Let’s get out of Guiné
After a perfect night, all clean in a nice, big bed in a cool room, we wake up in Guiné well rested. What a great hostel, we would have loved to stay another night, but there’s no time for that. Today we have to find a cash machine, or we’ll be stranded here. Since there’s none in this town, we have to find a way out of here. There’s a van every day at 5 am, but we already missed it. A taxi would be around 200 dollars, so that’s not an option. Slightly reluctant, I give Riny permission to stand on the side of the road with his thumb up. Hitch-hiking really seems to be our only option at this point. I settle in at a table in the hostel restaurant, with the laptop. Time for some blogging. Riny’s just outside, in front of the hostel at the main (and only) street of this town.
Fifteen minutes later, only 2 cars have passed. Our back-up plan is to stay here another night and take the 5 am van in the morning, but it’s going to be a lot of trouble to make that work, so we’d rather not. I just finished typing 3 lines when a van stops. It’s the same crooked van that brought us from Palmeiras to Capão, with our backpacks on the roof! That gives me some hope, this guy will do anything to earn some cash. After some Google Translating (let’s just make it a verb…) we agree on the price and arrange that he will drop us off at a bank in Palmeiras so we can pay for the ride. That’s strange, I thought there were no banks in Palmeiras? Oh well, maybe it’s a similar construction to here. As long as it works we’re happy.
We load our stuff into the van, luckily not on the roof this time because we are the only ones in the van. Then it’s hobbly bobbly, off to Palmeiras on a bad sand road for an hour and a half, oh joy. When we finally arrive we actually get to a bank. How is that possible? Our Danish friends had to go get cash the day before we left for Vale do Pati, and they were in a taxi for 3 hours. Palmeiras was only one hour back and forth… Maybe the taxi driver screwed them over? That would be mean!
Anyway, we get as much cash as we can (this is always different at each city, bank or day), that’s one less problem. Our friendly driver drops us off at another guy who will be leaving for Capão in 3 hours, or at 3 pm, we don’t really understand. But i guess we are lucky because within an hour a bus arrives that goes to Capão. This seems to be the local bus, quite luxurious and very cheap. There we go again! Hobbly, bobbly on the sand road. Man I will be so happy when we can drive on asphalt again.
Back in Capão; where’s my phone?!
There’s nobody to be found in the hostel. Luckily we know where the key is, so we can use this time to repack our backpacks and charge our camera and laptop. I think my phone can also use some power, so I’m trying to find it. I used it in the first van, so it must be here somewhere, right? Well… guess not. God only knows what happened, but it’s nowhere to be found. #%@!&((^&$@^(! Beeeeeeeep! This is the worst. A travellers nightmare, and it happened to me.
The guy that works at the hostel enters. The drug use seems to have some bad effects, because he doesn’t seem to remember that we slept here. I guess he also doesn’t remember that we still have to pay, but of course we do it anyway. We Google Translate to him that we lost my phone, maybe he can help us. He takes us into town to the buses ticket office, but this doesn’t open until 7 pm. He runs into a friend who does speak English, and he helps us to ask around the village.
Maybe anyone knows the bus driver or how to contact the bus company? It turns out that the second bus is getting cleaned nearby. Another bus is going there and doesn’t mind to drop us off. The watchdogs get put away before we can get off the bus. The bus we were on just got cleaned, but the guys didn’t find anything. We check it one more time but unfortunately we don’t find anything. Now it’s a 3 kilometer walk back to the hostel.
Back to Palmeiras, again
We decide to take the bus to Palmeiras tonight, just as we planned. At 7 pm we buy a ticket at the ticket office, and our Brazilian friend, who is still with us, is still trying to get more information on the first bus we were on. The driver of the 7 pm bus knows the driver of the crooked van! He even knows where he lives and is willing to drop us off there, once in Palmeiras. We share some pizza and then we say goodbye to our new Brazilian friend. Off to Palmeiras, to find my phone!
Someone contacted the driver of the crooked van, because he’s waiting for us at the bus terminal. He doesn’t speak any English, but he takes us to his home, where his son explains that they checked the entire van, but they couldn’t find the phone. We check it once more, and indeed, it’s nowhere to be found. Bad luck. Tonight we’ll stay in a hostel, and tomorrow we’ll just go on with our trip. Luckily Riny has two phones, so I’m not completely lost. I spend the night at the hostel trying to install the phone, which is very hard with a lot of apps, if you don’t have a sim card.
Trouble at the airport
It’s Wednesday the 22nd of February, 7.30 pm. We just arrived from Palmeiras by bus, at a huge bus terminal in Salvador. While enjoying a Subway sandwich we go on our quest to find some WiFi, because we have no idea how to get to the airport. Luckily our flight to Rio doesn’t leave until the next morning, so we have plenty of time. Unfortunately we are at the most tourist-unfriendly place in the world, where nobody wants to give us their WiFi password. So taxi it is.
Around midnight we arrive at the airport. Here they do have WiFi, and we find out that the tickets we booked this morning in Palmeiras, still haven’t arrived in our mailbox. At the service desk, where they don’t speak English of course, they can’t help us. OUr ticketss can’t be found in their system. Strange… We try again at the self check-in, but no luck there either. Maybe the website wasn’t as trustworthy as we thought?
Then Riny taps on my shoulder and points at his phone. “Look here”, he says, and I have a look on his phone. He’s pointing to a date on the screen, 23th of march. “What’s this”, I ask. “This is on the booking”. No way! What? Did we seriously book the flight in the wrong month? No wonder they weren’t in a hurry sending the tickets! This sucks… I can hate myself a little bit longer for it, but then it’s time to forget about it and move on. We have another problem now. What will we do tonight?
Back in Salvador
A place to sleep in Salvador would be more than welcome. With only half an hour of WiFi on the clock, we try to find a Couchsurfing host. Our last host in Salvador is out of town, unfortunately, to escape from the carnival. He’s willing to call some hostels for us, but then we receive a reply on CS. This host feels a bit sorry for us and doesn’t want to just leave us stranded at the airport. He gets us an Uber and 10 minutes later we are on our way to his home. What a relief! Our host, Witalo, welcomes us with open arms. He tells us “my house is your house”, and he really means it too. We talk a little bit and then we lie down on the couch for the night.
Carnival in Salvador
Two days later another CS’er arrives, Othmane from Morocco. Our host is working, unfortunately, so we decide to go celebrate the carnival in the evening with the three of us.
Salvador is one of three places in Brazil that compete for the title ‘best carnival of Brazil’. They all seem to be totally different. Carnival in Recife and Olinda (which are very close to each other so are mostly seen as one) is small and cosy. Salvador is rediciously crowded and lasts longer than the average carnival feast. The most popular here are the blocos; street parties with gigantic music trucks, and many people following them through the streets.
People are not really dressed up, but they do paint their bodies with big, white stripes. If you want to be part of the bloco, you can buy a t-shirt and walk in between the two, long ropes that are in between 2 trucks. This gives you some protection from the crowd, because behind the ropes on the side of the road people have to make room for the trucks and can really suppress each other.
And then there’s Rio. Of course Rio de Janeiro is the most know carnival internationally, and attracts over 1 million tourists every year. The parade in the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro lasts about 7 hours. You do need tickets to see the parade but it’s amazing. Floats are bigger than you can imagine decorated with gold, glitter and vibrant colors. Not to mention the scarcely dressed, samba dancing women and huge dancing crowds all dressed alike. This is one for the bucket list and we are definitely trying to get to Rio to experience it.
But first, Salvador. After being in the bus for 2 hours we arrive in one of the party centers of Salvador, Barra. This is one of the biggest and there are also loads of small ones. In the streets they are selling everything: cans of beer for 2 Real, anti theft purses for under your clothing, sunglasses, local fastfood and sweet snacks. Most of it (unfortunately) is full of meat. Don’t assume that a bread filled with cheese is just cheese only… They will even sell this to you as being vegetarian, which is not so nice. Seems the only vegetarian food here is cotton candy and bubblegum.
We get to a huge bloco next to the beach where we are almost run over by the first float, because the volume is extremely high and we are shocked by the size of this float. Not to mention all the people that are surrounding the float. There are people dancing everywhere you look and we pick this up pretty fast and join them. Until our feet hurt! Some Brazilian guy also pinches my ass which makes him feel so guilty afterwards that he decides to get us beers, haha. An honor though that he chooses my ass above one of the super round, big, half naked Brazilian asses here… After a really fun night we take our bus ‘home’.
Off to Rio de Janeiro!
Today is our last day in Salvador because we did manage to get tickets to Rio. On the same flight as our new friend Othmane even. We also managed to get a new CS address, wonderful! Finally everything goes as planned and we even get to celebrate Carnival in 2 of the most popular places in Brazil! Who would have guessed that. Witalo takes us to a beach where we get to swim in huge waves. Back on the beach we are treated with some local specialties. Queijo coalho (melted cheese on a stick) for me and Acarajé (deep fried dough with shrimp) for Riny. The Brazilians seem to enjoy the less healthy food when they’re on the beach. When we get home we cook for Witalo and he makes us deep fried banana’s (so that’s how you use plantain!)
After our dinner and saying goodbye we take an Uber to the airport where we will spend the night. On February 26th at 05:30 pm we will finally fly out. Rio de Janeiro, here we come!