Thursday, February 3, 2011

Salvador, Brazil - Dark Town

Under a leaden canopy Salvador lies still and sinister. In the distance myriads of churches become visible against the skyline. Perhaps a nice town to stretch the legs in some, I catch myself musing.

Perhaps in some other life. In this one, there’s no such thing as a day off.

“Welcome to Salvador!” cheers the pilot when he’s safe and well on board. “You want woman, woman? We have woman all kind. Big woman. Small woman. We have.”

Salvador, it appears has been a hub of depravity for centuries and it’s somewhat of a local objective to keep the predicate earned and obvious. But other than in, say, Skagway, Alaska, here tourists are actually warned. “Stay on the right side of the road,” advises the agent helpfully. “If you go on the left side, you might get stabbed and robbed or mugged.”
“Does that happen often?” we ask in arrested amusement.
“Hardly!” insists the man. “Last month only six or five times, maybe four.”
“Only little bit. Not so much.

We decide to stay on board. Too bad though. It appears that this town has a particular persistent African influence on account of the many slaves that were moved through here. Not that I’m that wild about African influences (very much voodoo, says the agent) but any kind of foreign force usually makes for fun clues hidden in art and architecture, often put there by the labor force without the funding body’s knowledge, let alone consent.

It’s rumored that in Salvador there’s a church built by black people; their own place of worship as they weren’t allowed to come into white churches. It’s called Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosario dos Pretos (Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks) and apparently is filled with statues and images of all black saints.

I would have gladly braved the left side of the road to see that church.

Arrival Salvador, Brazil
Salvador, Brazil on a rainy day
Salvador - Churches in all directions
Salvador - churches near the port
Bright seascape at departure Salvador

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