BEACH DAY AND CAPOEIRA.. by Odler Robert Jeanlouie

It would be an offense akin  to a felony not to go to the beach while visiting Bahia. Bahia is the fourth largest Brazilian state in size. It is located right on the Atlantic Ocean, at its junction with All Saints Bay. It is never cold in Bahia; therefore, the water is never too cold for a swim. Even in the winter months, as we are in now, the thermometer often rises to the 80s…

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Fourth most populous Brazilian state, third largest in size, Bahia does not have a overpopulation problem. Its numerous beaches are pure, natural, clean, and crystal blue, which is part of its attractive package.  Over the last two decades, the reputation of Costa do Sauipe has soared as the future Brazilian Riviera. Sauipe Folia, a three-day September fest, has grown into a statewide event.

Today’s journey started at Praia do Forte, located at 80 km from the city, and commands a  very scenic two-hour costal drive…  What used to be a fishers’ village has morphed into a highly sophisticated tourist-oriented beach development.

At Praia do Forte, there is the beach; there also are the boutiques whose primary products are the bikinis and the souvenirs. However, you can also enjoy other activities such as horseback riding, surfing, paragliding… As peculiar as it sounds for a beach resort, you can also take classes of capoeira and transcendental meditation. Praia do Forte offers some curiosities such as the huge sea turtles you can befriend at the Projeto Tamar and the rain forest you can explore at the Sapiranga Ecological Reserve.

The morning hours flew too fast. The 1:00 PM game was coming. The group installed its quarters at Guarajuba Beach, a short drive away, for lunch. That is when the news broke that a pair of sunglasses and a cell phone were left behind at Praia do Forte. While sunglasses come with the territory in Bahia and Rio, expensive cell phones on the beach are items that could have been done without.

Guarajuba is plain dead gorgeous. It is an image of anthology, a magazine shot coming alive. On this “winter” football day, it is empty and tranquil. It is like being on a private beach. A few in the group jumped into the water. Most remained cropped around the table savoring with jokes and stories on what was in fact the last nature outing of this Brazil World Cup Adventure…

Lunch was copious and delicious…  The service was faster than predicted. Whole fish or crustaceans, meat and side dishes, all for cheap… Always remember, wash it down with guarana… Abacaxi and caipirinha are suitable alternatives

Team USA advanced to the knockout phase despite losing 0-1 to the well-organized, almost flawless, German winning machine. Portugal and Ghana said goodbye.

The game ended at 3:00 PM. It took the buses almost two hours to get back to Festa Bahia Hotel. In the bus, the AARP people were sleeping in the front. In the back, the jokes resumed, fusing, exploding in intensity, in an unending blasting pattern.

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In our souvenir collectible, this one will also be a keeper. It happened at the Coliseum in Pelourinho, the old city, the colonial jewel, the UNESCO World Heritage Center.

We had dinner and attended a Capoeiera & Orixas show. The 90-min spectacle was stunning…

It included the capoeria demonstration. Capoeira is the dance and martial arts combination that was invented during the years of slavery. The slaves were rehearsing their fighting skills under the amused eyes of their masters who then believed they were dancing.  The show also showcased different Bahia dances and other cultural artifacts.

The night at the Coliseum in Salvador is in the same cultural dimension as the evening at Plataforma in Rio, but less fancy, less pricey, more genuine…  The next time you are in Salvador, you should not miss it…

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(The Traveller, Thursday June 26, 2014)