Salvador & Morro de São Paulo
by Rachel Cornish
Morro De São Paulo
I set off on a two hour boat trip to Morro De São Paulo, where I had planned to relax on the beautiful beaches that I had heard so much about. Many of my Brazillian friends had recommended that I should go to Morro De São Paulo, as it was one of their favourite places in the world.
I arrived after what felt like a long boat trip, to the sounds of Portuguese, Spanish and Hebrew through the air. I quickly realized that Morro was a big attraction to many people, especially Israelis who had come to relax and have fun after their service with the army was up.
I was greeted on the dock by Rudolf, the hostel owner I had booked with and he led me the way to my hostel.
As I walked to my hostel, Casa Cosmo Rudolf explain that it was a bit far from the centre, after 20 minutes of steps and hills, I wondered where could my hostel actually be?
Finally after another round of steep steps, hiking up with a backpack on each side of me, I had made it to my hostel.
Although it felt like a mission to get there, I was rewarded with a beautiful view over looking the ocean, with hammocks and animals scattered through the yard. Unfortunately, I was the only guest staying at this hostel. I went off to explore Morro de São Paulo to take in the beautiful sites around me, but as I attempted to find my hostel my utter lack of direction left me lost for two hours, before I could return. Due to my horrible navigation skills I decided to stay in for the night, relaxing on the hammock, reading books and thinking about my past few weeks in Brazil.
The next day I woke up to the sound of Spanish outside my window, and I excitedly went out to see who was around.
I met two Antonios, who were camping near my hostel. They were going on a hike to Gamboa, a beach near by and invited me to come along.
I put on my sunscreen, so I wouldn’t fry into a bright red tomato, and off we went.
We walked along on the soft sands past the clear blue oceans, and made it to Gamboa within 40 minuets.
We chose a bar to hang at and spent the day chilling by the beach, laughing and learning from one and other. By 3pm we were ready to do our hike to a waterfall near by we had heard of.
We met a local who had offered to take us, so we wouldn’t get lost and he lead us through a narrow path way through bushes, and started hiking upwards towards the waterfall.
When we had arrived at the waterfall, I didn’t believe that we could really be looking at a waterfall.
It was the smallest Waterfall I had ever seen, I think my shower might have looked more like a water fall, then this one. We all laughed about the waterfall, but decided to enjoy it and wash away our sweat under the cold water trickling down.
Later that night, I met up with one of my friends, Amit who I had met in Israel last year, unfortunately I wasn’t staying at the same hostel as him, and his hostel were very strict on who could, and couldn’t enter so we only hung out for a little bit. We had planned on meeting up later that night after everyone had awoken from their naps.
So I went back to my hostel, where me and the two Antonions opted for a bar by the beach to relax for the night.
The next day it was back to Gamboa, where we spent the day relaxing and I anxiously awaited for my turn of a massage on the sand, by one of the locals.
We had covered ourselves in Argila (thick mud) earlier that day from a rock near by and waited for it to dry so we could get the benefit of silky, healthy skin. Many people walked around in a funny, yellowy, brown colour from doing the same thing.
Argila mud in Gamboa
By late in the afternoon we were getting ready to go to a view point near by, we hoped on a little boat towards the view point but as the little boat rocked back and forth, my body started to feel weak and nauseous. By the time we had made it back to the land, I had bags full of vomit in my hand, attractive, I know!
Unfortunately the Carnival virus had made its way back to me. It seems every year after Carnival, a huge virus gets spread across Brazil, it’s pretty easy to understand how this can happen when you watch everyone sharing drinks amongst other things.
Sadly, I had to stay in bed for the night and miss out on seeing the view point.
My short stay in Morro was already coming to an end, although it wasn’t as picture perfect as I had hoped, it was still a nice stay.
The next day I got back onto the two hour boat trip, returning to Salvador.
One hour into the boat trip, I heard a funny noise coming from below and then all of a sudden the boat had stopped.
This isn’t really happening, is it? I thought to myself
I looked around and cringed while I was surrounded by people vomiting and waves crashing into the boat. We had broken down, in the middle of the ocean.
A boat in the distance was approaching, and I thought to myself, good were going to get some help, instead the captain simply through our captain a few beers and happily waved and smiled as he kept going towards the land.
After an hour or so of fiddling with tools and sipping on beers down below, the boat we had finally started to move again.
I’m going to make it off this boat! I thought, my excitement to reach land had kicked in.
Once arriving in Salvdor I headed to Havels house, a person I had met on my plane trip from Australia – to Brazil. He was kind enough to offer me a place to stay at his family home in Salvador, so it was back to Havels house for a few days.
After spending a few days with Havel and his family, Moises, a person who I had met in Rio was heading to Salvador to visit his family and home town and had also offered me to stay at his house and see Salvador, through a locals perspective.
The first night he arrived we went to some friends house where I tried my best to understand Portuguese, along with strange slang words thrown in the sentences.
The next day, he took me to see some famous sites throughout Salvador, and enjoy some ice cream at Sorveteria da Ribeira.
When we arrived at the ice cream shop, I got a serious case of de ja vou. I remembered coming to the same ice cream shop three years ago with my friends whilst I was on exchange in Brazil, and sitting in the same place. I sat and enjoyed the world’s best ice cream happily and thought about how much had changed since the last time I was at this Ice cream shop.
Later that night we headed to Rio Vermelho , a place where you can go , have a few beers by the ocean and wonder through the city. We ended up at a “Goodbye Carnival” party and I yet again tried my best to dance like a Brazillian to the sound of the instruments.
After some well needed rest from the night before, we met up with Claire, a girl we had met in Rio and took her around with us to explore the city.
Moises and his friend Erik had taken us to a beautiful jazz band, at the Museu de Arte Moderna over looking the sunset on the beach. There were at least 10 people in the band and we laughed and watched them loose themselves in the music. The sounds of the saxophone and drums, was echoing through the air, and I sat and smiled as I swayed myself to the music.
Sunday was spent on the beach, where I felt like I stuck out like a glowing light bulb. If it wasn’t already obvious enough that I was a gringa, me going in the water and instantly drowning underneath the waves had many of the Brazilians laughing.
I decided it was better for me to sit on the chair and sip on my coconut rather then attempting to swim in the ocean again.
We spent the last night at a concert in the rain, that only cost us 10 Reias ($3.00). Baiana System was the main attraction of the concert. It is a funky band from Brazil, who got the crowd jumping around from the moment they sung and played their instruments. Myself, Erik , Claire and Moises moved our bodies up and down in the crowded sweaty mosh pit and laughed and smiled while I attempted to understand the lyrics of the songs. The energy from Baiana System had easily made itself into the crowd and I didn’t want the concert to end. Sadly, they only played a few songs so after their performance we were off to The Dubliners Irish pub, to listen to some live Reggae music and poetry.
I had an amazing time in Salvador, and embraced its culture, and the down to earth people.
I felt very lucky to be able to hang out with some locals, and see Salvador in a different light, from when I was there three years ago.
Shout out to Moises for showing me around one of his favourite places and teaching me about the way of life in Salvador. If it wasn’t for him my time in Salvador would have been very different. A big Thank you to you, Moises.
I currently sit here writing this blog, a week after my adventure in Salvador.
Brazil, once again has captured my heart and I just didn’t feel ready to leave.
I’ll be spending the next two months living in Rio de Janeiro, where I plan on doing some Portuguese classes to improve my language skills over here and getting to know Rio as a local.
Since being back, I have been meeting new people and exploring my new city.
Iv met a famous Brazillian rapper and a hilarious taxi driver, who was on some popular TV shows in Brazil for his talks on sex, love and life.
I also met a famous clown from Brazil, while I was staying at a lovely Air BnB house in Copacabana.
I am currently living in a beautiful apartment where I wake up each morning to the view of the Mountains and oceans surrounding me.
I recently did a hike to the Dois Iramos. To do this hike, you have to go through the Vidigal. The Vidigal is a Favela, that is a very safe and a peaceful place. There are many artists who live throughout the Vidigal and as you walk up the mountains of the Favelas, you notice all the intricate graffiti on the walls that tell a story of people from the Favelas.
I caught a motor taxi to the start of the trail to the Dois Iramos, and after an hour or so of walking I made it to the top of the view point and watched eagles sore past me, as I admired the view in front of me.
I am excited for my next two months of embracing the life of living in Rio De Janerio.
Until next time..
The Wandering Gringa.