Brazil…Where Everything is HOT!
17 February 2013 | Terminal Nautico, Salvador, Brazil
(No, the picture above is not our welcoming party at our arrival in Salvador, it is just one small part of Carnival.)
We arrived in Brazil with a warm welcome from the community. There were people in traditional dress serving us drinks and fruit along with fireworks! The passage took longer than expected so the first order of business was to go grocery shopping and clean up the boat for Eileen and Tony. It's amazing how dirty a boat can get on a passage!
Eileen and Tony arrived two hours early and found their way to our boat. We were just having John from Spirit of Alcides help us fix our generator so the boat was torn apart. All ended well when the generator was fixed, the boat was put back together and our guests settled in for a great time in Brazil with the generator powering the much appreciated air conditioning.
The first order of business was the prize giving for the leg to Brazil. The entire fleet gathered for some delicious local food and drink at the end of the dock where everyone was berthed. Mark and I were given honorable mention at the prize giving for fourth place in our division. We were only ½ an hour (adjusted time to accommodate our handicap and engine hours) behind the boat that received third place. We thought it quite fitting for the last leg of the trip to finally place - sort of - among the winners. At Last...
Caroline s/v Peat Smoke organized our Carnival entertainment by booking fourteen of us to watch the entertainment from a balcony. We had t-shirts we needed to wear to get in and passes. The price for the women to attend was cheaper than the men - the passes were actually coded differently for the men versus the women. The balcony - Comarote Do Naua - was an old hotel which only opens during carnival and it can hold about 1,000 people. For a rather hefty price we had all the food and drink we could consume between 6:00 pm and 5:00 am. The hotel abutted a beach so you could even walk on a beach as part of the evening. There was a place to get your hair braided, a photo booth, t-shirt cutting, a massage section and plenty of areas for just hanging out. Overlooking the parade route was a lower and upper balcony which each had to hold several hundred people. It was a perfect location to watch carnival and provided us with great entertainment.
T-shirt cutting - the shirts were quite small so several of us had to cut them to get them to fit. Cutting them was quite a thing because women would literally take them apart and re-sew them into something much more interesting than the original shirt. They would add ribbons, sequins, glitter and make them much more interesting..if we only knew!
It is very difficult to describe carnival. Looking out over the balcony there were people everywhere. Each musical performer had a two or three story stage pulled by a tracker trailer. The top story was a stage and the bottom story was a bar/bathroom/sitting area. In front and behind each tracker trailer were hundreds/thousands of people in matching t-shirts. These people paid for the t-shirts and thus were able to follow the performer. Each "group" (tracker trailer included) were surrounded by a huge rope which a whole other group of people walked and held the whole group together. I told you this was hard to describe.
The music was amazing and we all found ourselves jumping around and dancing. It was infectious. We were able to hear the music from our boat all night long the entire time of carnival. The people of Brazil clearly love their music - you would often see people starting to sway to the music everywhere - even in the line at the grocery store. We all are now able to sing some of the most popular songs in Brazil even without knowing a word of Portuguese.
We left the balcony at 1:00 am and had arranged for a taxi driver to pick us up in a mini bus. He clearly told us he would pick us up right at the front door to the balcony at 1:00 am. As we looked out over the crowd, we could not understand how we would all make it back to the taxi which was a five minute walk from the balcony. Well, the driver arrived and gave us very specific instructions on what we were to do. All fourteen of us clasped hands and were told to not let go of each other. The taxi driver brought a second man who was at the end of the line. The taxi driver carefully chose the route back as we snaked single file in and around the crowd of thousands of people. We could not imagine what it would have been like to spend the evening on the streets watching carnival!
The entire city was pretty much closed down during carnival. We did go out to dinner one night in the historic center of the upper city called Pelourinho which is just on the edge of carnival. You have to take the Elevator Lacerda from the lower city (where our boat was) to the upper city. In the historic center (or Old Town), carnival was much more family orientated, a tiny bit less crowded, and had little parades of bands marching through the old town. It was a beautiful area of the city filled with excellent restaurants. We ate some delicious traditional Brazilian food there quite a few nights.
While Eileen and Tony were here we also took a boat ride to several small islands just a few miles from Salvador. There we were able to swim and relax away from the craziness of carnival. With the city being closed down, there wasn't much else to do. We all seemed to be quite content to relax on the boat and enjoy each other's company. We are incredibly grateful to Eileen and Tony for again visiting us on this trip!
So, Brazil is definitely hot - the music, the people, the food, carnival and particularly the weather. We don't think that we have even been this hot on the trip. Every day it is hot. You can take a look at the hot pics of Carnival and Salvador in the photo gallery
After Eileen and Tony left, Mark and I got the boat ready to leave for Grenada. We have a 17 day sail from Brazil to Grenada. We are looking forward to some small islands and white sand beaches in the Grenadines. From Grenada, we will be flying to Florida for Mark's nephew's wedding and a bit of a family reunion. We are so anxious to see family! We will have a couple of weeks in Grenada before we go.