Morro de Sao Paulo:
From Recife we caught the overnight bus to Salvador where we caught a 2 hour ferry across to an island just south - Morro de Sao Paulo. This Atlantic ocean island could give some carribean holiday destinations a run for their money - clear blue waters and palm trees, from a distance the island looked like a fan of coconut trees popping out of the ocean. The ferry drops you at the north point of the island, where you make our way down either west or east. The west side bays were more happening and picturesque with little dingies parked in the bays adding a spot of colour to the blue and green canvas. The east side had smaller rock pool kind of bays and was more exclusive. Perfect for a quick dip but all the surfers stuck to the wessside.
If only we had more time dammit!! (3 months is not enough) then I would definitely have devoted a few extra days to relax here...hammock slung over a coconut tree swooping over the quiet waters...ahhh.
But unfortunately we only had 1 night, so we spent the afternoon exploring the island and all the bays, and then signed up for a 7am dive the next morning. We pushed ourselves off from the shore, sunk down 10m or less and saw a whole other world - batfish, octopus, eels, squid, a few tropical fish to add spots of colour...It was amazing! When we came up I could see the shore not more than 150m away!
I spent the rest of the morning lying on the beach like a beached whale while Tim decided he wanted to be a free man and threw his ring into the ocean...something less dramatic than the Titanic! (this is Tim, I didn't throw it, it came off in the wild currents and surf!)
The other interesting point we noticed was how many people in Brazil listen to English secular music but can't speak English. The hostel owners daughter was singing along with Avril Lavigne's hit but she couldn't understand anything of what we were saying to her in English. Funny.
We had EVERY intention to drop our bags at our hostel and then run around the historic centro that evening to get a feel for the impressive nightlife of Salvador. Salvador has the darkest skinned people of brazil due to their African slave descendants (mainly Angolan) and are known for their buzzing Afro-Brazil culture, steeped in religion, drumming music and dancing. What ended up happening was meet and greet drinkies at the poolside in our hostel, a fabulous dinner out along the cobbled streets and then Luci out, lights out!
We had an afternoon flight the next day so we made the most of our morning, woke up at 6am and walked around the centro with limited traffic and crowds, returned for breakfast, packed our bags and made our way to the airport through public transport - this is where I realised Salvador was MUCH bigger than I thought...it took 2 hours in the bus! We rushed over to the check in counters (slightly less panicked than in USA where they scold you like a child for being late and then bankrupt you with extra charges and fees)... Our flight was cancelled.
What. No one emailed us...in typical south american style she simply slid revised boarding passes across the counter for a flight scheduled 4 hours later. 'Sowry' she shrugged and then guided us towards the security check. We decided to waste no time and took a taxi to the nearest beach - Itapua. In our 2 hour tour around the city to get to the airport we had some really great views of the coastline and bays. Of all the major cities we've visited Salvador had some of the better urban beaches.
This time there was no dip in the ocean and running through the airport lounges in cozzies - we returned in a dignified manner with all our clothes on...only sandy feet :)