Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.
|Sunday, April 17, 2011 17:20:34|
Rolls Alaska to Argentina & back: 23 Ilha de Itaparica & Salvador, Brazil
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
We got up later than normal, had a leisurely breakfast and went to explore. The hotel does not have internet, so we checked out a couple of internet cafes that were not great then drove into Mar Grande, the largest town on the island, where I was able to have the cell phone I dropped repaired. Another drive took us to a big hardware & appliance store to pick up some tools, then a huge supermarket a few miles in another direction. It seems most things are available on the island - you just need to find them.
The towns have building built right to the narrow cobbled streets. It is surprising that it is not more publicized as a tourist destination, as it has all the ingredients. It was explained that many houses on the island belong to wealthy people in Salvador, and they don't want tourist development.
When we returned to the hotel we swam, worked on our computers and I washed the car. Frederico allowed us to use his computer for internet before joining us for happy hour and a fine dinner in the hotel bar followed by more drinks. We are currently the only guests.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Frederico made arrangements for an English speaking guide to meet us at the passenger ferry dock in Salvador, so after breakfast he drove us to the ferry in Mar Grande. The boats, which carry about 150 passengers, leave every 30 minutes from 6 AM for the 30 minute crossing. There are ferries for vehicles, but they sail from a different dock. Quite a few people live on the island and commute to work in Salvador by ferry. The route passed through dozens of freighters waiting to load or unload - at 3.60 reals ($US 2.30) it was a super bargain.
Ariel, our guide, met us. The first item on the agenda was to find some malaria preventative pills, as we'll be in the malaria area of the Amazon in a few days. We tried hospitals, clinics and pharmacies all without success. We had also tried in Ecuador and Peru, both of which have large malaria areas in the Amazon, with the same results. Preventive medication is simply not available! We wasted an hour and a half plus $30 in cab fares before giving up and getting on with seeing the sights.
Salvador became capital of Brazil in 1549, after which it became the main distribution point for slaves brought in from Africa. We visited lighthouses and a string of forts on each point of land that protected the city in days gone by. We visited a church which specializes in miracles. In the miracle room are photos of patient's infirmities and casts of body parts for which a miracle cure is desired - arms, legs, feet, and sometimes the whole body. These facsimiles hung from the ceiling and photos are on the walls According to our guide the miracle cures happen frequently.
We saw the marina area and drove past the many beaches of the city before being dropped off in the upper town, where the wealthier people once lived. It is an area of well preserved historical buildings and churches, including the spectacular gold church, which dates back to a Franciscan community in 1587. The church itself was started in 1708 and the interior is decorated with kilos of gold. It was interesting to walk the old cobblestone streets, and Marilynn did very well with shopping. Much more of that and we'll be shopping for a trailer to tow!
We descended in the famous elevator which connects the lower and upper towns. The lower town was mostly dock workers and others involved with shipping, a large market (more shopping) and our ferry. Once back to the island we had a drink at a beach bar in Mar Grande before taking a taxi back to the hotel. It was raining on our arrival, but a couple were opening the outer gate with a key so let us in, but we had left our key with Frederico so couldn't get into our room. No one was around.
We inquired of the new arrivals if they knew where Frederico might be, and they said he and his son were having dinner in a nearby restaurant. I walked to the restaurant and sure enough he had our key.
Even though it was pouring rain Marilynn and I went for a swim in the dark. After getting dressed went to the restaurant where I'd found Federico to have dinner, as the cook in our hotel was off sick. It turned out to be a fantastic meal of steak done on a skewer over an open fire and carved at the table. We were joined by Gotfried and JoAnne, the South African couple who had let us into the hotel, and later by Frederico and Johan, so it turned into a lively evening. The final round of drinks came from the fridge in our room and were consumed in the darkened bar of our hotel with Gotfried & JoAnne. They are marking time waiting for repairs to their 12 meter sailing yacht in Salvador.
Friday was a quiet day. We slept in, had a leisurely breakfast, and I got caught up on some writing and company work while Marilynn edited photos. The local press arrived in the afternoon for a photo shoot and interview. Lunch was at another little restaurant right on the beach a short walk away, and we did some swimming in the ocean. We'll be on the road again early tomorrow morning.