Carnaval is over and the streets of Salvador are returning to some normalcy. Buses, mail and stores seem to be back their regular schedules. There seem to be a few bands still playing here and there in the historical center as if they see no reason to stop just because it´s Wednesday. I met up with Sean for dinner of shrimp moqueca, a Salvadorean dish that my Brazilian friend Nilton had made for us once at his party in SF. It was so good, but not as good as Nilton´s of course;) We headed down to Barra for a few drinks and it was amazing to see the ocean side street with no giant blocos of people dancing and singing, just cars and the like. Sean and I discovered that we had both worked at the same company at the same time and chatted about SF politics and news. I had a great time and it also helped me to avoid going out for dinner with my housemates, 2 of whom were driving me positively mental. Sean gave me tons of advice on some CDs to buy. With all the help from him, Winks and Nilton, my Brazilian travels are a breeze. On my last Salvadorean day I ran around buying presents after pitching in on the big house cleanup. By the time I returned, the owners were back and Dee, Bob and I decided just to head early to the bus station to get out of their hair.
Our overnight bus was pretty good quality but thank heavens Dee reminded me to pull some warm clothes out of my bag for the trip because the air-conditioning was set on sub-freezing temperatures. We got off the bus in a city called Joao Pessoa where we switched to another bus to Goaininha and then hopped on a cheap minivan called a combi for the 45 minute ride to Praia de Pipa (Pipa Beach). We were knackered but after finding a hotel near the beach, not a cheap hotel, we headed down the street for some well deserved lunch at a small shop where they serve and cheap lunch of rice, beans and a lovely steak for only $3. After that I pretty much just headed back to the hotel and jumped into one of the hammocks on the upstairs balcony to finish off the day. I always forget how much a long bus ride can take out of you. I was up early the next day to check out the beach. The weather here is glorious. It´s hot but there is a wonderful breeze coming off the water almost all day long and the nights are lovely and cool. My room is a bit bizarre though. It has a all the bathroom type things at the end of the room in a raised platform as opposed to having a separate bathroom. All this for the bargain price of $20 a night! Don´t ask me how but I leaned on the sink and it came crashing down splintering into a million pieces all over the floor and one piece even managed to find its way into my foot. I told the front desk guy and while I was expecting him to me annoyed he just came up to my room and cleaned the whole mess up in no time flat. I thought he had gone back downstairs but he came back about 3 minutes later with a new sink which he installed right there and then. Maybe this happens a lot here.
Dee and Bob moved to the camping grounds about a kilometer away to save money but it seems that I actually got a pretty good price on my little room based on the little comparison shopping we did. We met up in the afternoon to go down to the beach nearest to my hotel until they kicked us out of the beach chairs at 4:30pm because they were closing up. Go figure. I found a wonderful soup place down the road for dinner and then got cleaned up to meet Dee and Bob to check out the Saturday party scene. We got a seat outside of ´place the be´ according to LP and watched as the crowd grew and grew over as the night went on. People were just hanging out in the street in between our bar and another one, drinking and chatting and listening to the music. After the vibrancy of Carnaval it was pretty comical to us but we loved it. Chilling out is exactly what we´re looking for now. Our early mornig plans the next day were scaled back somewhat. This place is easy to lose yourself in as there isn´t much to do but the atmosphere is one of complete relaxation. We decided to check out the beach near Bob and Dee´s campground where the water was rolling some pretty big waves. We spent a few hours reading our books and watching all of surfers out trying their luck. This whole nothingness thing is really growing on me. I took Dee and Bob to my soup place and they were quite impressed. We headed back to my hotel to watch the Academy Awards on the TV in the reception but it started a hour after we thought it would and when it finally came on they kept talking over all the actors to translate their words and skipped over half of the categories. We, well I, had so looked forward to it. Just gonna have to check everything out on the Internet like I end up doing every year.
Didn´t get much sleep but we all agreed to get up early to check out Dolphin Cove Beach. We asked people what time the dolphins usually showed up and ended up with a list of almost every hour of the day. Dee and Bob arrived about 30 minutes after me but it was easy to find them as we were some of the only people on the beach at that time. I handed them their ham and cheese sandwiches that I had nicked for them from my hotel´s breakfast buffet as we settled in to a nice shady spot to hang out and wait. At about 1:30pm Bob shot up saying he´d seen something. I had been getting ready for my afternoon nap but we all jumped up and ran in to the water to swim to where he was pointing. Other people were pointing as well but for about 5 minutes we couldn´t see anything. Then, all of a sudden, we saw one jump in the air and do a back flip before swimming off again. We spotted them a few more times before we had get out of the water to rest our weary legs. I was so nervous approaching our umbrella and chairs because we´d just left all of our things out in the open while we were in the water but thankfully this is not Rio or Salvador or any other big city type of place. It is so nice not to constantly have to be watching your bag or pocket every second. I love it here and now I can (sort of) say I´ve swum with dolphins. What a rush!