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The São Joaquim market in Salvador, Brazil, offers a broad spectrum of merchandise. At the far end of the market you can even purchase live animals. While walking through this area I saw goats, chickens, ducks and doves. A baby goat costs around 70 Reals or $45.
The giant blender called Salvador has mashed, pureed and pulverized a million things over the last four centuries. ‘Capoeira’ is one of the most graceful concoctions it has whipped up. One afternoon I drove down to the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art in Salvador to watch a group of local Capoeira dancers. Capoeira, A combination of martial arts, dance and music was apparently dreamed up by Angolan slaves brought to Brazil. There are several conflicting theories about the exact origin of the art, but one thing is indisputable. If the human body could write poetry-this is riveting verse. After almost two weeks in Brazil and I was puzzled by the contrasts that lie around every corner. As the dancers, bend, leap, twist and tumble in the air, I wrestled with my own observations. Every one here tells first person stories of car-jackings, petty theft, kidnappings and murders. Stories that would lead you to think of Brazil as violent and cold. But it would be folly to think of Brazilians as violent. Just like Capoeira, the lines between the violence and the dance are blurry. One thing is clear. Brazil is a complex, layered and dense country and me attempting to deconstruct it, would be like attempting a double back flip Capoeira move.
Near the lighthouse of Salvador (Farol do Barra) there is a wide alley of cafes and bars that opens up onto the main road. I never remember the name of the alley or even of the cafes- but I tell people to look for the large mural of the mermaid at the alley's opening. Meet me at the Mermaid Alley.
Porto Da Barra is one of the more well known beaches in Salvador, Brazil, and on a daily basis is filled with both locals and tourists alike. The beach is set within a bay and contains a break-wall that keeps the water calm and great for swimming. This break-wall is a very popular place to dive into the water and is typically filled with people. On this particular afternoon, I spent hours on the beach people-watching and relaxing. Eventually the crowd dissipated as evening fell. Only one individual remained on the break-wall and I enjoyed watching him repeatedly practice his dives. I could imagine the rush of adrenaline as he launched himself off the wall into the water. I snapped a few photos from the beach and was invigorated when I discovered that I had captured this moment in time.
The ribbons tied to the gates of the Church of Bonfim (and to wrists of visitors in Salvador) signify the thousands of pilgrims who arrive at this historic site. The ribbons, called "lembrancas," are tied with a prayer or wish in mind. Each color signifies a syncretized identity of an African orixas and Catholic saint.
An afternoon rendezvous to play dominos. While wandering through the streets of Pelourinho in Salvador, Brazil, I stumbled upon these two charming men playing dominos. My favorite aspect of the image is that there is no table present. Instead, they have balanced a large board on their knees to create their game space.
In the neighborhood of Campo Grande, a little poking along the back streets can result in a fantastic view of the ocean- and some prime real estate, even among the towering, modern apartment buildings.
Strolling down the Pelourino, I came across two guys practicing the Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance and music. What made this moment memorable in this lovely colonial city was that I stumbled upon these folks quite by accident one afternoon. I had heard about the Capoeira and was wondering how to catch a show so when I heard the strains of music and I saw the movements, I knew I was in luck! For a few brief moments I stopped and was mesmerized by the art form and the beats of the music as the sun embraced me with its warmth in the plaza that was largely devoid of tourists at that time.
I was having lunch at this restaurant on the sidewalk deep in the center of Pelourinho when I looked to my left, down a shady side street and I saw this window against a bright yellow wall. The three coconuts placed perfectly next to each other in one corner of the window sill just begged me to take out my camera and click this picture. The peeling paint only enhanced the character of this picture for me - i'll never forget this moment as I caught sight of this view.
After exploring the Museu de Arte Moderna in Salvador, Brazil, I spent some time getting lost in the sculpture gardens that wrap around the museum and overlook the water. The garden features work from local artists and has a wide array of sculpture styles and mediums. A wooden path guides visitors through the garden and leads to this pier on the IIha de Itaparica bay. There I found three young men that seemed to be sharing a thoughtful moment on pier. They were so still and reflective. I have no idea what they were discussing or if a heavy issue weighed on their minds, but they all seemed a bit lost in the moment of that afternoon.
Of all of my experiences in Salvador, my favorite had to be watching the sunset to the haunting music of the berimbau and watching graceful, lithe bodies move in perfect harmony to the music.
This room just struck me as so odd and sweet. All the hanging (plastic) appendages adorn this quaint room and hover over you, giving things to healing miracles. I felt they would best be photographed as I experienced them - standing in the center of the room, looking up.
Locals come to this bustling square every evening to practice capoeira. My friend and I stumbled on a group of men practicing and joined the crowd that had gathered to watch. Their movements were so graceful and powerful. We were inspired to take a capoeira class ourselves the next day. The square also has a huge dance party, with vendors selling snacks and drinks, once a week. Local bands provide the music.
Bahian food is as fun to pronounce as it is to eat. There are stews like: Bobó, xím xím, moqueca and vatapá. I tried everything. What I kept going back for more of was xím xím, a coconut and gingery stew made with meat or fish. I would go to a restaurant above the Mercado Modelo down by the port to get it. I sat and watched the scene in the harbor.
This market is part of the history of Salvador, everyone has to visit it even if not interested in buying local art. There are about 200 little shops selling local art, mostly handmade, it’s a lovely place to buy souvenirs and get to know more about the culture and art of Bahia. In the basemente you’ll find catacombs, and there are many legends about what happened in there a long time ago, some say that the place was used for the illegal ‘slave market’ where they sold the slaves that came from Africa, others say it was used just to storage wine and other goods to prevent humidity. The cataboms are always open to visitors, and it’s bellow the sea level so it’s always flooded.
When in Salvador don't miss this lovely place in the neighbourhood of Barra, it's a hidden secret. On the rooftop of Aliança Francesa's building you'll find the Café Terrasse, with an amazing view to the ocean, Baia de Todos Os Santos. You can go for lunch, a coffee in the afternoon or just a drink.
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