Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back to Bahia

Last week was my long-awaited return to the area where I served as a missionary. The trip was amazing and reminded me how much I truly love Bahia.

I spent my first day in Salvador visiting friends and members I taught. Unfortunately, I do not feel particularly comfortable walking around Salvador anymore (it is not the most tourist friendly city) so while it was good to see old faces, I was eager to move on to my next destination.

I caught an overnight bus that evening to Vitória da Conquista and spent 4 days at the Guerra's house, good friends of mine and a family I greatly admire. It was a very relaxing atmosphere and I spent most of the time visiting with them and playing with the kids. We also hosted a barbecue as a means of me catching up with everyone in the Morada Real ward (my last area) which was very successful.

After Conquista, I took a bus to Itacaré where Dan met up with me. I could go on forever about Itacaré, but I will just say that I was completely enchanted by the place. It is a very small beach town, about 8,000 inhabitants, nestled on the southern coast of Bahia where the Contas river meets the ocean. It was once the location of many cacau plantations, but it wasn't until 10 years ago that the first paved road to the city was completed. This allowed the city to remain quite untouched from the outside world and much of the natural forest remains intact.

We spent most of our time there enjoying the beautiful beaches and hanging with fellow hostel members. It was very interesting to get to know many of the people and hear about their history and other adventures they had throughout the world.

While in Itacaré we also did an awesome day trip to Taipú de Fora which is basically only accessible by Land Rover. In some respects, I really liked the fact that the region lacks infrastructure like paved roads b/c it makes for much more adventure. The attraction at Taipú de Fora is the natural swimming pools caused by the coral reefs just off the shore.

All the beaches were gorgeous, the water was perfect, and the city was really chill. It is no wonder that many travelers I talked with said they had been in town for quite sometime b/c they just did not want to leave.

Salvador, Bahia

Churrasco in Conquista

Guerra Family, excellent hosts

Resende Beach, Itacaré, Bahia

Costa Beach, Itacaré, Bahia

Our balcony at the hostel

They pulled these out of the river

Boarding the ferry for our trek to Taipú

Taipú de Fora

Returning to Itacaré, the scenic route

Hammocks are part of the seating at this roadside snack shop!

Our guide was a stud

My hostel and the dog that followed us all around town

Monday, November 2, 2009

What Be Happenin'

Life continues to be sweet. This second module is keeping me slightly more busy in terms of schoolwork and I also have projects for Empresa Junior on my slate. That being said, my motto for my stay in Brasil "Work hard and play harder" is still in full swing.

Today is a holiday and some friends came up to São Paulo for the weekend so we could party. Hooray for living in a Catholic-influenced society...lots of holidays in the name of religion!

HUGE caterpillar. I wonder what kinda butterfly it turns into...

We decided to rock it up for Halloween.

The Ninja Cupcakes, minus the lovely Thais.

I guess you know you hit it right when several people at the party ask to have a picture with you.

Just another fun-filled day at Vila Lobos park with the regular posse.