Tuesday, December 22, 2009

First trip out of Salvador: Morro de São Paulo

Mid September. 2009

I was not sure whether to write about this because I didn’t come here to travel around so much, my principal motive was studying and getting to know the local area, but okay so I did it and that is a part of my experience so I have decided to write about it. Obvsiously, get ready for lots of pictures:

So Morro means “hill” and Morro de Sao Paulo is a village type place on an island kind of near Salvador, that’s all I knew about it before getting there. To get there we needed to take a taxi to this Ferry boat (pronounced “FEH-He BOchee seriously) then from the ferry boat we took a van to another point on that island to take a speed boat to Morro de Sao Paulo!

This is the Ferry boat station.

on the ferry boat
The speed boat

Man I just couldn’t believe my eyes were seeing all this natural beauty, I swear it was like out of those travel pictures that I always thought were somehow enhanced but NO! if anything the opposite because this was more amazing in person.

When I saw the pousada where we had made reservations Pousada Natureza, I was almost feeling guilty for being there honestly.

We were paying 50 reais a night which is US $28 so I almost felt like I was ripping them off. But my other friends found another hostel near by like 10 minutes away for I think R$15 a night, like US$8/9 a night.
So then we were off to the beach after walking by this whole line of stores with all kinds of Morro de Sao Paulo lembrancas.
This is a mural along the stairway, a local artist posting her poetry and drawings. I actually met her one night and talked with her. They were very lovely poems.

I felt kind of uncomfortable though asking most people “oh are you from here” and, no even all the worker’s I asked weren’t from Morro, and the rest were tourists from all over the world but mainly from south Brazil—the more European part of Brazil. So I knew I wasn’t really experiencing “real Brazil” and felt like some really selfish/spoiled tourist taking advantage of my position because I know my maid back in Salvador is not coming to Morro.

But anyway I didn’t have a chance to take money out of the HSBC back in Salvador, thinking oh they must have ATM machines there. But..no. Well they did but didn’t function with my card and they had many that were only national ATMs, so I had to borrow money from my friend who thankfully took a lot because they do accept credit cards but you get a huge charge for using it like that.

Besides feeling weird about being at a beach resort type place, I really enjoyed the view and the beautiful warm beaches. The next day we went on a Pirate Boat tour that lasted from 10AM to 5PM. It went to several neighboring islands.

My favorite was the mud beach. When we went there were a whole bunch of Spanish tourists there enjoying the mud there. look at that. it was hilarious and fun.

It was amAzing!! There was some pinkish and some more yellowish mud depending on the part of the morro.

We also did some snorkeling in some natural coral pools.

This was my first time, and it was really cool I was swimming alongside different kind of fish, and one time I got really excitd that I cut myself a few times on my knee and on my pinky. It was extreme snorkeling.

We stopped at another island to eat, but the restaurants there were there were kind of expensive so we just all had some acai and nuts ☺.

The first day I had some good moqueca at some restaurant, and a crepe at this other place, and then some Italian food the last day. The thing is that those were the cheapest things there and even so they were like R$20 seriously like half of a night at the pousada for one meal. But later my friend who went afterward said he found out about some place were the locals go where you get a lot of really good food, like grilled chicken or other meat with lots of beans and rice and salad for only R$5! I couldn’t believe it. So if you go and want some good cheap food, I’d suggest you explore a little further in; he said he found out because there were some people were the speed boat dropped them off that showed them the way.

Anyway it was really fun. At night there were dances and live concerts, and capoeira jogos, but I chose to stick around this little pastel stand where there were these group of friends playing music for fun, next to joe and his caipifrutas. Caipifruta is like a caipirinha [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caipirinha ] but well with fresh fruits in it like I’ll try to upload the video.

This is the little like praca where many people hang out. There are also a lot of little stands selling jewelry and ceramics and stuff like that.
Joe's Caipifrutas!:

Doggies. so many dogs in Morro, and they look so well fed. Made me happy.
They also have a lot of home-made pasteries and desserts on the "street"
[my friend and me, sitting next to the musicians; me eating some brigadeiro mmm.. yeah I knew eventually I'd end up showing pictures of myself but it's too hard to crop it out/distort it and I don't really care anymore :) ]

Again with the award winning breakfast at the pousada:
So deriiicious.

But I especially tried to take advanatage of it because I didn’t have a lot of money and didn’t want to leave my friend without enough for herself, so that was a little annoying that I didn’t have money but apart from that, it’s all good. There was also this little grocery store in which I bought some snacks for the boat trip.

Overall this trip didn’t have to be as expensive as this because lets see I paid R$200 for transportation (roundtrip) and pousada, then R$30 for the boat tour/snorkeling, and may be $20 for each meal minus the breakfast which was included. So without counting any souvenirs or juices or coconut or acai on the beach, there were around $290 total for 2 days. BUT my friend did another option for transportation and instead of taking a van or taxi I think they took another speed boat and their transportation was R$30 roundtrip and their nights at the hostel were $R15 and if you ate those R$5 meals, and not done the boat trip then it would have been much, much cheaper. But oh well ☺.

So If you decide you want to go, I would suggest that you might as well take advantage and do the boat tour and snorkeling and see the mud beach. But I am warning you that it is uber-touristy and not necessarily a real town at least in that section may be if you go really deep into the island but yeah most of the people are European or rich Brazilians. But really nice people

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