Destination Salvador, capital of the state of Bahia.
One day at beach health resort Olivença, enjoying the warm wintersun.
Sunday July 22, 9 am.
The quiet and restive night had benefited all of us. The couple already had offered themselves to prepare our breakfast and fresh coffee. I still felt a bit tired because of the travel, and because of the diversity and amount of impressions that I had absorbed during the travel. I gulped a considerable volume of the fresh and rather strong coffee, though this extra volume would not have an additional reawakening effect to me. We had no idea what day it was, none of us was aware that it already was Sunday, because every day is a holiday for us now. The sun shone abundantly though the latches that already had been opened by the couple. We took our time for our showers, we collected our luggage. We left the house in small groups, and we walked on the unpaved road, over the meadow to the beach. The others had spent their night inside the bus or in their tents. And even when there was another empty house available, they preferred to save six reais and sleep in a much less comfortable position inside the bus. A student’s life is already tough and really expensive…
We left our luggage in the cargo compartment of the bus and returned to the beach. The group that spent the night in or next to the bus already sat there; lazy in the plastic chairs, some of them already enjoying the cold beers, at 10 am. Carol, Igor, Leo and I decided to walk around and went to see a reef that has become uncovered by seawater because of the tide. In the small puddles inside this reef we observed marine life. Tiny fishes, crabs of different sizes, sea anemones that were alive and moving their tentacles, little mussels. We were amazed to see this living scene, I made my pictures. From time to time they shouted my name when one of us observed something peculiar in the puddles. Quickly as possible, trying to avoid hurting my bare feet to the sharp edges of the reef rocks, I went to the sites to make pictures of the newly discovered marine life. Also Carol enjoyed this miniature sea aquarium very much. For her it was enjoyable when I put a small shellfish between her tanned toes and pictured it. A natural ruler, to show the dimensions of this small shellfish.
About one hour later we had seen enough of this marine life and we decided to join the others to become lazy and enjoy the sun, the cold beers and fresh caipirinhas. Carol had selected a bare and smooth rock to lie down on and she invited me to join her. We enjoyed the wintry sunrays that were strong enough to give my white skin some tan. To avoid eventual burning of my skin, I used a sun block of factor 30. But I suppose that even factor 20 should have been sufficient enough to provide the necessary protection, since my white skin is becoming more adapted to the tropical climate. We heard that the people around us were starting to make some jokes about me and Carol. Carol e o holandês. We ignored these jokes, let them talk, let them joke. This kind of jokes is very common in the Brazilian way of life.
Morning became afternoon, we enjoyed the serenity and peace on this beach. Only a few other seaside visitors were on this tiny beach. Not surprising, when you consider the larger and more popular beach resort Ilhéus within a Brazilian stone’s throw of this beach in Olivença. It was initially planned to move the bus to Ilhéus today, but Brazilian plans are as always subject to drastic and sudden changes. That would become very clear to me during my stay in Salvador. As a result, this initial plan changed too, it was decided to spend more time on this beach, and to travel to Ilhéus at night.
One may find only a very small amount of information on internet about Olivença, a small beach resort about 19 km south from the more popular Ilhéus. Despite the beautiful beaches and the reputation as a favorite windsurfing resort. In the center of Olivença one may find ‘Balneário’, a public swimming bath complex that has been constructed around a well that is rich in minerals with a wholesome effect. This curative water originates from the Tororomba River that runs though the village. The wholesome effects of this water seem somewhat exaggerated, but the complex – with bars and restaurants and an artificial waterfall – provides a good opportunity to spend your day. Olivença is the only beach health resort on the Southern American subcontinent. The coastal area between Ilhéus and Olivença is truly worth seeing, and one may erect his or her tent on virtually every place along the coastal road. Because Olivença is not very well-known, its beaches are not crowded with tourists. Tourists that know Olivença eagerly return here to meet the quietness and peace.
We skipped the normal lunch time of the hot meals, at midday. We had a late breakfast and we were too lazy to get up and find a restaurant. But we were not starving during the day. Once and a while beach vendor walked around with their offerings. One of them was selling a delicacy I already was familiar with in Holland: mussels. As in Holland, these mussels were cooked in their shells. The light yellow and salmon colored little mussels were served with a dressing of vinegar, onion, tomato and paprika. You also could add some pimenta (liquid pepper), though I already was aware of this red hot danger: your mouth and throat will be set on fire, your stomach will be restless for some time. Leave it on the table! Even without the pimenta this mussel was really delicious! The others were amazed that I was familiar with eating mussels, and even more amazed that it is rather easy to obtain mussels in Holland, fresh from the Dutch sea.
Later in the afternoon our stomachs were demanding for more food; therefore, it was decided to eat a fish dish in the local restaurant: a fish dish, with dourada or gilthead, complete with rice, beans, salad and French fries. Just as we were about to eat this appetizing dish, we suddenly heard the impatient honks of the bus horn. Seemingly, the plans had changed again. Indeed, it had been decided instantly to travel at once, not to nearby Ilhéus, but directly to Salvador, more than five hours away by bus. How funny, these changes… For this we ignored the honks and continued to consume this absolutely delicious fish dish…
By Dr. Adriano Antoine Robbesom
Original text in Dutch, translation with help of Google Translator