Friday, November 30, 2007

Art Work in Salvador, Brazil

Art Work in Salvador, Brazil, originally uploaded by spiggot123.

Typical of the artwork in Salvador, Brazil - bright, bold, rich colors, and hard shapes and lines. I think I like see these little paintings as one collective piece than 24 individual pieces.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Greetings from Brazil

Greetings from Brazil, originally uploaded by spiggot123.

Angel and I were hanging out on the beach, when all of a sudden I realized that I was in a perfect postcard setting. Honestly, it felt kind of freaky to be in one of those pictures that you only see in the picture frames of department stores.

But add a few words, "Greetings from Brazil" and *presto* instant Greeting Postcard. If you want a copy to send as a real postcard, e-mail me.

Note: This was taken on the beach of Costa do Sauipe at noon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Angel's Silhouette

Angel at Masseuse, originally uploaded by spiggot123.

Angel was waiting to get her massage, and I caught her in a nice silhouette shot, which contrasted nicely with the bright sunny beach in the background.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Big Poppa with a Giant Can of Skol

I just think it's funny that big poppa (big blue on the right) is chillin' by the giant beer can. I wonder how many cases of Skol he puts away in a given week...

Skol is cheap beer that is still pretty delicious. It's the same price at Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR), but 10x better! I wish all beer could be like that...

Skol is also the official beer of many large events (i.e. Sauipe Fest)

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Finale

Day 7 - Friday

3:00am - I think I'm going crazy. I keep hearing bass thumping throughout the night while I'm sleeping.

4:00am - *Thump* *Thump* *Thump* *Thump* *Thump* It's like there is a constant rave going on outside. Am I dreaming? Where are my glow sticks?

4:30am - *Thump* *Thump* *Thump* *Thump* *Thump* It's 4:30am at Costa do Sauipe. I must be dreaming.

4:40am - I wake Angel up to watch the sunset. I still hear faint sounds of bass.
Brian: Angel do you hear that?
Angel: Hear what?
Brian: That thumping bass sound. It was going on throughout the whole night
(stand on the beach in silence)
Angel: (Grumpily) What are you talking about? I don't hear a thing.
Brian: It just went away...
(5 minutes later)
Brian: Are you serious??? You don't hear that?
Angel: Brian...there's nothing there. Shut up, and let me watch the sunrise in peace. I'm going back to sleep.

5:05am: *Thump* *Thump* *Thump* *Thump* *Thump* I walk towards the area for Sauipe Fest. The thumps are getting louder. Bigger. Faster. Stronger. I hear cheers. Then it stops.

5:15am: Apparently the concert that we were at earlier in the night JUST ended. I knew Brazilians were crazy with their party, but this is ridiculous. And now the walk of shame begins...

9:30am: I wake up and get my last breakfast on this Brazil trip. I walk into the restaurant and the same people from the walk of shame in the restaurant. I got tired just looking at them. I'm getting old.

Capoiera Class, Massage, and Beach activity. This is how we spent our last day in Brazil. We spent our last day, hanging out on the beach and just relaxed. Watched the sunset. Did some major talking. And took some nice pictures.

Below are: 1) A lady carrying and trying to sell way too much stuff on the beach. 2) Our capoiera teachers (including that freakishly strong dude). 3) Freakishly strong dude transformed into a human bridge. 4) Yeah...He's a monster. 5 - 7) Us and the beach

Fast forward to 3:00am, we're at the airport in Salvador onboard our flight back to NY. Goodbye Costa do Sauipe. Goodbye Salvador. Goodbye Brazil. Thank you for the memories, the new friends, and the laughter.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dear Diary...JACKPOT!

Giant Skol Beer Can

Day 6 - Thursday

There were an abnormal amount of people checking into Costa do Sauipe. I saw luggage everywhere. Nevertheless we did our morning thing - capoiera class and surfing class in the morning. One really nice thing about the package that we got is that the horse back riding (Day Two), visit to Praia de Forte (Day Three), and green fees are all included! So after class, I went to play golf. What a great experience! There were literally 8 people on the entire course. In NY, the golf courses are always packed with people and it sometimes creates a stressful experience if people want to play through or rush you. What a world of difference this made. Sure I still lost a bunch of balls, but it was definitely more fun than normal. Also, for some reason, Costa do Sauipe has tons of sand. Needless to say, sand traps all over the place.

Golf Course at Costa do Sauipe
I actually had to hit it over a water hazard...=D

After golf, I went to the pro shop and bar to grab a drink and meet the older versions of my friends and I. I was in Brazil, so English is rarely spoken by the locals. As I was waiting for my drink, I hear them, to my delight, speaking in English. It was 4 guys - Dutch guy, a French guy, a Canadian guy, and a guy from California. I swear this isn't a set up to a bad joke. But really, it's just 4 older guys who retired, live in Brazil for a few months out of the year for the last 10 - 20 years, and just sit around and play golf with the boys; What a life! Apparently, Brazil is a hot spot for retirement because everything is so cheap - housing, food, golf. Having beautiful brazilian babies that are always ready to party ain't bad either. haha... I head back to the Marriot, walk into the lobby, and a single thought walked into my head...
Dear Diary,


The lobby was full of hot girls! haha...What was going on? The answer...

Sauipe Fest

As luck would have it we booked our trip at the same time of a giant annual music festival. People from all over Brazil come through and hang out at the resort to attend this 3-day music festival. The first night was asha music, 2nd night reggae, and I don't know the 3rd night. I wanted to come to Brazil this week because I wanted to see how Brasilians celebrate Halloween. I found out that they don't, by the way. But who would have thought...Hot girls and Sauipe Fest! But how lucky are we??? Literally...JACKPOT! We went to dinner and I needed an after dinner snack. So naturally, I bought a bag of cheetohs and a can of Skol (that's Brasilian beer, not chewing tobacco). I learned something new that night, the cheetohs in Brasil taste like FEET! Don't eat them...'re not seeing double. It's just 2 pictures of me being an idiot.

Anyway, after all of that, we went to the concert and saw an Axé (pronounced Asha) band performed. Taken from wikipedia:

Axé music is a popular music genre originated in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil in the late 1970s...

The concert really started at midnight...and ended at 5am!!! We only stayed till 1:45am. Here are some pictures and videos of our night and the concert.

Sauipe Fest - Fat Kid Dancing

I kind of felt bad for him. He was just a sleezy looking fat kid carrying a backpack full of water (beer, vodka, who knows...). Either way it was lame. There was a straw attached to the bag. So it was like a sissy version of a football beer helmet. And for whatever reason, he decided to jiggle and get jiggy with it...good way to end the night!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pelourinho, Salvador, Brazil

Pelourinho, Salvador, Brazil, originally uploaded by spiggot123.

It almost looks fake like a painting. What a beautiful little town. Makes me want to sing, "O little town of Bethlehem."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fallen Cross in Salvador

Fallen cross in Salvador, originally uploaded by spiggot123.

Something about it really resonates within me. The description near it said that it was a fallen cross, but that it also was a symbol of the fallen body of Christ. And the supporting beam is the patron carrying Him.

Prior to this sculpture, resided a church in its place. As the city of Salvador continued to develop, the church was moved out. However, in recognition of the church's importance, they built a this sculpture in memory of the church.

Isn't it neat how a few blocks can come to mean/symbolize so much in this world?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Making time for your friends

Day 5 - Wednesday

After an exhausting day and night of touring, drinking, and dancing, we were definitely ready to kick back on the beach and do some relaxing. We headed down to the beach to take Capoeira classes. Capoeira is a Brazilian dance/martial art. A bunch of bboy moves came from this dance.

After class, we just decided to go off separately and do our own thing. We kind of just needed some time alone, in order to really enjoy the place through our own eyes. But funny enough, we actually ended up doing the same exact thing; We both went out for a jog on the beach, enjoyed the sun, got sunburned, and just sat around doing nothing...all separately.

But here's the best part:

6pm - We met at the room. We look at each other. We looked like lobsters from the sun. Angel turns on the TV. We both lay in bed in front of the TV, and we don't move for the next 6 hours. We laid there, talked, and just watched TV with each other. I'm not sure if it's because we were tired from the sun, or if it's that we really just wanted to do nothing. But honestly...that was one of the best nights of the trip.

I've traveled a lot this year - Spain, Italy, Dominican Republic, US, and now Brazil. But sometimes vacation with friends is a little more than just seeing the world and trying new things together. Sometimes, all it is, is a chance to make time for old friends.

At hour 3 of watching the Tudors, 11pm (at a commercial break, of course), we both turned to each other, smiled, and giggled. We're in Brazil. We've been laying in bed all night. Didn't even eat dinner. And watched TV. And I think it was at that moment that I realized why we became friends in the first place.

Angel and I at Costa do Sauipe, originally uploaded by spiggot123.

Graffiti in Salvador

Graffiti in Salvador, originally uploaded by spiggot123.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. I took this picture out of a moving bus while we were driving through Salvador.

One of my flickr buddies, *tathei*, put it best when he wrote:

great photos are by chances, not by techniques - just my thought...
(´∀`)♪ ..................(yes...that's a face)

But it's true; I took most of these photos using a point and shoot digital camera. No tricks. I just pointed and shot randomly. See below for more on the city of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.

And be sure to look at the posts with photos of the church and the cross (click on the categories on the right side of the page). They came out pretty nice.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Settled and ready to take on the Real Brazil

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Day Four - Tuesday

Our legs. Brian on the left. Angel on the right. Together, we walk.

After 3 days of plane transfers, clock adjustments, and confusion we were finally here. Well ok, I know...I know we were already here 2 days ago. But what I mean is that we're finally HERE - in a place where we can finally enjoy our trip without random hiccups. It was now OUR vacation. Every trip, even returning home, has that period of unease, where you need to take a little while to just get into the swing of things. And by Tuesday morning 8am, we were there!

We scheduled a city trip to Salvador - Brazil's 3rd largest city. It's a little under 200 KM to Salvador from Costa do Sauipe. As you can imagine a long bus ride - about 2 hrs. Fortunately, we got to see a small part of the real Bahia outside of the resort and Salvador, albeit from a moving bus window. Here are a few pictures.

Not a wealthy area by any means; We mostly saw 1-story stone homes set upon sloped hills of dry plots of dirt that were incapable of any agriculture - I'm guessing that building on hill slopes helps with air circulation for the homes. The walls had holes that served as windows without any separation from the outdoor elements - bugs, run, dust. None of the homes had any air conditioning. I wonder what the inside of it looked like...

2 hours later, we arrive at our first stop - The lighthouse at the San Antonio Fort of the Bahian Nautical Museum. When the Portuguese took over, they expelled many of the former Dutch rulers at this point.

Dramatic Shot of Angel at the Lighthouse (left). Apparently Brazilians like their share of chicken and rice too; they have 260 Habib's in Brazil (right).

Kaiser beer truck (left) and a really big motorcycle with three wheels (right).

The locals call pay phones ears because they kind of look like them. Angel said the booth smelled like urine. Somethings are the same where ever you go...

We also stopped over at Pelhourino Square and the Market Modello. Pelhourino is one of the more traditional parts of Salvador, while the Market Modello is a flee market where buyers can bargain with sellers that sell things ranging from jewelry, table cloths, to general art work. At the Market Medello, definitely bargain for everything. It's expected and you will definitely be a sucker if you pay full price. It's similar to Lady Street in Mongkok, Hong Kong. And besides, bargaining is part of the fun of any flee market...How low can you go?

But what kind of an outing would be complete without a few funny stories and characters along the way? Angel and I met a German couple, a couple from Spain, and a couple from Argentina. The German couple, Marc (left) and Bianca hailed from Cologne, Germany. Marc must have been one of the funniest guys I met on the trip. Just to give you an idea, he's a large round guy at 5'9'' weighing in at 235lbs, with some professional fighting experience. As menacing as this sounds, he reminds you more of Baby Huey than a stone cold killer. When the street merchants kept harassing him to buy stuff, he would make up stories and say that he was from Moscow, Russia. He would come up to me after in excitement, "Did you know that street merchants are afraid of Russians?" He may be coming to New York next year to visit. I will be looking forward to that.

The other couples, Cristian and Dolors (Dolores), and Omar and Vanessa were great. Here is our dynamic: The Germans and us only spoke English. Dolors spoke English and Spanish. Cristian only spoke Spanish. Omar and Vanessa spoke Spanish and Portuguese. Soooo...when the Tour Guide spoke, it would be in Portuguese. And so the chain of communications would go on as follows: Tour Guide to Omar and Vanessa in Portuguese, to Dolors and Cristian in Spanish, to Marc, Bianca, Angel, and I in broken English. But take 4 duos and 4 different languages, and you get one funny day. Later at night after dinner, we met up at the resorts in Costa do Sauipe and went to a tropical party. Lots of fun. Marc was preparing to get smashed! So earlier in Salvador, Marc purchased some voodoo magic hangover liquid drug in yellow vials. He took one dose of the yellow stuff and followed it up with this

Marc raided the mini-bar and took a little bottle of vodka.

After a few rounds, the conversation started flowing. The Argentinians would tell a funny story in Spanish, and Marc would point to Dolors and yell in German form, "Translation!" But on the flip side, Mac would be telling a funny story in English and the Argentinians would point to Dolors and say, "Como?" hahaha...I believe the Pilgrams had this problem once. Eventually they settled it with some turkey and corn. Us? We settled it with a couple shots of Vodka, a few White Russians (the drink), and some dancing.

1 trip to Salvador - R$240
Several Cocktails - Free (all inclusive)
4 couples from 4 countries being lost in translation...Priceless.