Brazil:  Amazon and Salvador da Bahia, July 2009
Jungle Football Games, Parks in Manaus, The Pelourinho in Salvador da Bahia
Page 7 of 17


Leaving Dolphin Lodge in the Amazon, we retraced the same route in the VW van, traversing the "waterfall roads", took a speedboat back to Manaus, bouncing across the enormous Amazon in 20 minutes, and returned to Hotel Monaco. 

There, we had some difficulties with how much we were charged and other hassles which we managed to allay by pronouncing Spanish words with a Portuguese accent.  The lady was extremely friendly, often ending phrases with a smile, a big thumbs up, and "Esta bom!"  We ate at the buffet, wished Lisa's Mom and the Dalai Lama happy birthday, and went to sleep.

7 July Tuesday - We didn't have to catch our flight from Manaus to Salvador da Bahia until 3pm, so we visited Bosque da Ciancia.  Upon walking through the gate, we were immediately assigned a "Pequeno Guia", or small guide.  The boy, who led us quickly and silently around, partially due to the language barrier.  We saw electric eels, turtles, and this caiman (left).  After several days of seeing animals in their natural habitat, seeing a caiman floating in a murky pool of water behind a cage was disconcerting.

A friendly couple from São Paulo helped us call a taxi to take us to a second park, the Parque do Mindu, essentially an untouched part in the city where the jungle continued to flourish.  And where animals were allowed to roam free, an altogether more satisfying experience. 

We managed to get very close to this Amazonian butterfly, this one never fluttering off.  Soon after, a park employee helped us by calling a taxi, which took a long time to show.

Manaus has Chinese food delivery, "China In Box", attached to the back of a motorcycle.

Lisa and I loved the Amazon, and were already plotting our return, but for now, we had a plane to catch to Salvador da Bahia.

TAM Airlines shows the love.

The flight headed out towards the Atlantic Ocean, flying over large expanses of jungle, as well as this glowing sunset.

We arrived in Salvador, which was noticeably cooler and a little less humid, and caught a late night bus to the Barra, at the tip of Salvador, where we were staying.  And when we arrived at Open House Barra, Alex was already at the gate:  "Are you Ken Lee?"  He had already checked out the and asked questions about it.  Open House Barra, a 60 year old house, combined traditional touches with more modern paintings, courtesy of his wife Jaqueline, and this is where we'd stay for the next week, and where I'd stay on for a week more when Lisa had to fly back home.


8 July Wednesday - After enjoying a fruit breakfast at Open House Barra, Lisa and I took a bus to the Pelourinho.  Pelourinho means "whipping post", and this is where the slaves were tortured and sold.  And this is also Salvador's historic center, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.

Photo:  The Terreiro de Jesus, with the Igreja da Ordem Terceira da São Domingus in the distance, in the historic center of Salvador.

We had heard great things about the food and the Saturday evening African band at Sankofa African Restaurant in the Pelourinho. We ate the jollof rice and fish and vegetables in peanut stew, a West African specialty, and both were outstanding.

I had been to Ghana in 2004, and ate quite a few dishes with peanut sauce.  This lunch at Sankofa brought back fantastic memories of that trip.

After the meal at Sankofa, we wandered the historic streets, stopping in at Cana Brava music to purchase CDs and visit with Randy, who had also created a fantastic website about the music and culture of Bahia, Bahia Online.

The gorgeous 17th Century baroque façade of Igreja da Ordem Terceira de São Francisco.  This façade was actually covered in the late 18th century until it was accidentally discovered in the 1930s when a workman hammered some plaster off to install wiring.

Going next door to Igreja São Francisco (St. Francis Church), we took a tour with Carmelito, who told the stories of the azulejos, painted ceramic tiles imported from Portugal.  He would sometimes point out damage inflicted by tourists, adding, "Stupid tourists.  I hate them," before adding, "Not you.  You are good.  But I hate stupid tourists."  Carmelito also regularly pointed out freemasonry symbols.

Counter to  the teachings and vows of poverty of São Francisco, this church is crammed full of gold leaf, a 80kg (176 pound) silver chandelier, and imported azulejos from Portugal.

The gold leaf interior at once reminded me of El Sagrario in Cuenca, Ecuador, where I visited in 2006.

Guide Carmelito noted that since African artisans were forced to build their masters' church while prohibited from practicing their own religion, they responded by creating ugly, distorted angels and cherubs. 

"Some are ugly, some look like Mike Tyson," Carmelito said.  And it was so.  Some angels were pregnant.  Others were endowed with enormous sex organs.  Many of this creative artistry were covered by 20th Century church officials.

I revisited this church, taking some fascinating photos of the angels, which appear at the end of Page 15 and the beginning of Page 16.

Carmelito also pointed out various perspective techniques, where figures would appear to follow you or grow sicker as you walked around it.


We walked back through Praça Anchieta, just outside the church, as the sun was going down.


Brazil:  Amazon and Salvador da Bahia, July 2009
Page 7 of


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EXTRA:  Lisa's Photos and Videos of the Amazon

Brazil 2009 Index Page

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