As we approached Santo the storm clouds were gathering! This is where Pele lived and played.
Salvador used to be the capital of Brazil. It has been made a Unesco world heritage site. Not surprisingly it is an architectural wonder.
After walking around near the dock area, which seemed to be a a state of great poverty and decay, we headed up to the main part of the city situated up on the ridge. This was maintained to a much higher standard and was quite spectacular.
It was very edgy. There were armed police and soldiers on every corner.
We wandered off to explore and left the main track. It immediately felt very dangerous.
We glided into the decaying colonial capital of Brazil as the sun began to rise, to a land that once was a glory, but now with much that has been left to rot. Old forts and cathedrals, wildlife and old colonial buildings.
Boobies have a five foot wingspan and are related to the gannets. A number of them were flying around our ship feeding on the flying fish that we were sending up in showers!
We finally tracked everyone down at the beach – a huge long stretch of sand packed with the entire population of Rio Grande. Not quite the carnival we were expecting. It turns out that it was a holiday and everyone heads for the sea!
The fish market was an old colonial building. On the roof and all around there were herons and egrets waiting for the fishermen to gut their catch and throw the scraps out.
We arrived during carnival. We expected the place to be teeming. The streets were empty. All the shops were shut. It was eerie.
We later discovered that everybody had gone to the beach!
We had a last walk around the city and then were leaving in the glow of the evening twilight. It created a surreal glow as with an impressionist painting. Very beautiful. Sugar Mountain silhouetted against glowing clouds.
Brazil feels edgy. There is that mixture of great wealth and huge poverty. The very poor have no got a lot to lose. There is also the polarity between great architecture, the old and the new, and the slums of the favellas. There are the opulant churches which still hold a lot of the poor in their thrall. When life is hard and cheap I guess you have to believe in something. The Catholic church sure did a good job of brainwashing the poor.
The Olympic Games was coming. There was a mad building programme to remove a lot of the eyesores.
Then there is Nature. Even in the city a bit of the rainforest intrudes.
It was not quite my expectation. Rio was battered by wind and rain. Ipanema beach was windspread. We took a cable car and headed up into the mist. All around me was tropical rainforest.
Above us Christ The Redeemer loomed out of the mist. One minute it was gone the next a hazy figure appeared. There was no view over to Sugar Mountain. Everything was enshrouded in fog.
On the way down we had a glimpse of the favellas – the bright coloured slums of Brazil.