Brazil:  Amazon and Salvador da Bahia, July 2009
Virgin Beaches of Praia do Forte, Leaving For Home
Page 17 of 17


I had begun my 14km walk along the virgin beaches north of Praia do Forte.  My destination?  The next small village some hours away, Imbassai.  This was a walk Alex had recommended.  And it was as beautiful as he said it was.

I saw the restaurants of Imbassai growing closer.  I had gone through two large bottles of water and a large orange juice, but I was still thirsty.  And hungry.  And I was limping from the slice on my right foot.

But there I hit an impasse, an outlet from the Imbassai River.  I tried to walk across, but it was far too deep, the current too unsteady.  If I didn't have my camera bag, I would have simply swam it.  Instead, I crossed the Imbassai River, holding the camera bag over my head. 

This, however, presented another challenge.  The way to the restaurants were closed off by barbed wire fences.  I tried to clean off my foot, then walked 2km along dirt roads, winding my way back to the restaurants.

I limped in to the barracas at Imbassai and ordered a bottle of water and a caipirinha.

Famished, I also ordered moqueca de peixe, the Bahian fish stew in dende oil and coconut milk that I had come to love.  This came with rice, farofa (manioc wheat), salsa, salad, and, to the left, a tasty blob that was a heavy combination of manioc (cassava) wheat mixed with the stew from the moqueca.

I ate, drank, and watched futebol on the beach.

After some time, I had to leave to make certain I caught the last bus back to Salvador.  Unfortunately, that was also maybe a mile away.

"How many minutes to the bus?" I asked halfway through the walk.  "Five minutes.  Three if you run."  I caught the bus as the sun was setting and snoozed half the way back.  I arrived between 7:30 and 8, drinking copious amounts of water.

22 July Wednesday - I had to leave today.  I had loved staying here, and didn't want to leave, and didn't know when I would be back.  Maybe for the festival commemorating the navegação in January someday?  The crowds for Carnaval and the other festivals were apparently more traditional and less geared towards tourists than the ones in Rio de Janeiro.  In either case, I was sad to go.  Open House Barra was an amazing place to stay, literally staying in someone's home and meeting fantastic people.

Alex, me, and Jaqueline.

I waited for a bus to the airport.  And waited.  And waited.  I finally flagged down a taxi.  A man in his 50s, and really, the nicest person.  We talked all the way to the airport, an hour away in traffic.  He asked what I loved about Salvador.  I mentioned the Afro-Brazilian music and how much I loved it, how I loved that there was music everywhere.  He immediately reached for a CD.  I figured he'd play some music from Salvador. But no. It was the Bee Gees. He turned around, grinned while swaying his head, asking if I liked this.

Nobody gets too much heaven no more
It's much harder to come by
I'm waiting in line
Nobody gets too much love anymore
It's as high as a mountain
And harder to climb

I got to the airport.  They had a mannequin.  I took its photo.

I thought, "Wouldn't that be funny if the last song I heard in Brazil was from the Bee Gees?"

But it wasn't.  It was Michael Jackson and Olodum from Salvador singing "They Don't Care About Us" while in the Pelourinho. A record store in the airport was playing Michael Jackson videos.

24 July Thursday - A long plane ride home.  I got off the  bus from the airport and had Mexican food before I ever got home.  Willie our three-legged cat greeted me at the door.  I laid on the floor with him for fifteen minutes, then took a shower.  Lisa came home from work and made refreshing welcome home caipirinhas.  True love.

Thank you to Mo and Maia Expeditions for a personalized and fantastic Amazon experience.

Thank you to Alex and Jaqueline and Nete at Open House Barra and all of the friendly guests for making my stay in Salvador an enjoyable and homey one.

Of course, thank you to Lisa for being the greatest travel partner.

And I may as well thank Michael Jackson for providing an odd soundtrack of sorts to a trip.  May you finally rest in peace.

Brazil:  Amazon and Salvador da Bahia, July 2009
Page 17 of


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