Salvador/Pelourinho Carnival night
11 February-2002: We sleep till about noon and then decide to explore our neighbourhood called Barra a bit. A hundred meters or so from our Pousada there are two Italian restaurants next to each other. We had grilled Frango (chicken) with chips, rice and vegetables. Beggars pestered us now and then. We'd left our rice almost untouched, it was hardly spiced and the chips were enough anyway. One small black girl of maybe 14 came and asked if she could have our rice, I nodded. To my surprise, she picked up the whole platter and made to take off with it along with two male friends of hers. The restaurant owner was quicker than she was to stop it all and shoo her away. Sometime later, a small boy of perhaps 8 asked me if he could have the rice, and then just sat down at our table along with a friend of his and the two of them proceeded to devour it all, pouring oil and salt over the rice to spice it up a bit. They weren't driven away by the waiter.
We then wandered to the beach nearby, which was amazingly crammed with thousands of locals. The Santa Maria Fort from where the Dutch were driven away in the 1620's is just at the beach. We walked on to the lighthouse, where several lovers were taking advantage of it's seaward side. The lawn in front of it was covered with locals waiting for the Carnival Trios to start, with one just warming up. We had some cokes and they played for quite a while till they set off. TV cameras were everywhere on the balconies of buildings overlooking the lighthouse and several hovering helicopters had cameramen hanging precariously out of them as well. Members of a Carnival group called Filhos de Gandhy (children of Gandhi) were everywhere sporting their white-and-blue Mother Teresa robes and beads, their heads covered with a white towel. I reckon they must have been pretty hot in their garb!
We returned back to our Pousada to sleep and I was awakened saying that Eusinio was to fetch us in 20 minutes. I quickly showered and donned long pants and tennis shoes and we went down to wait for them. Soon enough they were there in their car with 4 kids and their nanny! We were a total of 8 persons in that car, with one of the girls in front and 5 of us in the back.
We drove to the old town of Salvador called Pelourinho. We set off to explore it on foot and immediately saw a Carnival troupe, fully coated with silver paint, playing on foot. At the south of Largo de Pelourinho we found a cafe with some seats and settled down for some beer. A number of Carnival groups passed by but none were as good as that first group which passed us again sometime later.
Eusinio pulled us along to a large
courtyard with a stage ready for some event to occur and we ate some
snacks and had some drinks there. We got some popcorn. Finally groups
playing just one song each came on stage, but they were not to the liking
of our hosts, so we continued on. After deflecting some thoughts of having
a real dinner, Eusinio dropped us back at our pousada (he'd dropped the
kids back some earlier). After getting some water, we decided we were
hungry and shared a plate of chips at the cafe of our pousada. The
night was quiet enough once again.