salvador for another couple of days and the Tuesday night parties!).  What first attracted me to the town was the Tamar Project – a sea turtle rescue center that’s open to the public.  Tamar has been around for over thirty years and has saved 11 million sea turtles along the coasts of Brazil.  Sea turtles have been around since the time of dinosaurs but mankind has caused their numbers to dwindle to near extinction.   A big part of the problem is that the baby turtles are attracted to the brightest thing they see after they hatch (which should be the horizon since they ALWAYS hatch at night).  But with all of the development along the ocean, the baby turtles get disoriented and go towards the lights of buildings.  Sadly, many baby turtles never make it to the sea and die of dehydration or from predators.  Tamar relocates nests and makes sure the hatchlings make it safely to the sea.  The pool of baby turtles at Tamar is adorable – they reminded me of the little surfer turtles from “Finding Nemo.”  Bryan and I thought they were wind-up toys at first.  They had plenty of enormous adult turtles at Tamar for rehabilitation, too.

Along with the Tamar Project, Praia do Forte has nice, clean beaches and a series of “natural swimming pools” for snorkeling and swimming that form during low tide.  The pristine little town is a popular spot for vacationing Brazilians.  There are gorgeous, sprawling beach houses surrounded by lush vegetation (tons of palm trees and hibiscus).  It’s definitely a nice escape from the big cities.  After spending time in the jungles of Venezuela and the Amazon with no monkey sightings, I was shocked to see dozens of monkeys running around the town of Praia do Forte.  There were marmoset monkeys EVERYWHERE – adults and lots of babies scampering across the roofs and jumping from tree to tree.

After an unforgettable time in Salvador and Praia do Forte, we are heading west to Chapada Diamantina National Park for some hiking.  The park was highly recommended from a Brazilian-American teacher we met.

Tchau!


  • Kelly Waugh

    Awwwwwww, they really do look like Rawley and Momo!!! ;o)

  • Kimberly Fogarty

    I have been counting down the days for an update. FINALLY… got it on Friday, the 13th. Thanks!

    Tell Bryan fish laundry detergent is the new Mountain Spring. The pups are adorable..especially that boxer. I will have another one in my lifetime. 🙂

    I want to say hurry up and come home but man do I look forward to your blog. xoxox

  • Erin Wederbrook Yuskaitis

    As always, great post and beautiful pictures! I cracked up at the tranny tantrum description! Have fun hiking.

  • Jamila Hardy

    I am enjoying keeping up with the Waugh’s great adventures. I look at the website every chance I get. Such an amazing journey. Keep the great pics coming.

  • grandma

    HI kristin & Bryan,
    Sounds like your having a ball.You gave me a few good chuckles.That really looked like a bigger version of Rawley.Good to hear from you.Stay safe and keep having fun.
    Written on my new great laptop.
    All my love,Grandma

  • chrissy

    Wow!!!! you guys look like you are having so much fun!!! kristin how in the world are you going without your starbucks????? you guys look great we miss you bunches. Oh yeah how was holding the snake i would just die lol and the story about the tranny i could just see your face now! PRICELESS IM SURE! Take care and talk to u soon. love you and miss you:-)

  • Sofia Hart

    I enjoyed this post as well (I read it after the Maranhao and Chapada ones). I got cited twice, woo-hoo! Cheers!

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