Friday, 13 February 2015
13.02.2015 - 13.02.2015
Up early this morning for our arrival in Salvador and we were rewarded with a dramatic sunrise. There was some initial confusion when it rose over the land and the land was expected to be to the West. The city is located on a peninsula and we were located in a large bay to the West.
Breakfast completed and we left the ship through a very modern and obviously just completed terminal building. Outside the building we met up with my sister, Johanna, who lives not far from Salvador, she had offered to be our local guide. We exchanged some US$ to local currency and she smartly loaded us onto a local bus. Told us to just get aboard as there is no need for 'Seniors' to pay. The first destination was the community where she first lived 22 years ago. It is a centre dedicated to the rehabilitation of homeless people who live in an abandoned church and a number of small cottages built in the church grounds. Johanna was warmly welcomed and there were introductions made in a mixture of French, Portuguese and English.
Back onto another bus and a walk through one of the local markets where Jenny and I were amazed at the variety and quantity of fresh produce available. Many were familiar but there were quite a few that even stumped Johanna. We walked past the fish market to catch another bus and were surprised to see large whole fish packed into tubs with a minimal amount of ice. These tubs we carried down to the bus stop and loaded aboard when the bus arrived.
Back to the Tourist area where there was great activity involved in the preparation for Carnival events. There was an obvious police presence in numbers we've not previously seen since our visit to Egypt back in 2010. The area was kept clean by an army of street sweepers in stark contrast to most of the areas away from this 'Tourist Area'.
We walked along increasingly narrower streets but despite Johanna's warnings to take care I was taken by surprise when a young man who appeared to be drunk staggered into me and almost knocked me over. We had gone another 100 meters before I became aware that my 'smart phone' had been lifted. Considering the many places we've visited it is a 'small' incident overall. My main concern is that the SIM may be linked to my credit card and will automatically recharge at my cost.
We continued our exploration now more fully aware of the possible threat. We'd been told to try and not be noticeable as tourists. A bit difficult when the locals are a few shades darker, dress more casually and obviously know where they are going. Onto another bus to visit the interstate and intercity bus depot. From the size of the place it is obvious that buses are the dominant mode of public transport. Johanna explained that there are no trains and for the bulk of the people who don't own a car flying is not an option either.
While at this transport hub I decided to 'invest' in a US$50 phone. I'll need to down-load the user manual in English as the enclosed documentation is all in Portuguese. We left the bus terminal and crossed a number of major roads using the very crowded pedestrian overpasses. In addition to the many people using these overpasses the congestion was made worse by vendors displaying their wares on one side or the other and in many places both sides of the walkway.
Our destination proved to be an up-market shopping complex comprising many floors and hosting stores to cater for every need of modern living. We eventually found the 'food court' with a bewildering array of food outlets each almost equally crowded by queues of customers. Johanna checked out a number of them and with me 'guarding' the table the two women joined one of those queues. I was surprised when they returned far quicker than I had expected. It appears that in Brazil the elderly are provided with special priority and expedited service. The meals were quite large and relatively inexpensive at the equivalent of about US$10 each.
Onto another bus to take us back to the port. Travelling on these local buses was certainly an enlightening experience. There is no air-conditioning and when stopped at traffic lights they become extremely hot. Even with all the windows open the ambient temperature doesn't drop much. The seats are totally lacking in any form of upholstery and in combination with rough roads and only basic suspension make for a numbing experience. To add to the sense of excitement the drivers all drive at breakneck speeds and apply brakes with some vigour. The locals are totally oblivious to these conditions.
Back at the port we bade Johanna goodbye and returned to the cool comfort of the ship. My first priority being to confirm that the SIM was not linked to a credit card for automatic recharge. My next concern is the possible links to other accounts, passwords, contacts and web sites. I will check the Galaxy Web Site and see if there is some means of disabling the phone.
Can't be bothered changing for dinner so ate in the Horizon Court on Deck 15. One or two interesting dishes and some beautifully cooked garlic prawns. Caught sight of Mary and Donald also slumming on Deck 15. It will be a light night for the waiters in the Dinning Room.
A new entertainer tonight in the theatre, a comedian; Glenn Hirst. He's from New York originally and makes some really funny jokes from the way New Yorkers speak. He even managed to keep many of us awake. The WiFi is to be shut down tonight for maintenance, I hope it is a lot faster when it fires up. Such is the end of a very eventful day.
The clocks go forward another hour overnight and tomorrow we have the first of two sea-days on our way to Santos
If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view my latest photo by following this link to the image for Today
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony