Current date: March 7, 2003 12:10 p.m. (Recife)

Current Itinerary: Staying here throught the weekend and hopefully will spend time with some friends of Doug and Luciana and get to know the city better. Planning to go to a beach near hear on Sunday or Monday called Porto de Gallinas. From there to Praia de Pipa (maybe on Wed.) and then on to Natal by Friday to hang with some folks from there that I met during Carnaval.

Note: Whew!!! The madness of Carnaval is now over...looks like I will live to tell the story!!! I know that I am a bit behind with journals but these things happen when Carnaval is involved:) Much will come in the next few days.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Got up early after my horrible job of passing out the night before. Decided to go and sit by the pool and read for awhile. Also had to re-repair my sandal...much stronger this time so I could go out dancing in them. After that, went and did internet for a couple hours. I wasn't sure if Paula was coming at that point so I was kind of waiting to decide what I was going to do...if she was coming, I needed to be ready to get on the overnight bus to Salvador at 7:00 p.m., if not, I would stay in Porto Seguro another night. Went back to the room and psuedo packed just in case but then decided to go out and walk the town some more. Porto Seguro seems to bustle with activity all throught the day and just sitting out at a sidewalk bar and watching the people can be pretty entertaining. I didn't want to take a bus to the beach because of time constraints. So I hung out at a couple different places...met some Israelis that were okay...there are a TON of them here. I hadn't heard form Paula all day so I decided to check my mail one final time at about 5:45...and SHE WAS COMING!!!!! Sweet, but I had to literally run back to the pousada, pack, and haul ass to the bus station. I got very lucky...there were only 2 seats left on the bus...and I arrived with about 20 minutes to spare. Worked out well.

A few notes about my bus rides to this point. (more for fellow travelers than anyone else) The buses here are far superior to the US Greyhound buses b/c buses are the primary means of transportation over large distances. You can almost lay down horizontally on those things. I have had this amazing streak of being in a seat with no one next to me that extends back to last year when I traveled to and from Florianapolis. It does not happen often but if you have two seats, you can really sprawl out and it makes the ride a bit more comfortable. The trick I have learned for you fellow travelers out there is to book your seat about an hour or two before the bus leaves, and ask to see the seating chart. You can choose one that has no one next to you. Also, if there are alot of seats open in the back but two next to each other in the front, chose the front...the computer default is to use up the high numbers first for some reason. Anyway, I have not ONCE had to sit next to anyone but when I got to this bus, it was obviously full. I was a bit disappointed but then by an amazing twist of fate, the person next to me got off at a stop about two hours into the bus ride...and the rest of the way I was still alone!! See how it all works out for me!! Another thing that I have quickly learned is that if you are not an Eskimo, you might get slightly cold on these traveling Igloos. Good God they are FREEEEEEZING!!! I always bring socks and wear pants...if you have zip off leg pants, even better b/c you won't die on the walk/taxi ride to the station...you can just zip on your legs when you get on the bus!!! Very nice. If you have a Parka, bring that too:) Some buses give you blankets but most do not...so come prepared!!

Anyway, that was a slight digression. I must say I was sad to leave Porto Seguro...I wished I could have stayed and experienced a couple weeks there. That has been one thing about trying to move quickly north for carnival...I have to leave every place so fast!! I think that after carnival, I will return to Porto Seguro...or maybe even a bit further south and work my way back up the coast the right way. Chris/SP has told me about a lot of other places I would like to visit. Her endorsement is enough for me!! We'll see how things go. For now, I am happy that I get to see my friend from H-town!!!!! I left there one full month ago...seems weird. The next two weeks are going to be ridiculous with Carnival festivities...bring it on!!!!

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Arrived in Salvador at 7:30...over 12 hours from when I left Porto Seguro. Checked e-mail to make sure Paula had made the plane...no news was good news...that meant she made it. Now the next task was to find a place to stay...easier said than done. I had read in Lonely planet that a barrio called Pelourinho was place to be. I figured my move would be to get there and then just walk until I found a place...seemed to work in Guarapari...pretty well I might add. I wanted to get a decent place that she would be comfortable in...hey I am backpacking, Paula isn't. It ended up being a VERY gruelling 2.5 hour search up and down some very steep hills. None of the hotels had space since it was carnival and many of the pousadas were subpar. Finally found a great hotel with a couple rooms available, just near the best area of bars and action. Cool. Checked in, arranged for a car to pick up Paula from the airport, and then went to do some e-mails. No confirmation that Paula had arrived in Rio, which she should have at that point...no worry though...maybe she was struggling to find an internet place. I also gave a call to Nathalia, a friend of my friend Eliana back in Houston. She is living in Salvador for awhile and knows some people so I wanted to hang out. She wasn't around so I left a message.

Walked around a bit, checking out the scene. Looked good...the streets were all beautifully decorated with carnival garb (can that really be a word?) and there was a decent amount of people in the nearby plazas. Lots of people selling some nice Afrocentric items. Bahia (the state Salvador is in...and also what Brazilians call this city) has a very strong African influence that is apparent in the people, the music, and the culture...all very vivid when you are walking in pelourinho. I strongly recommend anyone looking to experience some true Bahian culture to take a walk in this beautiful historic region of the city. I rather enjoyed the whole thing...but realized I was very tired from the long bus ride and the tiring search for a place to stay. Checked e-mail again...hmmm still no word from Paula...went back to the hotel for some Z's.

Woke a while later and decided to go to the internet place to see if Paula had written me...negative. I was starting to become pretty concerned. I gave another call to Natalia...talked to her roomate Cyrus and found out where they were going for the night...cool. All I needed was my H-town partner and we would be set.

I went back to the room and called the airline and they told me she had not confirmed for the flight I had reserved for her...uh oh. I then became very concerned. I cancelled the car that I had ordered for her and really began to bite my nails (only figurtively). Spent the next several hours checking internet, hanging in the plaza, and going to the hotel. Finally talked to Nathalia and confirmed I would go to the place to meet them if possible...but I was waiting for Paula. Also during that time I met a really cool artist named Carlos Priera...who is from Salvador. He spoke pretty English and we somehow struck up a conversation. His shop had some great art in it...I thought about buying something even. He also showed me all these pictures of himself in his shop with celebrities...Danny Glover, Spike Lee, Michael Jackson, and many others. I guess he is relatively well known...cool. He told me about a dance show the next day...might check it out I thought.

Finally headed back to the hotel around 10 after stopping and checking e-mail with no message from Paula. Decided to call the airline again to make sure she didn't make the flight and they told me she DID!!! Excellent!!! I had her paged and luckily she was still there!! About 45 minutes later she arrived!!!!! What a sight for sore eyes...or for non sore eyes for that matter!!! Anyway, it was funny, she brought more clothes for 4 days than I brought for a whole year. Women! Anyway, she was pretty tired from traveling and spending the day in Rio sight seeing, but was still willing to go out for awhile. She showered up and about 6 days later was finally ready:)

We went out nearby the hotel into Pelourinho...plenty of things are going on in the area. We found a pretty packed bar and hung out on the street just outside listening to music. It was pretty cool!! Finally we decided to catch a cab and head towards the place, "Bohemia", where we were supposed to meet Nathalia and her friends. Sadly when we arrived around 2, the place was closing. Damn. Nathalia and her friends were not there anymore...Paula was pretty tired so we decided to head back to the hotel. Crashed in the nice airconditioned room around 3.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Woke around 10:30...just after the free breakfast was over...dammit!! I needed my daily papaya fix. Went to eat in a by the kilo place in the nearby plaza that DID have papayas...aaahhhhh feliz again. We chatted for awhile about the things I had done on my trip thus far and it was cool. We wanted to walk around Pelourinho for awhile and check out some of the great churches and architecture...and also Paula wanted to do a little shopping. It was interesting that I somehow was converted from a traveler to a tourist for the days Paula was here...taking an inordinate number of pictures, shopping for gifts...these sorts of things that you don't normally do as you are backpacking. Not that it doesn't happen, but when you have a lot of time, these activities become far more spread out. Paula was so cute, taking pictures of virtually everything and going into every other shop. It was fun actually and very fortuitous as I am about to explain.

We stopped at this one shop and this guy sitting outside heard us speaking english. He came up to me asking if I was African-American...which of course I said yes to. He spoke pretty decent english and started to talk about how many people that come to Bahia (this is what Brazilians call Salvador...the full name is Salvador do Bahia) to see all the african culture that is there. I should explain a bit behind that. Bahia was the major port into which the slaves that were brought into Brazil arrived. It was actually Brazil's colonial capital until the late 1700's. Because of this, there is a huge population of Afro-Brazilians (if that is what they are supposed to be called). Since the population is so large, they have been able to preserve the African religion, customs, and style of life in this city quite well (atleast in Pelourinho), making it a common stop amoung blacks who travel through the area. It would not surprise me to find larger cities in Africa to be similar.

We happened to be just across the street that moment from this church, Igreja NS do Rosario dos Pretos...magnificent structure that was built by slaves over a period of 170 years. It then took 30 years to decorate it!!! The slaves were only aloud to work on it at night for a few hours each day when there were no other chores to be done. It really struck me to think that GENERATIONS of people used vitrually the only free (I use the term loosely) time they had to construct this church where they would secretely practice their prohibited religion. Pretty unbelievable if you ask me.

The guy who we met, Antonio, turned out to have an immense knowledge of Bahia and it's history. He shared MANY things with us...much of which I will do my best to reiterate here...if you are looking for accuracy, then you can come down here and see for yourself...I am not a history expert and certainly not knowledgable in Brazilian history...but I want to try to remember as best I can the things I saw that day. It really had an impact on me.

He told us how we were actually standing in the Largo de Pelourinho (by the way, Pelourinho means "whipping post") a square where over a million slaves died during the 18th and 19th centuries. Slaves who misbehaved would by caged in an area and literally whipped to death...in full view of others in order to set an example. Hearing things like this really remind me of the history and carnage that so many of my ancestors were forced to go through many years ago...and it opens your eyes to the fact that it was not only in the US where these things were occuring. Slavery was a WORLD WIDE travesty...the magnitude of which is far beyond the comprehension of a guy like me who has grown up in a "free society" where (atleast on paper) I am considered an equal. Of course in my life I have experienced a fair amount of prejudice (especially coming from a place like Normal, IL) and had to surpass the obstacles associated with being a young black male growing up in America...but as I write this and think back to what I saw, I am reminded that what I have experienced is a NOTHING...and I mean NOTHING compared to what these people had gone through. I often hear people say, "what is in the past is in the past...the world is not like this today, so why are you griping about it." It is true...the world has changed (although we still have a long way to go) but I must admit that learning and hearing about this history still hurts me somewhat...I guess it makes me feel somewhat cheated...kind of makes me want to gain some sort of retribution for the horrible manner in which these people, my people, were treated. I don't know if I can explain it but it is very unsettling thinking about what happened in those days...people...PEOPLE being whipped to death in a square with little less reason than the color of their skin...it makes my blood boil. I mean, if that doesn't PISS YOU OFF then I don't know what to say. That human beings could treat other human beings that way is just a concept I cannot grasp and I will NEVER be comfortable with it. I wonder inside if my feelings for this are stronger b/c I am black...probably so...but as a human in general I am disgusted. (note: I find myself having similar feelings when thinking about Holocaust...I was especially moved by my trip to the Holocaust museum in D.C. a few years back. I strongy suggest visiting it if you are ever in the area)

We did finally enter the church and Antonio shared with us many stories about how the church and the religous practices of the slaves. It was actually a VERY spectacular building and after being inside, I understood why it took them 30 years to decorate it. There were countless paintings and sculptures. There are many sculptures and statues of saints that are not recognized by the catholic church. Antonio explained the stories behind many of them and it was really very interesting (can't recall any specifics at the moment...but trust me, it was fantastic to hear the tales). The altar was also quite a spectacle...it had something like 200kg (440 lbs.) of gold and silver that were used to decorate it.

In the courtyard behind the church, there was a small monument to a slave that had been a princess back in her tribe before she was taken into slavery. In protest, she refused to speak to her masters...so they designed a muzzle that wrapped around her head and covered her mouth so she was unable to speak to anyone...removing it only so that she could eat. She was forced to live this way for MANY years. I sat and thought about that for awhile...it gives a vivid picture of how drastic life changed for the slaves who were brought over. Just thinking how this woman went from beautiful princess to a muzzled slave...I am telling you that knowledge can be a very powerful thing. I mean to say that I could have easily gone through my trip to Bahia without ever learning this, and although hearing the tale made me sad/mad, I feel that I gained something from learning the story...more on this in a minute.

Antonio continued to share with us other stories about the slaves and artifacts in the church. Another interesting thing we saw was this large (VERY large) cabinet that resembled an enormous antique chest of drawers. It was 330 years old and had never been restored. It was just sort of funny to me to think back to a shelf I bought at Wal-Mart that barely lasted me 5 years. They knew how to build stuff back then...that is for sure.

All in all, we spent about an hour in that church and at the end I was just astounded. Antonio told us about another place he could take us so we went along. As we walked, he continued to talk to us and we were just amazed. He took us to the back of this restaurant that had this fabulous view of the lower part of the city. It was very cool.

Finally we went to another church that was also quite breathtaking. Inside, there is a Jesus sculpture that is carved in wood...it took the slave artist who did it THIRTY years to complete. The detail was unbelievable...possibly one of the finest pieces of artwork that I have ever seen.

Also, in the basement of the church...well, it wasn't really a basement, it was basically a large cave underneath the church...there was an area that also served as a large whipping chamber. UNDERNEATH A CHURCH!!! There was this small whole behind the stairs where some of the slaves had built an escape route...Andy DeFreune style. Pelourinho sits high up over the city on a mountain, so this tunnel basically went through the mountain and came out down near the bay (Salvador is a penninsula). I actually climbed in there and snapped a picture. Paula made a comment as we were leaving that church that I thought was interesting...she was saying how seeing things like this and hearing these stories makes her want to go into human rights. I knew exactly what she meant...it just makes you want to do something about it.

We walked around the old city some more and Antonio continued to enlighten us with tales of the rise of Salvador and the stories of the slaves. We wondered back towards the main square b/c Paula needed to call/e-mail folks back home to let them know she made it. We had a couple beers in the bar and just chatted...very nice time. I got a chance to know Antonio a bit more. Afterwards we went to a spot that looks out over the western part of the city and the bay...pretty nice view. Finally, Antonio had to leave us. We thanked him a thousand times over and were finally on our own.

All together we had spent about 4.5 hours with Antonio...probably the most educational and interesting 4 hour stretch on my trip so far. Part of the reason I came on this journey was to learn some things about cultures and about myself. In my time walking through the streets of Pelourinho I was able to accomplish both of these things...many of the images that I saw that day will stay with me for a long time. I feel that by learning more and more about my culture and background...that I somehow become a bit better person. I had sort of discussed this point with Antonio and some point during the day and he quoted a Bob Marley lyric(note: The following is not going to be exact in any manner...just a paraphrase of the idea...anyone who knows the song or where this comes from...feel free to correct me and send it to me.) that went something like "A man who does not know about his history and where he comes from is like a tree without roots." I must say that I learned that there is a quite a bit of truth to that statement. Since my background and concentration in College and beyond has been in the sciences...I am the first to admit that I am quite ignorant when it comes to history/philosophy of the world...especially with respect to African history. These matters are important to me and although I could easily go through life maintaining that ignorance...I choose to try and grow roots. Learning things like I did in Salvador that day was very enlightening. I really enjoy the history of the slaves and learning about their experiences. It made me feel better as a human, but more as a black male. Perhaps I still am not the most educated in these areas...but through my travels I hope to continue to learn more and grow those roots.

We left Antonio and went to the Mercado Modelo to check it out and Paula wanted to buy some things. It was cool...it is a VERY large market where you can buy just about anything. Lots of beautiful cultural artifacts.

Returned to the hotel for some downtime...we were tired after walking around up and down the hills of Pelourihno all day, plus I wanted to sit and write about what happened that day while it was fresh in my mind. I gave Nathalia a call and she said that she was not sure if she would go out that night. We had heard that Pelourinho would be bustling with activity since it was Friday night.

We ordered up a couple caipirinhas (ahhhh room service) and get ready for the night. On the way out to the main plaza, I was walking along and this guy is like "yo man!" It turned out to be this guy, Stimee, from the hostel in SP. Pretty weird to be walking on the street in Salvador, Brazil and run into somebody you know. Anyway, he said that he had been in contact with Lorna/England and that she was flying in the next day. Cool! Brad and Deb were on their way from Porto Seguro so we were all going to be together again!! Stimee was with a couple other guys but they had just come from the square (which is where we were headed) so we parted ways but decided we would meet up the next day. The square was absolutely packed with people...some taking in the atmosphere, others selling things, others watching the steet performers. It was great! I watched some folks do Capioera for awhile and it was cool to see. Capioera is a form of martial arts that was originally developed by the slaves. They practiced it in slow, dancing rhythm type motions that today has become a popular form of "dancing". It was very interesting to see...I believe that in the last few months I was in the US, I heard of some exercise classes actually going this up there. Probably not like seeing it done by the folks who invented it on the streets of Brazil.

While in the plaza, Paula decided to get some of her hair braided...trying to keep with the spirit of Carnaval of course. I bought some meat from one of the African stands on the street...let me give a piece of advice for those who might be thinking the same thing when they are in Salvador...bad idea. It tasted like a cross between liver and my shoe. Looked appealing though. I good reminder that things aren't always what they seem.

We were both pretty hungry so we headed down to this restaurant that is quite popular in Pelourinho called Lua something or another. It is at a corner where three streets come together. They put all these tables outside and they have a lounge-type singer there who does a GREAT job. Cool to sit outside, have a couple drinks, watch the people walk by, and enjoy the show. At one point there was this cool band that marched by, banging out the sounds of the afro-brazilian music typical to the area. They were pretty lively...and had many people following them as they marched, dancing away. I snapped a few pics but it was definitely one of those situations where you had to be there to see and feel the energy they were producing. It added so much to the already electric atmosphere. As I mentioned before, the streets were all decorated beautifully and it was quite nice sitting there. We talked a bit about how wonderful of a day we were having.

After dinner, I gave Natalia a call and she said she was not going to be going out...but was nice enough to give me a couple suggestions, one of which was this place called Aeroclube, which is where we decided to go. It turned out to be a pretty good call.

This complex is very difficult for me to describe. It was sort of like an outdoor mall...there were many shops that were actually still open. Kind of reminded me of good old Buzios...you could shop until the wee hours. Paula particularly liked this and even bought a really pretty red dress. Anyway, there are also TONS of places to eat and bars in this complex...and a couple clubs. You could probably go there every night for month and not do the same thing twice.

We found a spot to sit and have a drink...and boy did we luck out. The place actually served Sangria!!! Very cool. Happens to be one of my favorites and probably not too common in Brazil. We got a pitcher and just sat there chatting for about an hour or so. It was perfect. As I write this now, I do not remember what we discussed that night, but I do remember that I was appreciating this time I was having with Paula and getting to know her a bit more. She really is a GREAT girl and I love to sit and have some intelligent conversation.

Around 1:30 or so, we decided we would try to go to Cafe Cancun, this club there in the complex (note: this place is a chain and there are many throughout latin america...some of you may recall my going to one in Florianapolis last year.) There was a line halfway around the world to get into that place! I tried to bribe the bouncer but it didn't work...so we decided to grab a cab and try this other place, "Fashion club", that Nathalia had told us about.

Now, we had paid 20 reals for the 15 minute cab ride from Pelourinho to Aeroclube. On the way, we had passed Fashion club...about 3 minutes (if that) before we got to Aeroclube. When we got into a cab and asked how much to get to Fashion Club, the guy qouted us...if you can believe this...20 REALS. Now, I understand that these people live to rip tourists off, and it is a big reason I hate taking Taxis in almost any city here in Brazil, but THIS was RIDICULOUS. I normally bargain with guys but I immediately got out of the cab. I was so angry that this guy was going to try to take us for such a ride. I must say that this has been by far the most annoying thing that I have encountered on my trip...price gouging. I understand that since I am not from here, people will not necessarily treat me the same. I even expect that often I will be paying extra 50 centavos or real here and there. However, here in Brazil, I found that it is VERY excessive what they do to the tourists...especially the cabbies.

Anyway, got way off track there...sorry. The short of the story is that I argued with the next cabbie for awhile and then just decided to forget it...we headed back in for another Sangria and I cooled off. Didn't want to let something like that ruin a great day and night.

Sipped sangria and talked until about 3 and then decided to call it a night...headed home and fell asleep...my brain full from all the incredible things I had learned that day.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Woke at 9:30, just in time to catch the free hotel breakfast. Mmmmm, papayas. No dolce de leite for my bread though...man I love that stuff.

The plan was to do a bit of internet and then head to a town about 50km north of the city called Praia de Forte. Paula had heard from a guy on the plane that it was a great place with a good beach...and they also have this display of giant turtles. It was raining that morning in the city so we were a little worried. We decided to go for it anyway.

It took us awhile, but we finally figured out that we needed to get to the main bus station and then take a bus from there. At the bus station, I tried to buy tickets for a show in the Favelas that Lyle had told me about, but they were sold out...dang it. I decided there was no reason for me to stick around Salvador on Sunday then so I would head for Morro de Sao Paulo the next day. Anyway, around 12:30 we were on our way.

The bus ride was certainly not without incident. As I have rode in taxis and buses down here over the past month, I have often been amazed at how rare accidents are. Especially with those cabs...it can be a prayer-filled ride with them sometimes. I have seen very few fender-benders...big change from Houston where there are so MANY accidents that tow trucks are literally waiting for them on the sides of the road on the freeways. Well, on the drive up, there was a considerable traffic jam that was caused by an accident that was pretty severe...and actually involved a taxi.

Well, a little bit after that, we almost got into an accident on the bus. The bus driver literally slammed on the brakes...causing us to brace ourselves. This was not just a quick slow down...I actually was fully preparing myself for us to hit what ever it was that had caused our abrupt stop. It was definitely one of those ones where you end up with your heart some where in your upper esophagus...thumping away at about 6000 beat/minute. Luckily nothing happened but it can really be an adventure riding these damn buses down here.

Made it to Praia de Forte in one piece...and we were DAMN glad we did. It is a GREAT little town that has a beautiful brick main road that is littered with shops and outdoor cafes. It turned out to be a very sunny pretty day up there and I was instantly happy to be out of the city. We walked along and Paula did a bit of shopping. We decided to grab some food before heading to the beach...a very nice meal of chicken and potatoes. Finally got down to the beach. We walked along it for about a kilometer, just talking and enjoying the view. It was cool to see Paula having all these thoughts about how good it was to be strolling along the beaches in Brazil...similar thoughts to what I had been having over the previous month. Yep, life's real tough:)

Anyway, we finally found a place to chill and we just sat and chatted for awhile. I must say that Paula really is an amazing listener...good combo for me, because I certainly like to talk. Finally we decided to take a swim. The ocean there in Praia de Forte is a bit different than what I am used to. There are many large rock formations about 150 meters of the coast, so when the tide goes out, alot of the water is trapped and a standing pools are formed. They are nice b/c they are shallow and very warm since the water is standing. You can just sit and relax in them...which is cool. I prefer the waves however and a smooth sandy ocean floor (like praia de Sono...ahhhhhh great memory). I actually waded way out pass the rocks to where the waves were breaking and that was cool. Finally I returned to where Paula was sunbathing and we decided to go check out the giant turtles.

It really was pretty cool seeing this turtle preserve. Not sure why it is located there...I imagine that they naturally come that area to spawn every year. They also had some stingrays and cool exotic fish (Dave, they actually had one just like the puffer in the tank in that building behind Chipotle). The turtles sure were huge. Paula got a lot of pictures which hopefully I'll get up on the website at some point.

Afterwards, we had to catch the last bus that was heading back to the city...we sat and had an ice cream and then went for the bus. When we got there, we weren't really sure which bus to get on and this guy sort of motioned us over to this van that was full of people that was headed for Salvador. After a little confusion, we finally figured out that this guy was going back to the city. It was cheaper and we figured it would be faster so we went for it...however, we ended up sitting in the front with the driver. As I mentioned before, riding in any vehicle in Brazil can be pretty interesting. It is best to sit in the back, and not even be able to see the road. The people drive like maniacs. It seems like there are so many close accidents, but there are almost never any. It can really be scary though...a slightly stressful ride home, but once again we made it.

We decided we would head straight for Fashion club that night. We chilled around the room for awhile, took short naps, and had some caipirinhas. We got to Fashion Club around 11. It was a bit of a hassle getting in, but we made it. The place seemed a lot smaller on the inside than it was from the outside. No matter. We headed to the bar and ordered up some drinks...there was some sort of mix up and we didn't get our drinks for 20 minutes. It was not a good start but we finally got going. The music was great in there, but here in Brazil, not many guys dance. In fact, besides us, not many folks were doing much. It was early in the night though. Anyway, a couple guys started talking to Paula...they were pretty nice. I ended up meeting a cool group of girls that were visiting Salvador for Carnaval. Danced most of the night with them and got some great pictures. Eventually a band came on and they were AWESOME. They played for a couple hours.

Around 3, Paula hit the wall and it was time to head back to the hotel. She had to get up at 5:30 a.m. to get to the airport. The cab ride home was cool...the cabbie had some great samba music. Paula even bought the CD from the guy!!! Good old Brazil...everything is for sale!!

That was basically the end of Paula's stretch in Brazil. We really had a ton of fun together and I am SOOOOOOOOOOO glad she came. I love that people I know get to have a peek into the great times I am having down here. It was especially great to get to know Paula better during the time she was here. Thanks Paula, for having the guts to come down on a whim, and being a part of my great journey.

AC

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