Bem-vindo ao Brasil!
Wow, I'm in Brazil!!!
So I'm not a particularly shy person - I did manage to enjoy a reasonably comprehensive tour of the States & Canada by myself - but I've got to confess that getting on a plane and realising I was only getting off in Salvador was one of the scariest things I've done! I'd never been to South America, I can't speak a word of Portuguese and I didn't know anyone in the city! Although I had readily accepted a contract in Brazil, sometime during the 10hr flight I realised the significance of my decision. But, not being one to fret for too long, I told myself it would be OK. Salvador is meant to be a pretty big tourist destination (the 3rd most visited place in Brazil after Rio de Janeiro and Iguassu Falls). Hmmm, now that I'm here, I'm not so convinced... I'd figured that at least the people at the airport would be able to speak some english, but it didn't turn out to be the case... No matter, I just pointed at the name and address of the hotel for the taxi driver and I was on my merry way.
My very first impression of Salvador (obtained on the ride from Airport to the hotel) was that it is beautiful! Lots of surf on amazing white sand beaches which are lined with coconut palms. However as we turned away from the coastal road, we drove through a poor area... It wasn't people living in poverty or anything, but they were definitely poorer and you could tell they wouldn't have the same sort of creature comforts almost all NZers would be accustomed to... I was actually reminded me of India - the coconut palms, the not-so-well-off people, the crazy driving and even the skin colour of the people! (Salvador used to be a slave trade centre, so there are lots of afro-brazilian people here - since then there has been mixing of the races, but the people are generally dark.)
Anyway, these are just my first thoughts on Salvador, rest assured I'll keep you updated and I'll try and get some photos up soon!