Thursday, 31 July 2008

Salvador da Bahia Tourist Traps

Pelhourinho in general!

Most of Pelhourinho is one big tourist trap... Seems like people from all over the city flock to try and get a piece of the pie. It can be quite overwhelming... so make sure you don't spen your whole trip there or you will become jaded!
People who come and beg for moeny generally are doing it every day... If you are going to give just give and keep it moving... like wise if you are not going to.... Hmmming and Haaaing just gets you deeper in and more people will want to come and see who the suckers is so they can try and get a piece of the pie!
I suggest getting a map and just going to a new location every day.... tht is what I did and it was alot of fun!

Candomble is a religion. You...

Candomble is a religion. You have to respect it as you want yours to be respected. Sometimes though travel agencies or tourist guides set up 'candomble fests' that are not true at all, that are just theatre and apply a lot of tricks to make you shocked and impressed. If you want to see a show representing candomble theatrically, go to Ballet Folclorico da Bahia, from mondays to sundays except tuesdays, at Pelourinho (Teatro Miguel Santana). If you want to attend a serious cerimony, get informed not at the Tourist Bureau, but at CEAO (Centre of Afro-oriental studies of the Federal University of Bahia - it's in Pelourinho).
Here's a good hint to find out if it's a serious fest you'll attend or just a fake one: most serious candomble temples wont allow you to take pictures or videotape the cerimony, or record the music. Also nothing is charged from you to watch those festivities. You can never go wearing black clothes and the main room is divided by gender.

Watch out for the Bahians!!

You'll be pegged as a tourist from the word go. You'll also be desended upon almost immediately by big ladies dressed as Bahian's who will almost force you to take a picture with them. THEN, they will ask for money for the privilage. They will ask for alot. In dollars. They only need a few reais...not a few dollars.
Pay them. At least something small. Or they will continue to hassle you.

taking photos of capoeira

if you take photos of people dancing capoeira, you are very likely to have guys asking you to donate money to capoeira schools.
these guys are usually drug addicts who have nothing to do with the capoeira guys but are looking for easy money and they can be quite agressive.
ask the dancers before you take a photo to make sure any possible money goes in their pockets and not in some criminal guys pocket. for the rest of brazil don't worry.
brazilians love having their photo taken.
ask the guys before taking a photo.
let a girl take the photo.

Internet joint

At the bottom of the hill that runs from Largo do Pelourinho, you'll find this place by hanging a left at Rua do Paco. It's one of the first doors on the right and you'll see the signs for "internet". Just don't get trapped on VT too long!

Mercado Modelo - It´s not cheap !!

Get off the Mercado Modelo, they give the price as your face !
Prefer to by handcrafts at the airport.
Only the T-shirts are cheap, but the quality...

Street food

Do not eat food that is sold on the street. It is not prepared in good (clean enough) conditions. I was trapped in the toilet for half a day after eating a tipical bahiense snack on the street!
If you really want to try, take only a bite, and throw away the rest.

Solar Do Unhão

Solar Do Unhão is a cool place. There is jazz in the evenings out front, there's a modern art gallery and the dance presentation in the restaurant is highly recognized, but the food is overpriced and not that good. I'd recommend going there for all the things I mentioned above, but I wouldn't recommend sitting down for a meal, unless you want a good seat for the show. You can usually wander in the restaurant close enough to see it and they won't kick you out if you don't sit down for lunch or dinner. If you do go take a cab. Busing or walking is not a good idea for safety reasons.

Taxi drivers know who is local...

Taxi drivers know who is local and who isn't. If you're coming from another country there isn't really much you can do about this. Brazilians from other cities sometimes try to talk with a baiano accent. One thing you might try if you have to take a cab for safety reasons or just don't want to bus it is get an idea of what the fare should be from a local like the hotel front desk, shopkeeper or waitress and negotiate the fare with the cab driver before you take off. The driver may or may not agree to a price ahead of time, but this way at least he'll know that you know the fair price and will be less likely to rip you off.

If you Are Alone Girls will approach you
If you are travelling by your self and if you are specially a boy alone, girls will approach you offering themselves to accompany you.
When it happend to me it was quite annoying because she didnýt let me get throug and I was scared about others trying to take my pack or the things I Had on my pockets out, but hopfully she just wanted to offer me herself, Just say you donýt need anyone and they will go away.

Not oNly Girls Will Approach You

Not only girls will approach you, All kind of people will approach you offering local stuff or aking you for money or to buy them some food, from kids to adults men and women, all the people around Pelourinho are looking for walking dollars (tourists) to take their money out. It is a bit tiring and makes the visit a bit difficult to enjoy.

Pousadas - Know where to stay !

Some of the Pousadas in the northern section of Salvador are in some run down areas. Know what area you will be in before you book your hotel / pousada.

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