Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities.. Salvador and Morro Sao Paulo - 7/12-15

Yes, dear readers, I'm still in Salvador. It's not a bad city, but I've had ENOUGH of it. More importantly, if I don't get out of here soon I won't get back to Panama in time to get to Korea, so the pressure is on... really on and I'm feeling it big time. I don't know what "Plan B" is.

To bring you up to date:

When last we left poor Pinguino it was Friday afternoon, July 10, and he was at Nen's (the mechanic) shop. Nen was to dismantle the motor on Monday to figure out what was wrong and so we could order parts. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men (and penguins).

Since I couldn't do much at the time I decided to take a few days and go to Morro Sao Paulo for some fun and sun. This is an island about two hours by boat from Salvador, and supposed to be a very nice tourist resort area.

On Sunday I caught the boat for the island. The "luxury yacht" reminded me in many ways of the old fishing boats that we used to take scuba diving in Malaysia. Hard benches, and if you went out back for some fresh air the shape of the stern just sucked the diesel fumes right into your lungs. But I met a young Brazilian couple on the boat who spoke a little English and we had a decent time... and all stayed inside, which was probably better given the rain.

We arrived at the island at about 2:00. The island does look quite idyllic as you approach. It's a bit of a throwback to a gentler time, since there are no motor vehicles on the island (Except for a tractor that does some maintenance).

There are burros and horses everywhere. The "taxis" are only to carry luggage, and consist of boys with wheelbarrows. Even the construction materials are unloaded by hand off the boats and carried by horse or burro.

The hotel itself, Pousada Farol de Morro Sao Paulo, was very nice. I got a room with a nice view of the ocean and a small terrace.

I met an interesting, and varied, group to hang out with for a few days. Shelly and Kimberley are teachers from the DC area. Shelly had a local boyfriend, Diego, and Kim was waiting for a friend to arrive. Nick, an Aussie, showed up and then Joy, a local, joined us along with Daniella, one of the owners of the pousada . It was a group that liked to party, although I (Gramps) wasn't up for going out to the disco at two am and staying until dawn. I left that part up to them.

Joy, the guy on the far right, decided I should adopt him as my grandson since we looked so much alike!

On Wednesday we decided to go to the "mud baths", a Morro Sao Paulo ritual. This first entailed a hike through the jungle, during which the girls decided to enjoy a local refreshment, frozen coconut milk in a small plastic bag. However, as it melted it began to resemble a dripping condom and the comments - and images - grew progressively more "R" rated. The final images can't be displayed here on a family oriented blog.

While the hike was arduous, Daniella provided us with scenery to encourage forward progress. This is another Brazilian tradition!

Once we arrived at the clay cliffs, Diego and Joy prepared the magical mud treatment for us.

We then proceeded to slather each other from head to toe.. . to exfoliate, smooth, and just plain have a good time.

Joy looked like he had stepped out of a National Geographic magazine... on the warpath

After that, we dried until we caked up, walked further to a nice beach, and rinsed. Then we proceeded to drink far too many beers, have a good lunch, and finally return to the hotel after dark. It was certainly one of the better days.

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