Adventures in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
I looked on google maps to see the routes in Salvador, and it basically looks like an ant colony… squiggly lines going everywhere, with no clear direction. Clear evidence of an amazingly deep historical growth and evolution.
Nonetheless, Salvador was colonized almost 500 years ago through a series of shipwrecks, and eventually became an epic hub of slavery and despair for native Americans and Africans from all over the world.
The city has been the center for many revolts, revolutions, government overthrows, recaptures, freeing of slaves, re-enslavement, and oppression.
A quick look inside one of the museums shows that every single governor of the city AND the state, has been and still IS white…
While most the population (80%+) is either of African or native American decent or mixing. (Portuguese men made a LOT of mixed babies in Brazil).
Better still, all those Africans and native Americans were forced to believe in a white Jesus…
But they still retained a huge portion of their own culture as a big ‘fuck you' to their slave overlords.
There are as many churches in Salvador as there are Starbucks in New York. You really get a feeling of the immense religiosity inflicted onto the population.
The city itself is archaic and stunning. Colored roofs, walls, streets, all made from materials and designs of 300-400 years in age. Some of the buildings have been renovated, while others have been left to rot away. Almost everything in the center is broken somehow.
Inside the ‘historical center', you might feel a sense of unease, due to the abundance of disfigured homeless beggars, and decaying alleys. But the level of security is VERY high, since the Brazilian police simply kidnap or beat up anyone that might cause a problem to the tourists.
The beaches are not particularly special, but the weather is hot, and the occasional trees and grass is very green. The sight of 20-30 giant cargo ships going through the port of Salvador is really amazing.
Most Brazilians say that Salvador has the best carnival in Brazil (rivaling Recife, Brazil), due to its intense African culture and liveliness. But I felt that the city center is WAY too small to hold the 500,000 tourists I would assume come to this city during Carnival.
4 Days in Salvador is enough time to experience the historic center, and even do some island hopping. I DEFINITELY recommend Salvador.