Every time I’m in Salvador I have to take a day to go to Rio Vermelho, a chic bohemian neighborhood, a ten minute bus ride from my neighborhood. Trendy restaurants, acarajé stands, a Bel Borba pop art dog sculpture mixed with old Português buildings. It’s a scene at night especially when the teeny, tiny Casa de Mae is open with a live band. People don’t sit and listen here. They dance. They sing along. They invite you to dance and sing along too.
But I mostly go to Rio Vermelho to see the old fishing boats and shacks that maintain the true spirit of this stretch of sand. Every February the neighborhood celebrates Festival of Yemanja. It’s a honoring of the goddess Yemanja who protects the fishermen and inhabits the sea. Remember, these were originally fishing towns. Highly decorated baskets of mirrors, perfume, flowers are loaded onto boats where men row the boats out into the ocean and toss the gifts into the sea. It is a huge deal.
So I walk the beira de mar and look out into history. This thread of time, tradition and beliefs still unspooling today.