Monday, March 15, 2010

Praia do Forte (Part I)

Four of my friends and I decided to go down to the Praia do Forte beach. We got together somewhat early and took a taxi to the rodoviária (bus station), got our tickets on the spot as is usually done it seems. Reservations aren't too common. Then we just chilled for a bit. We did get a little nervous though because we didn't see our bus number or time on the television that listed all these departure times. So I asked one of the guys working there, and he's like "oh it'll come" me: "really? it doesn't matter that they aren't showing it on the list?" "yeah, yeah" And it came.

Bus tip*: Count on the bus being late, may be a little more than a little late, like half an hour or so, don't get worried that you missed it because YOU were late. Also, I'm not sure why sometimes they don't show all the departures on there, I guess it makes it seem less official but if you got the ticket from the right place it is usually correct. But asking around doesn't hurt, if you're like me and just wants to make sure and it's always better to ask instead of waiting in uncertainty and getting stressed out. So RELAX.

The bus ride itself was like 2 and a half hours. Another heads-up: Sometimes on buses, even though they're long rides and you have a seat number on your ticket which cost more than a regular bus pass, you aren't guaranteed a seat. The bus driver will keep picking up people until it's too crowded for anyone else to possibly fit in it seems. My friends ended up giving up their seats to elderly people. We were all carrying a bunch of stuff and one of my friends carrying a water bottle lost her balance and spilled water on some other passengers--and didn't notice so she didn't say sorry, it was quite an adventure. One of the ladies for whom my friend had given up her seat actually offered to hold her stuff. We weren't really used to that. It was really a nice offer but at the same time it felt too weird having some stranger hold your stuff, beyond the trust issue though it felt bad making someone hold your stuff like that.

So this is when we got there. As soon as we got there my friend saw an ATM and decided to go now that she had a chance, and the rest of us just waited at a bench under a tree's shade, and without saying anything we all whipped out our packed lunches that our mom's made us. It was so funny, because it was the first thing we did like 3 minutes into Praia do forte and we're all eating already. My mom packed me some fried rice with plantain, and a pineapple lamb chop, and a soy bean and nut salad.

Then we finally trekked out into the little town. It was touristy like Morro de Sao Paulo, but not that extreme. People actually live here! It's pretty interesting how there's this little colony (above) of little shops and restaurants but right next to it and all around there are houses, like normal neighborhood, resident type stuff.

So my 1st hostel! It was pretty nice actually, I think it is in a chain of youth hostels. It has nice rooms, ours had three bunkbeds but since we were only 5 one bed was unoccupied (much to the distress of one of my friends' who has a bigger indecision issues than I do; she couldn't decide whether she wanted the top or bottom).

We got these little bands for our wrists for the rest of our stay for easy entrance etc. I'll talk more about the Albergue (hostel) later. But the first thing we do once leaving the hostel:
We are enthusiastic eaters. What can I say? I know how I'm going to choose friends from now on; we seem to go well with each other. This is a local sorveteria (ice cream shop) and what I loved about it, is that I can choose exactly what I want--because I usually want a little bit of everything but at most places (in general not just Brasil) they're like "no, you can't have half a scoop of this flavor and half of that one. choose only one or have two large scoops of different things" But in this magical place, I could test every single of the like 30 different flavors AND I could get as much or as little of whatever I wanted, plus I could serve myself whatever of the condiments pictured above, and then pay just according to the weight. 1 pound of ice cream would have been the same as 1 pound of rum syrup and melted marshmallows.
yes ice cream tends to melt rather quickly in Bahia.

This one is mine! See, thanks to this sorveteria's system I was able to get something that I was craving (cookies n' cream) without having to feel bad about not getting something local that I couldn't easily get anywhere in the states, so I also got a scoop of açai, ginger (super rad), and pavê*, that tradition layerd cake I've mentioned before that usually has some kind of cookie and cream involved and can include different fruits. To top, some rum syrup, chocolate sprinkles, and some green and yellow to show my Brazilian patriotism.
Then we were off, in search of a private little area to swim and tan. So we walked, and walked along the beach.
There were little natural coral pools containing crystal clear water and little fish, crabs, sea plants (I should ask my marine biologist friends I don't know what they are)
My toe is still healing, as you can see I wore 1 havaiana in attempt to keep the sand out of the hole in my toe, but I wasn't very successful in case you were wondering.
So we walked for I think a little over half an hour because once there were no more people around there was all this coral in the water and so it was inadequate and painful to hang out there, so we continued our quest for some sand to stand in. And finally we found a desserted spot with sand in the water! Shortly after some fishers came and we weren't alone anymore--and then we realized that right behind us there was a sign that read "No swimming, dangerous waters"
But we were like whatever, we've walked all this way. We'd already laid our kangas (sarongs but brazilian) we weren't moving. But then much to our dismay the sun went away for a while because by then it was like later afternoon but we still laid out with my friend's Hawaiian sun tan lotion slathered all over us.

After "tanning" we had a photo shoot. It was fun, but yes we hecka did the tourist thing. It was fun though, we had a water fight and built a sand structure (I can't say it looked very much like a castle) but oh well. Then we decided to go back and shower to go out to dinner because we were hungry again.
The famouse lighthouse of Praia do Forte

There was some really cool gate type thing made of glass or plastic with a lot of paintings on them.
Dinner at the Ogum restaurant. Ogum to remind you is the name of an Orixá that presides over fire, iron, hunting, politics, and war. It was a really good dinner, oh by the way everywhere we went Brazilians assumed we were sisters because we were usually the only brown people in our group, and so they'd assume I was Hawaiian when we'd say that we, as a group, were from California and Hawaii. Of course I took them as compliments.
Mmmmmm, I still remember this meal, and perhaps dream about it occasionally too. This was the baked potatoes with melted cheese on top, broccoli rice, and Salmon in a maracujá (passionfruit) sauce! This was another 1st time ever thing. I had never had maracujá and salmon together, but they make a great couple.

And a few of us were STILL hungry after that so here we are with a Baiana making some acarajé.
Then I just relaxed at the hostel, because I was sooo tired, but a few of my friends went out to a dance. There are dances like every night, no joke. It's great excercise I just get really tired and I have never been the type to be in a sweaty crowded room with some people possibly wanting to dance with me, and touch me. So I don't go to clubs in the states, and I know that it's really great for some people but I've never liked that kind of thing. I'm like an old lady, in various ways one: I get tired early--especially in Brasil! The monoscare is gone, but I am still sleepy by like 8pm. I don't know why.
GReat day!


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