We had decided to get our boat trip in this week and so, getting up early, we headed down past the model market to the commercial ferry port. We bought two tickets from the man who had reduced the price to R$40 each, which is roughly £8 each – not bad! We were suitably grumpy for the early hour and had some time to kill so I got a coffee from one of the men who carry round wooden trays full of thermos, before walking back towards the market in search of breakfast. Whilst wandering we noticed a stall selling Cordel Literature! We have been on the lookout for this the entire time, so were quite excited to have found some. This is the only stall that we have seen and must be the one the professor was referring to. In a rather confused interaction we bought several leaflets, found some bananas for breakfast, and returned to the port just in time to be shuffled onto the boat!
The boat was a motor launch, and there were about 45 of us who spread around the benches. I was very happy to be back on the sea, cutting across the calm waters of the bay. The day was so warm and calm the sea was as still as a pond. Shortly after we left a samba band started playing and, much to our embarrassment, started insisiting on people dancing, so Rosie and I (I should add once again we were the only ‘gringo’s’ and so had no chance of understanding anything anyone said!) were dragged to our feet and attempted to samba to the three man band, who were encouraging some rather inappropriate dance moves…
After a couple of hours we arrived at our first destination called Ilha dos Frades, a perfect beach, light sand and clear water. A small launch took us to the beach where we jumped out, claimed a table and were immediately enjoying the sea around what Rosie dubbed ‘paradise island’! The water was beautiful to swim in, and shallow enough to practise our water acrobatics, which mostly involved Rosie attempting handstands (without much success) much to the amusement of the older citizens of the trip. On the next journey we got talking in broken English to two older couples from Chile who had come to Salvador on holiday. The two older men had been best friends forever and amused us by taking the mickey out of each other and telling us about their lives as well as passing on the obligatory life advice to us ‘younguns’.
Shortly afterwards we arrived at our second destination called Itaparica, where we were once again dropped off at a perfect beach and then chauffeured into the only restaurant on the beach. They had served up a great buffet (though the cost was outrageous – we didn’t feel too bad though as the trip had been so cheap in the first place), and we tucked in. Afterwards, feeling sleepy and full, we retired to some nearby hammocks and pretended to read whilst dozing, swinging our hammocks from side to side whilst watching some sort of small monkey jump from branch to branch above us (also under the strict supervision of a hungry looking cat). Dragged out of our hammocks back to the boat we started our return to Salvador. The band started playing and we relaxed, watching the world go by and discussing what sort of place we’d retire to, which is admittedly a little pre-emptive. We arrived back to port as the sun set behind us over the bay.
We returned home, sorted ourselves out, did some emails etc before heading back out to find some food. I was particularly keen to find a restaurant we had heard a bit about, but it was in an unfamiliar part of town on the other side of the lake where we had previously heard quite a lot of gunfire, and so we chickened out by hailing a cab. Like all cab drivers in Salvador we had to get out google maps to show him the street and how to get there! Sadly upon arriving we found it was shut, and so asked the cab driver to take us to a restaurant he would recommend. Slightly annoyingly he took us back to our least favourite district, Pelourinho. Nevertheless he was very helpful and patient with the gringos, and we thanked him before settling down to a tasty salmon dinner. At this point we decided to start an economy drive and so walked home instead of cabbing and were, of course, absolutely fine. After a long and exhausting day we fell asleep almost immediately!