Thursday, 31 July 2008

Salvador da Bahia Warnings or Dangers

no jewelery, less money

Salvador is a big city, with a lot of mininos da rua and poor people that can do robbery only to eat, so dress in simply way, without jewelery, wothes or precious thing, not a lot of money, but you can take cradit cards cause are not true money!
In the beaches don't leave your bags alone, a pair of shorts or snikers are expensive for a lot of people.
You have to respect the difference, you can travel, but the most of the people have only the money to eat!!!

Pelourinho Pickpockets & Street Thieves

If you can avoid Pelo altogether, it's a much more authentic trip. However, there are fine reasons to go there (Dada's restaurant, great shops hidden away, beautiful colonial architecture), so if you must go, then do so. It's not unsafe, its just a hassle. Schoolchildren will incessantly approach you asking for 1R (often with just a finger raised if they dont speak your language) and women will offer their newborn babies as evidence that they havent enough to eat, while you try to enjoy your lunch at an outside table at the cafe. Dont look to the restaurant for assistance, often, they will expect you to give to the needy. Simply be firm in your refusal, should you choose that route (If you vacation on a budget like I do, you will give a bit, but your hard earned reais are valuable to you!!) and walk away. Often you can be charmed by people claiming to work for AXE BAHIA who will offer you fitas (ribbons) as gifts, at no cost. before you know it, you'll have on a necklace that costs $10R. Not that much, indeed, but when you hadnt planned to spend ANYTHING on a necklace you neither want or need, it can become an annoyance. Be firm in your refusal and dont make any conversation with people in an effort to try to explain why you cant help everyone.

Don't Rely on the Policia Militar

I set out on foot for a restaurant about an hour after sunset on Monday, 14 July 2003. I soon got lost. I should have turned around and gone back the way I'd come. Instead I walked on, finding myself on Ave Contorno, the main street leading from Campo Grande in the Upper City to the center of the Lower City.
Halfway down I decided to take a ladeira, a small lane, directly back to the Upper City. I was reassured by the presence of a policeman, a member of the Policia Militar, at the head of the ladeira.
The cop's response to my request for directions was to signal two thugs who knocked and held me down, rifled my pockets, and ripped off my watch and pouchete (money belt).
A friendly passerby then took me by the arm and led me to a police car at Praca Castro Alves; those cops drove me to the Policia Militar station in the Pelourinho, where I gave a statement which was entered into a computer. Had they taken me to the Policia Turismo instead, something more might have been done.
Lesson: Warnings about avoiding the ladeiras connecting the Upper and Lower Cities are to be taken seriously. Otherwise, Salvador is still one of my favorite places.

Tourist Hunters

If you are walking around Pelourinho, be carefull, 'cause even being an amazing place, its colours hiddes many dangers, and the most popular are the Hunters !!! These guys are there everyday, like caracters from a comic book story, almost all the time just watching people, or better, their "victms". They first come to you friendly, then try to get your confidence, and once you trust them you're trapped, specially if you're a girl or woman. Men are not out of risk, they have no problem in making you pay them everything they ask you ! They also take you to areas out from Pelourinho, where you'll be an easy target, you'll get robbed, they steal cameras, money, tennis shoes, watches and so on, you're lucky if you come back home with your clothe, so whatch out ! They're so damn crazy that they fight in between to see who will go to the next girl or guy ! The Touristic Police Station in Pelourinho has a book with many snaps showing these troublemakers' faces, so if you have the unpleasant experience of being robbed or hurt by a hunter, go directily there and luckly you will find your agressor. The best you can do if you go to Pelourinho is: to walk prefferencially in groups, not carrying a lot of money, NEVER show your money in a wide open place, not carrying whatches or expansive tennis shoes, and be always wide oppened eyes whereever you go for a drink. You shall also don't give the guys any kind of attention, just say " não, obrigado", and follow your way up. I'm a local, and be sure that following these advices yo will have a good experience at Pelourinho !

PS: Take care also with the capoeira players, many of them are hunters as well ! If they ask you for money for snaps of their public showtimes, DO NOT PAY, 'cause Pelourinho is a free place, and all that you don't buy shall not be payed, if they threat you, just call the police !
• Phone: 71-32414120

Most bahian (salty) dishes are...

Most bahian (salty) dishes are prepared with dende oil. Dende is a special kind of palm tree (Elaeis guineensis, Jacq., Monocotiledonae, Palmae) and its oil is very thick and strong. Moqueca, Acaraje, Vatapa, Abara, all of those are fried in dende oil or have it in its composition. The thing is, it takes time to get your tummy used to this oil. So when you eat any of those dishes, be sure everything in your intestins is in order and eat nothing else that's strong the same day. Make sure the food was not re-heated, if you eat acaraje look at the pan where the lady is frying them - the oil must be black with an orange-brownish aureole. There should be an onion in the pan too, frying. The onion will help the flavour and your intestins as well. Don't eat acaraje on the beach or somewhere you can see the dow's been standing for the whole day. You have to eat the acaraje when it's still hot.

Be careful

Salvador, like many places in Brazil unfortunately, can be dangerous. While we were there I remember seeing police on almost every street corner where there were tourists. In a way this is good, but the fact that it is necessary is sad. Stay clear of the downtown area in Ciudade Alta at night -- as well as the elevator. Taxis at night from point to point is a great idea. We had no problems outside of downtown -- Pelourinho, Barra, Ondina felt good to be at night.

The infamous Rua 28 de Dezembro.

As for Pelourinho, heavy policing keeps the area generally very safe, there is, however, an area which should be off-limits to anybody who doesn't know what they could be getting into by entering it, and that is the area to the right of Praça da Sé as one enters the praça, and to right of Terreiro de Jesus as one enters from Praça da Sé. The first street parallel to Praça da Sé is okay during the day, it's the electronics shop district, but by night this street and certainly those deeper into this area should definitely be avoided. It's beyond me what runs through the minds of those hare-brained tourists who consider wandering these unwelcoming-looking streets at all! The far side of this area (called vinte-e-oito -- twenty-eight -- by the locals, after one of the principal streets running through it -- Rua 28 de Dezembro -- also known as Rua dos Tijolos) is defined by the Ladeira de São Francisco. This is the street that descends from the Igreja de São Francisco to the right as one faces the church, heading straight down to the infamous Rua 28 de Dezembro.

Don't walk home alone!

What ever you do, dont' walk home alone in Salvador Bahia, especially at night/early hours of the morning. Small gangs of thieves hang around waiting for easy (drunk) tourists to punch and rob. Take a taxi or walk with others. Even if they are strangers. They are very blatent. You have to remember there are no security cameras in places like this. All you have to depend on is the fat policeman who is not particulary interested in your passport and wallet getting stolen.

acaraje. danger or maybe pleasure of mouth?

If you walk out to the street, you will see those ladies in traditinal looking dress making tasty looking sandwiches. hmm I was there very hungry, so I went to them, and asked what that was. of course, I ended up feeling the language barrier once again. and decided just to try it.
yes I did try it. but.. hmmmmmmmmmmmm gotta say.. it wasn't my cup of tea. =)
the girl I met in Bahia said she can't stop eating it cause it's just too delicious for her. the sandwich itself has more than 1000 kcal, which is pretty fattening, still she can't stop eating it cause it's too nice. I didn't think I would ever like it like her does, cause.. it has got really weird, strong smell. I heard that even in brazil, some don't ever eat it.

but again.. eating aracaje gave me good taste of difference of two cultures. maybe thoe weird differences are somethings that my travel was for.. =)

Dangerous to walk around in Salvador

Salvador is picturesque, with very interesting afrobrazilian culture and the best souvenirs’ shopping in Brazil but it is dangerous. We were told by a policeman not to walk in the midday on a distance of 0.5km on the central street on the harbor, as an attack by thieves was possible. We were also told not to go to less touristic areas of the small old town and not to wonder around after 5 o’clock in the afternoon. All these made are stay to Salvador rather tiring…

Poverty and Crime

The one negative thing about Salvador is the enormous poverty of many of its inhabitants. In Pelhouirino be prepared to be followed everywhere you go by hordes of begging street children– you will often have children come up to your table if you are eating outside to ask for food. This can be very difficult emotionally as it is impossible to give money and/or food to all of them. There are also areas that are strictly off limits to foreigners because they are considered dangerous. Pelhourino has many policemen patrolling the area (basically just to protect the tourists) who will come after you if you wander down certain streets to warn you that it is not safe. Although we truly loved Salvador and made some wonderful friends there, these aspects of the city became very wearing and we were glad to leave for our quiet island part of the trip after three days.

1 comment:

Cesareo Spain said...

I just arrived to Valladolid (Spain) from Salvador. Your comments are useful and accurate.
Cesareo (España)