I’ve been travelling through Brazil for the last couple of weeks. Flying into Rio, I instantly fell in love with a country and people who have for a long time captivated my imagination. For me, there has always been something mystical about Brazil, with its beaches, palm trees, samba and love of the thong!
I quickly learnt that while all these elements do exist in Brazil, there is far more to this beautiful country. I have travelled to a lot of places in my 32 years on this planet and I can hand on heart say that Brazil is one of my favourites. The place was already ranking well, and then I flew into Salvador in the state of Bahia, where it skyrocketed towards the top of my list.
Before arriving, I was warned that the north had more poverty, more chance of getting sick due to food and would almost certainly see me get ripped off in some way. Being the wary person I am, I took this advice onboard and boarded my plane with mild apprehension.
A few hours later, I was walking through the streets of Salvador with a smile on my face, Caipirinha in hand, to the beat of drums. The old colonial-style buildings, while on the most part are close to ruin, are as colourful as the people who inhabit them. The food is spicy (something I love!) with its African influence. The streets are cobbled. People stop to ask me questions, only to smile widely at my inability to answer back.
I’ve been in Bahia for close to a week and now find myself in the seaside town of Itacare. This place is the Brazil I imagined as a kid growing up. The beaches have waves and palm trees laden with coconuts. The streets seem alive with people effortlessly flowing through them on their way to eat Moqueca, top up on Caipirinhas or to simply wander without any real purpose. I can assure you, these are things that I excel at best.
The days are hot but there is always respite in the form of Acai, beer or ice cold coconuts. The nights are slightly cooler but this is when Bahia comes to life. The rhythmical, mesmerising beat of drums begins somewhere around sunset and continues well after I fall asleep.
Life outside of Brazil is something I am not prepared to contemplate just quite yet, but my time here grows shorter. One thing is for certain, I will be back!