Monday, December 14, 2015

sensational BRAZIL

Brazil is sensational.  
Sensations of sun and water and beauty. 
Sensations of people and culture and foods and music.

A water wonderland:3 days in paradise ....  at the Marau Peninsula

A 6+ hour bus ride (that was advertised as only 4) traveling first around the Bay of Salvador from the port, continuing south along the Atlantic coast of Bahia to Camamu where our water wonderland adventures began:
As the comfortable travel coach manouvers and bumps into Camamu, equatorial twilight and darkness comes swiftly at about 5:30 pm.
Mystery mounts as we bundle into the large covered speedboat for the 30 minute high-speed ride across the water to Barre Grande.

Luggage and package transport cart and attendant.
Barre Grande town at night. 
Ilhade Goio: A real beach, not a photoshopped stage set
A long march across the long beach toward snorkeling at the reef. 

What? ... a Buddha Bar, for real?
At Barre Grande, roadways of sand, no pavement.
Water ways for people in schooners, speedboats, or sailing vessels as well as leaves, pods, and seeds.

Schooners under power chug peacefully along, allowing for sunning, relaxation, repast, and cool beverages....

A day trip on this schooner to another island to visit Casaiba where the schooners are hand -built by laborers as they have done for many decades.  

Harmons three: Joyce, Louise, and brother John. 

This is a school bus/boat , collecting the children from remote beachside villages. 

Vibrating green church in Casaiba. 

From the dock in Casaiba, the boat yard is a short seaside walk along the primary 'thoroughfare'.

By schooner we came to this restaurant at Sapinto where we were served fresh fruits, fresh lobsters, bean and rice, and multiple sweets.

From the trough...
.... to the table.  These are truly FRESH lobsters.

One of many refreshing caiporienas

A grove of trees that felt like church.

Bird of Paradise plants in abundance: singles, doubles, and

Back in Salvador: sensations of light and sensations of life.

Love and Concertina Wire 

On a Sunday morning in the vacant business district of Salvador harbor, evidence of a Condomble event from the night before. Condomble blends West African Yoruba traditions with some Roman
Catholic beliefs and adds in rituals somewhat akin to VooDoo.

Vivid colors on the people and the buildings.

Brazilians celebrate sunset at the beach with music and clapping just as the sun goes down. 

Suddenly, a pop-up beachside political protest appeared, they shouted a while, and then they ran away.
Old Town, Salvador 

Friday, December 4, 2015

on the streets of SENEGAL

hot .... in Dakar 

Thick hot air, pungent and unusual odors;  bright swatches of wall colors layered by climate and history; eager, aggressive vendors for trinkets and services;  the elegance and decay of French colonial architecture, stately Senegalese people festively dressed in glowing and flowing garments: the streets of Senegal are sensational!   Capital city Dakar is lovely, dirty, lively, and intimidating.

What? The sign states 'No Horns!"  amidst the cacauphony of
the street markets, where local buses queue for passengers. 

On dirt ground in a Dakar park, afternoon activities of car washing and
barefoot boys playing football among urban litter and
the ubiquitous discarded plastic bags.

Everywhere along the streets there are booths, stalls,
carts, and wagons with goods and produce  for sale. 
At a combination cafe bar and snack shop (which also serves as a community center and a craft sales venue),
a band plays West African rhythms combined with old time Western favorites. 
Walls line the streets of Senegal, both in the city (like this tidy white one),
and in the country, with high unfinished masonry walls.
Behind the walls are the private courtyards, living spaces, and gardens.
The public streets between the walls are often littered, unkempt, and not-so-attractive.
Goree Island 
Dakar across the channel from Goree Island
Out of mosquito fear (of Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunia) and cultural-sensitivity warnings that, as visitors, we must completely cover all skin, several hundred SAS students and faculty made our HOT and OVER-DRESSED way by ferries to Goree Island in the harbor off Dakar.  It was too hot and too humid for too many in our long sleeved and protective clothing.
 Goree Island today is a charming town with a sobering historic slave prison site from which many thousands of slaves departed on the Middle Passage for the new world.

A hot climb down the Goree Island hillside (after a hot climb up, of course!) 

At the town hall, in the heat, people cluster in patches of shade. 

In that bucket on her back,
she will carry water home atop her head. 
No ADA legislation in Senegal makes difficult passage
for those with disabilities. 

Laundry dries on lines from the windows, along sidewalks, and
in the median strips of the streets. 

St. Louis and Touba

Guide Yousef and Louise chat about life in Senegal as we bus
north.  In a small bus on a SAS 3-day trip, 12 assorted personalities
rode hours to learn and experience Senegal. 

In rural Senegal two-wheeled, single-axel "chariots" are the primary mode of moving people and goods.

A chariot full of beauties.

A particularly clean street in St. Louis

Fishing boats beside the bridge over to St. Louis city on the peninsula. 

A history of wall colors

The garden fence by our hotel in St. Louis.

Wall murals for one of the 4 Muslim brotherhoods

In Senegal there are 4 Muslim Brotherhoods which define different sects of Senegalese Islam.
90% of the Senegalese are Muslim while 10% are Christian. 
The Brotherhoods were founded some decades ago by different men who are believed by their respective followers to be reincarnations of The Profit Muhammed.  These four brotherhoods each have a shrine or a mosque where there are large mausoleums of the respective profits and their sons and their grandsons. 

A pet pelican, hard to believe.  Perhaps it goes fishing for the family?
The perfect pace: a clip-clop horse cart ride through the streets of St. Louis,
past the parks, the markets, and the fishing boats.

Louise makes her way down a network of staircases
in the central courtyard of the century-old hotel where Europeans stay.

HOT HOT HOT at the Touba Mosque.
Women visitors are roughly wrapped to be well-covered,
despite long pants and long-sleeve shirts. Yikes. 

The Touba Mosque is both under construction and under renovation,
which has apparently been the case for 4 decades.