Thursday, May 09, 2013


We arrived to Salvador de Bahia, a place I was most interested to visit on the tour.  Salvador, nicknamed "Black Rome," is the most African of Brazilian cities.  The city is the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture.  We drove in through the evening traffic, past lakes with giant dancing statues, which sadly I didn't get a chance to capture nor pass again.

We checked into our hotel, which was a bit dated.  It had no working wifi and my room looked like an orange creamsicle. We had the evening semi-free, with only an interview at night.  Jeff and I wandered around the central park, past black women dressed in frilly white with colorful adornments of multi-hued belts, bracelets and cords. On their heads were colorful cloths tied as bonnets.

In the park, Jeff and I sampled a lil street food in the form of acaraje and abara.  Acaraje is compared to the Salvadoran falafel.  It is mashed black eyed peas, fried into a ball then cut in half and filled with vatapa (a yellowish paste of coconut milk, peanuts, palm oil and shrimp (oops)).  The other, abara, was like a Salvadoran tamale- a bean mash loaf cut in half and filled with the vatapa.

After a lil stroll, Jeff and I returned for his interview.  We sat out by the pool waiting for the tv crew, and watch a working girl on the prowl.  Later I met two lovely Uruguayans, who were on their first vacation away from the kids.  I relish getting to speak spanish in this Luzaphonia world.

We had a bit of the morning free, so I strolled through the city center, taking in the faded colonial charm of Salvador.  We had an afternoon workshop at the famous music and dance school Olodum (made more famous by Michael Jackson's video with the school).

 Keola, Moana and Jeff led a wonderful workshop on Hawaiian music and hula. They discussed Hawaiian percussion, and gave demonstrations of Hawaiian dance, which the students loved. The thing I was most impressed with was the questions the students asked.  The students were engaged, and had numerous questions about the different rhythms and expressions through dance.  I told the headmaster how impressed I was with his students, as they had asked the most questions of any class we had visited.

After the hula class, the kids broke out their drums and proceeded to give us a banging-good time of a show.  They got Keola and company up and dancing to the Afro-Brazilian percussion.

A few hours back to rest, and then we had a performance at the Association Cultura Brazil Estados Unidos for a crowd excited to hear the sounds of Hawaii and learn about its rich culture.

After the show, we went out for pizza down in the district of Rio Vermelho.  The neighborhood was hopping.  We drove into the busy district, with waves white crashing to our right.  After dinner, Jeff, Jamona and I sat out in a packed square with plastic tables and chairs, having a communal beer.

The following day we had a bit of a tour around Pelourinho, the cobbled old town of Salvador.  We visited an aforementioned church, and wandered through the colorful back alleys.  We had a late lunch in the courtyard of a crumbling old terra, then caught a view of the Bahia (bay)   There was an evening outdoor concert that was intimate.

The following day was a rest day, but I was sick so I spent it in bed in my orange creamsicle.

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