I woke up this morning and found myself in Brasil.
This was a good thing. After all, I had taken a flight to Salvador de Bahía, and was planning on spending two months here, but it was still nice to wake up and be in the largest country in South America.
My first 24 hours here have been…quiet. I was lucky enough to be picked up at the airport by a friend of a tourist I showed around Lisbon a month ago, who had never met me and had no reason to do me a favour except that people are lovely sometimes.
Luckily, my youth hostel exists, and is extremely nice, although a little quiet: it seems Salvador is only going to catch World Cup fever once the games actually begin, giving me a few weeks to a) find tickets and b) find accommodation when this place throws me out because they are fully booked during the games.
My first day in Brasil was spent negotiating the bus route to town, and purchasing a cheap phone, as I have been advised several times not to carry an expensive smart phone around. (I have also decided to leave my expensive watch in the hostel locker, and look for a plastic pound shop version as soon as I can find a market).
I passed several hours in a nearby shopping centre, browsing World Cup memorabilia which was prevalent.
As far as my replacement phone went, I was torn between the desire to have a cheap phone which nobody would want to steal, and the need to have a camera on it decent enough to take photos for this blog and book to come. I eventually went back to my childhood, ending up with a Nokia 501, featuring a 5MB camera.
Technically, I don’t think I was even allowed to buy the phone, not having any Brazilian ID, but the lady in the electronics shop entered her own details in order for me to buy it. I don’t know what the woman in the Claro phone shop then did in order to actually activate my SIM card, (which again I wasn’t allowed to do as a foreigner), but here is a photo of her in recognition of her sterling work, the first photo taken with my new gadget:
My first thoughts on Salvador, (most of which will merit their own blogs soon, from the traffic to the stickers):
-I don’t mind rain when it’s hot
-My youth hostel has a pool on the roof
-I pay 60centavos/20p per day for unlimited internet access on my phone. This is madness.
-Everyone here seems pretty happy
-The traffic is a mess
-Text messages here are called ‘torpedos’
-You get on the back of buses, and pay before you go through a little turnstile. It’s really cute!
-They have Panini world cup stickers here. and they’re CHEAP!
-Finally: practically NOBODY speaks English here! A dozen requests in a dozen shops in the mall led to shakes of the head and even laughs: spending six months in Portugal before coming here may have been the smartest thing I ever did!
Several of these things could have serious implications on the coming World Cup, (mainly the traffic and the monolingualism, not so much the cheap Panini), but I will deal with them in future blogs.
That’s all for this evening, but before I go, please FOLLOW my blog in the link in the top left corner of the page: that way you will never miss a blog, and I will know someone out there is reading!