The night bus went without any dramas; in fact the most drama occurred was in the toilet at the bus terminal in Recife. Being desperate to drop off a load I made my way to the toilet, only to be confronted with several cubicles without doors or without locks or with see through doors. Eventually I found a suitable throne for me to sit on and do my business only to realise in horror that there was no toilet paper, bum gun or biday. I rushed out the doors to realise the tile taper were all in dispensers outside meaning you had to estimate beforehand how much toilet paper you need. How ridiculous. I returned to my business only to realise my prediction was too short meaning in other trek outside to gain more toilet paper, what an ordeal! But like I said the night bus went without any trouble, I read a few more chapters of Games of Thrones, had a snooze and had a isten to Athlete's El Salvador to get me in the mood for our next destination.
We were greeted by rain when we hit Salvador, the first we had encountered for a number of weeks. The grey and black skies made Salvador look quite the glum place, it also looked like the poorest city we had visited so far, the people of Salvador didn't look well off in their rags, buildings were slum like, pavements were half built and the place just seemed like it needed one big over haul and renovation. We made our way to the hostel though which fortunately for us was in a structurally sound building, the hostel - Hospeda Salvador was ok, one of the things that instantly struck me was the chairs made from recycled plastic bottles, I thought it was pretty genius though my buttocks didn't after being sat on them for a while, our room was a 9 bed dorm made up of three three-tiered bunk beds which for some reason always put me off a hostel, but what it lacked it made up for in a hot shower which Brazil were desperately lacking, our last hot shower was probably a month ago at least. I lapped up the shower enjoying the hot water bursting from the shower and hitting my skin, we got our s*** together and then we went to explore the historic centre of Salvador where we were staying. Salvador was known as the carnival capital of Brazil, and you could tell there were women dressed in old traditional clothes, yellow and green bunting hanging from one side of the street to the other and other decoration around the town. We would be in for a treat as today was Brazil's semi-final vs Germany so if they won there would surely be a crazy atmospheric party afterword's. We still had a bit of time so we explore the historic centre and its steep cobbled slopes and views, it semt like a bigger version of Olinda. Salvador also semt like it had a bit of an edge to it, we were warned this was the place we would most likely get trouble, the high police presence semt to justify everyone's claims. If you ask Earl he will probably give you worse opinion than myself he is generally a tad more paranoid than myself, often hiding his phone down his shorts, I think he just likes the vibration when he gets a message. If someone said not to go somewhere Earl wouldn't really want to go, where I would like to explore and see. It helped the locals would mistake Earl for a Brazilian but I have never saw any trouble in Brazil yet, I think it is very dramatized I mean you can find trouble anywhere you go in the world. For example I looked on BBC news today and there was a story about a man appearing in court charged with the murder of a schoolboy in Devon. Unfortunately the world just has crazy people all over the place. Anyway back to our travels, we still had ample amount of time before kick-off so we decide to go to the area with the famous drum show - Olodum. In fact in that area Michael Jackson was said to have recorded in the house and for the price of two Brazilian real you could have a photo took with a cardboard cut-out of wacko jacko on a balcony. We didn't. Instead we enjoyed the fine offer of three Schin beers for 5 Brazilian real and watched a bit of the drum show. Olodum is perhaps the most famous music group in Bahia. All percussion, carnival music and more, it is such an amazing experience; there is so much soul and energy in their music. It's an excellent choice for anybody who wants to get in touch of the local culture; impossible not to dance and smile when you hear the sound of the drums. Unfortunately we didn't get to experience too much as kick-off was approaching so we headed to Cantina Da Lua, a bar on one of the squares of the old part of town. We got settled and ordered a beer eventually. It took us no fewer than three waitresses to get across that we wanted one large beer and a orange juice, and I thought my Portuguese was improving. The pub was ok, and it would have been much better if not for a guy who looked like a black version of Ho Chi Min who kept popping up on the microphone trying to get the place pumping. He was awful and just annoying and most irritatingly for me he kept blocking my view of the TV. The game got under way and no one expected what happened next. Within thirty minutes the Germans were 5-0 up! I will never forget the image at 4-0 looking around and seeing the whole bar with their head in their hands, they didn't know what happened. Personally I didn't even think Germany were that great they were efficient and clinical, but that helped them most was the implosion of their opposition and in particular their defence. David Luiz went missing trying to be himself, Neymar and Thiago Silva all in one, it was too much for him and he missed his counterpart. The score ended 7-1 to the Germans, the mood was deflating at least in Salvador, and the massive carnival I hoped for in Salvador and at the final was gone. Many people expected riots and I didn't see any or any trouble, the people of Brazil were just in shock and in mourning there was no fireworks in the air or even the bellow of horns we often herd through the night after a Brazil victory. There were still small pockets of people partying but this as mainly women and tourists. It almost felt a bit like a dream. We walked back to the hostel there were obviously some angry and distraught people around as some of the bunting was torn down and also we found a burnt Brazil shirt on the floor. We got some food and then decided on a disco nap before heading back out, unfortunately my disco nap lasted until the next morning. So unfortunately I didn't get to do anymore partying, but one thing partying through the night was the Mozzies, I woke up with no fewer than twenty massive bites, my left leg particularly being caked in the itchy welts.
A breakfast of ham and cheese sarnies was followed by a trip to the bank and supermarket, maybe the smallest supermarket I have ever visited only having one aisle. We only had one more night in Salvador though so it was enough. We made our way back to the hostel where I discovered the reason for Brazil's exit was non-other than Mick Jagger. Jagger had got the nickname of World Cup Angel of Doom in the 2010 World Cup where every team he supported at a gam lost and went out, in similar circumstances hear in Brazil every team he predicted to win on twitter went out, the first game he attended in person was the Brazil vs Germany game. So you can blame the absence of Neymar and Thiago Silva, you can blame Luiz Felipe Scolari's tactics, you can even blame Germany for being unrelenting, but this result was obviously all down to Mick Jagger, World Cup Angel of Doom. I wondered if he would be turning up at that day's semi-final of Argentina vs Holland and hopped he would be supporting the Argies. My team now was the Dutch, I liked their fans and their colours, their manager would be joining United after the tournament and what player would not want to play for a world cup winner? It was also my only bet left in the competition having a cheeky flutter on thee Netherlands to win the thing out right. Our plan was to go to Salvador's fan fest to watch the game, there I could also work on my Fan Fest challenge and hoped to tick off some of my five remaining I was never going to get Brazil after they lost, in truth I was chasing them for a perfect picture after they had won the world cup but there would still be no shortage of Brazil tops around, the Dutch was a similar kettle of fish, I was waiting for the perfect picture of me with a sea of orange tops but time was running out now I had to tick them off, as well as the USA, Portugal and perhaps the hardest of them all South Korea. If I failed because of them I would be haunted by the only two Korean fans I have saw at the tournament walk by me on the opening day of the competition.
So after a healthy lunch of pasta, noodles and some cheap meat we found at the supermarket we headed to the fan fest. We were joined by three people from our hostel Patrick and Martin both German, and a French dude called Benjamin. The fan fest was just as good as the others and in another unique setting, this one had a lighthouse opposite the screen and the shore line making for a good view and standpoint to watch the game. They also had a zip wire going from one end of the fan fest to another. Unfortunately I saw no Koreans there but I did manage to tick one more team off my list, it was the Dutch, It wasn't the perfect picture I had hoped for but I didn't want to take the risk they could get knocked out today and if they got to the final I could always get a better one. It was a good job I did get one as they were knocked out of the competition by Argentina after a stale zero zero draw. We lost the guys from the hostel but were reunited with Rory and his Spanish mate, we also made two friends a half German / half Danish girl and a Dutch girl called Kim who was sobbing uncontrollably at full time. I tried to give her all the football clichés like it's only a game and there is always next time knowing full well that if someone had said the likes of that to me I would have lost my head. They decided to accompany us to a bar called Caranguejo de Sergipe, until Kim had one to many Caphrinas drowning her sorrows and she had to be escorted home by a friend. In truth she had gone a bit crazy so it wasn't the end of the world to see her go and it was good to catch up with Rory again.
The next day it was time to leave Salvador, only this time I was a bit weary, it was the most nervous bus I booked. On the paperwork it claimed the bus from Salvador to Rio would take only three hours, where a google maps guide shows it takes in the region of 27 hours. I hoped it was just a glitch in the system where they didn't pick up the time was after the following day. But we would see, we would either be stranded some random Rio in three hours' time or actually made it to Rio the day after. So until next time stay safe and take care.