In Pelourinho, there’s an elevator that divides the upper and lower city. The view from up top is fantastic: the lower-city bay, turquoise and dotted with ships, edged up against the Mercado Modelo, a crazy flea market. Melody and I met Sean and another Sacatar artist at the elevator, where they had just come in from Itaparica island. Together we visited an African and anthropology museum, which had very few descriptions in English, but a lot of great stuff to look at. We met Gary for lunch at the “Boobie Restaurant.” I don’t remember the real name, but there were paintings of bare-breasted Brazillian women everywhere for some reason. And then onto another museum. This time in an old Catholic church which featured paintings, sculptures and other religious art. The museum had as many hanging, bloody Jesuses as the boobie restaurant had boobies. Interesting contrast.
Sean had to head back to the island, so Melody and I continued on to Pelourinho again to do some window shopping and kill some time before the big show. Every tourist center and person we met suggested we watch the “Balé Folclórico da Bahia” which features traditional African rhythms and music, capoeira, and fire dancing. It was quite spectacular, especially the capoeira dancers whose athleticism was astounding. Before the show, I talked to a group of young Aussi/New Zealanders who were sitting one row up. One kid with shaggy, Bieber-hair and a very thick Kiwi accent asked if I was American. “I heard you talking in the lobby,” he said. “Your accent is sooo strong.” Hah!
After the show, Melody and I had dinner back in Barra, and enjoyed a nice long chat. I really lucked out with the TravBuddy thing. Melody made a great traveling companion and I was sad to see her go the next morning. We had planned to take a bus to the airport (much cheaper!), her to catch a plane to Rio, and me to recover my long-lost luggage. But by morning it had started to rain so hard, the corridor of the Pousada flooded. We had to take a taxi for the 45 minutes instead. When I finally laid hands on my wayward bag, I was ecstatic. The rain let up enough for me to catch the bus back to Barra, and I immediately showered and changed into fresh clothes. Heaven!
Then it was off to the Mercado Modelo, the lower-city flea market, with some friends from the Salsa club: Johana, Hamurabi, Gabrielle, and Older-Man-From-Japan/Orange County. It was some kind of national holiday, so the market was packed with people. One skanky lady in particular would not stop dancing and swinging her bleached hair around. Round and around and around. She was like a machine. It was hypnotizing.
I sampled a bunch of local food and drink. My favorites: fried cheese on a stick with some kind of sweet oil, and this hot dog thing that had so many interesting toppings you could barely taste the meat. In the afternoon we caught a bus along the beautiful coastline to a neighborhood north of Barra for more deliciousness. We finished the day back in Barra, sitting at tables with a view of the sea. The night was cool and breezy, a welcome relief. More of Johana’s friends joined us and we were entertained by two drag queens with microphones. They had a whole comedy routine going on, but I didn’t understand a word of it. Judging from the reaction of the crowd it was hilarious? They did lip-sync several American power ballads pretty convincingly. There was more to that night, but this is enough for the blog. The next day I would be in a totally new place, far away from the coast.