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19 July 2024
Alan Morris in Salvador, Brazil.

Today the Costa Favolosa docked in Salvador & I went on a very short & poor tour of the area, the guide was the worst guide I have ever had anywhere in the world.


Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.

Today we arrived in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. I had booked an escorted coach tour of Salvador to show me around the city. I met Gail in the Atrium bar for a coffee before we departed the ship & we went on our tour. As we docked there was a band & dancers set up on the dockside to greet us as we arrived. Once again although this seems quite nice & interesting it caused a bottleneck & everyone trying to get off the ship was held up by people watching the entertainment.

As I went to climb aboard the coach the guide stopped me & told me that there were only four English speakers onboard the coach & that we should sit in the front rows of the coach so that he could speak to us separately in English as the rest of the tour were German. He said he would speak to the rest of the coach on the tannoy & then to us in English without it as he would be next to us. This seemed okay & I was quite happy with this arrangement. I was soon joined by Gail who was told the same thing.

As we sat on the coach another man sat next to us in the front row. He was from Belgium but lived in Spain, as it turned out he lived about 6 miles away from Los Alcazares where I live. He had a video camera set up on a tripod & told us he would be videoing everywhere we went. He did but unfortunately, our tour guide got starstruck & gave all his time to the amateur film-maker, making sure he knew everything about where we went & leaving the rest of us wondering where we were, what we were looking at & why we had bothered going on the trip.

As soon as we got on the coach our tour guide told us how dangerous Salvador was. He told us to remove any watches or jewellery we had on & to leave it on the coach when we got off. He told us not to take our cameras off of the coach as we would have them ripped from our hands by muggers. He even told us about how one of the tourists he had been taking around the day before had been mugged, robbed & stabbed.

He then told us that he would be changing the route we should be going on to fit things in better around the day. Our last stop, a market would be our first stop because if we went later in the day we might not get back in time to see it. I wondered if he got a kickback from stall owners for taking us there.

Market.

After a journey of around 10 minutes on the coach we stopped at a market next to the docks. It would have been quicker walking & we could see passengers who had walked there from the ship already looking around. I decided I didn't need to look around another tourist market & as we got off the coach I asked the guide where the coach would stop to pick us up afterwards. He told me it would pick us up at the exact spot we had stopped at. As there was a bench there, I sat down to watch people getting off the ship walk to the small market. The guide told everyone to be ready to leave in 40 minutes at the point we were dropped at.

After about 20 minutes my friend Marcus came back from the market & sat with me. We sat talking & as no one else seemed to be waiting around for the coach, Marcus went to see if he could find it. After 5 minutes Marcus came back to get me, the coach hadn't stopped where the guide had said it would. It had stopped on the next road up & the guide had taken everyone there when they left the market. Marcus & I walked to where the coach had stopped & got on.

As I sat down Gail told me that the guide had taken a head count & hadn't realised that Marcus & I weren't on the coach until Marcus had found it & asked why it hadn't gone back to where he told us it would stop. If it hadn't been for Marcus stopping the coach, the guide would have left us there. After taking the trip I wished he had.

Sanctuary of Irma Dulce.

The coach took us through some very poor areas in Salvador but I couldn't tell you the names of the areas or anything that we passed because the guide disappeared to the back of the coach after we set off & didn't come back to the front of the coach. Even when he occasionally spoke to us in English, because he was at the back of the coach we couldn't hear him because he was talking to the back of our heads. If we did turn round to try & hear him we then couldn't see what he was talking about.

We stopped at the Sanctuary of Irma Dulce a nun who had set up the Sanctuary. She had set it up to look after the poor & the only place she could look after them was in the Convent's chicken coop. When we got to the Sanctuary we were joined by a guide from the Sanctuary itself. She took us around & told us what we were looking at. The guide showed us around the different places but I found it very uninteresting. The work the nun did was amazing & she was made a Saint, but looking around the areas we were shown was boring.

The Sanctuary guide did try to make it more interesting, telling us the history of Irma Dulce, her life, her calling & her work. Unfortunately for her & us, the tour guide from the coach kept talking over her in German so that English speakers or any other non-German speakers could hear nothing she said. He would also stand in front of whatever was being pointed out & blocked people's view of it.

After an extended tour looking at photos of what we should have been looking at, rather than just photos of it, we got back on the coach. Or most of the coach did, the guide had lost some passengers & we had to wait whilst he looked for them. I did notice that the guy videoing was the last back on the coach & that he didn't sit in a seat when he got on, instead taking the seat next to the driver at the front of the coach so that he could continue to video through the coach window.

We left the Sanctuary of Irma Dulce & drove through some more areas of downtown Salvador to a neighbourhood opposite a horrible-looking beach. I am not sure of the name of the small beach as the guide couldn't be heard from the front of the coach. Some of the passengers got off for a photo but we were back on quickly. All the time we were driving around the guide kept telling us how dangerous Salvador was & advising us not to go into Salvador at night.

Diocese of Bonfim.

Our next stop was at the Diocese of Bonfim. Before we got off the coach the guide told us again to remove any jewellery & to leave cameras on the coach. He told us we would be there for around 40 minutes before he shot off, followed by the man with the video camera.

I got off the coach & checked the time before walking across the square towards the Church with Marcus. We stopped opposite a big sign that read ´PAZ´ which Marcus told me meant ´Peace´. We took some photographs from outside the church but we couldn't go in. Because the guide had changed the route schedule, we arrived during a mass & couldn't go inside the church. I was beginning to think the guide was incompetent not just an idiot.

I walked around the outside of the church taking some photos of the outside of the church & the area around it, before walking back to the coach. The man with the video camera was last back on the coach, holding the rest of us up again, he was beginning to annoy me as much as the guide was.

Monte Serrat Fort.

When we left the Diocese of Bonfim the guide told us we were going to be driving through a very dangerous area of Salvador & that when we got off, not to walk anywhere without him & to stay together. He again told us to leave all valuables on the coach. As it was beginning to get dark, the sun had begun to set, & many people didn't get off the coach as we were told it was just a photo stop.

As I got off the coach to walk towards Monte Serrat Fort, I watched the guide walk off in the direction of the Fort with the man & his video camera. The guide did not wait for anyone else to get off the coach & disappeared. A couple of people got off the coach behind me & Marcus joined me as I walked towards the Fort.

We took some photos in front of the Monte Serrat Fort & walked around it to look at the sun setting over the sea & behind the Fort we could see Ponta de Humaita. I & nobody else there, apart from the video man, were told where we were or what we were looking at as the guide only had time for the video man. I took photos & thought how nice it looked & how nice it would have been to find out more about it but consoled myself in the knowledge that I had photos & could use Google Image Search to find out where I had been & what I was looking at.

We walked back to the coach only to find that the video man & the guide were last back again. As we pulled away it was now completely dark. As we drove through Salvador in the dark our guide told us again how dangerous it was & not to visit it at night. He once again, reiterated that we should remove any watches or jewellery we had on & leave it on the coach when we got off. He told us not to take our cameras off of the coach as we would have them ripped from our hands by muggers. He even told us about how one of the tourists he had been taking around the week before had been mugged, robbed & stabbed.

Salvador Historical District.

When we drove up to the historical district my knee was aching & I was in quite a bit of pain. Because I am blind in one eye & knew that if anyone had attempted to mug me I wouldn't have even seen them coming I decided not to follow as the guide took everybody into the historical district that he had spent all day telling us how dangerous it was at night. It was pitch black so I wouldn't have been able to see anything in the district anyway. 

As everybody chased after him the coach driver checked the coach & realised that I had stayed on board, so much for the guide taking a head count again. He asked if I was alright then drove off to a small store in an even more dilapidated area of Salvador. The driver got off the bus & went into a grocery store to get himself something to eat. The area was horrible & the grocery store even had an armed security guard outside on a chair watching inside for any shoplifters or any other trouble. After a while, the driver came back out with his dinner & after eating it he drove me on a circular route through Salvador.

We parked up to wait for the guide to return to the coach with the people he had been showing around. When they got back, Gail told me that it had been quite nice but the streets were very steep & that she didn't think I could have walked it anyway. The guide had lost a couple of people again but they had found their way to the coach when they saw him walk past where they had stopped. As they walked back to the coach through the historical district in the dark, some police gave them all a police escort to make sure they got back to the coach safely.

When the coach left we were late back to the ship by about 40 minutes but it had waited for us. It was pitch black when we got back & got on the ship. It was without a doubt the worst excursion I have ever been on. The guide came around the coach asking us to leave him a nice review of the trip. Both Gail & I instantly just replied no. My mother always told me if I couldn´t say anything nice, not to say anything at all.

Back on the Costa Favolosa.

By the time we got back onboard the Costa Favolosa, dinner had already started to be served but I had a quick shower before going to dinner. I sat down with Ann, Rosa, Mal & Darrel & told them about my poor experience on the tour. Rosa had done a similar tour but not the same as Gail & me, she had not enjoyed her tour either & had decided not to go on the tour to Tijuipe Waterfall with me tomorrow.

At dinner, I had missed most of the dinner but the waiting staff said they could get me something. I just ordered a dessert & had a Mango mousse. Joking I told Rosa that her Pistachio dessert looked better than mine & she stopped eating it & gave me what was left. Rosa, you are my dessert Queen.

After dinner, I went downstairs with Rosa to complain about the tours we had been on in the last couple of days. It seemed everyone had the same idea. I decided I would go on my cruise tomorrow as it was one I particularly wanted to do, swimming under a waterfall appealed to me. Rosa complained about her previous excursions & cancelled her trip for tomorrow's trip to the Tijuipe Waterfall that we were both going on together. I complained about the trips I had been on but didn't cancel my trip to the waterfall. Whilst we were there Gail arrived & she also complained about her trips & cancelled her trip for tomorrow & changed it to just a coach into town so she could walk around on her own.

After we had finished complaining I thanked the man at the desk for listening & his help, he must get fed up with people complaining about the tours on this trip. Rosa went to her cabin & I wasn't in the mood to watch a show so I just went to the quiet bar near the piano bar. As I walked in I saw Marcus sitting at the bar talking to staff & customers, so I joined him for a beer. His humour & our chat, cheered me up a little bit. As I sat with Marcus he asked if I wanted to go to the piano bar for a drink so I walked across with him, taking my beer with me. It seemed strange that the piano bar only sold wine & if you wanted any other drink you had to buy it somewhere else & take it with you.

I sat at the bar with Marcus & he introduced me to two other Germans who also spoke English. Being English does make us lazy as everyone else seems to speak English. I have tried to learn Spanish but my memory is so bad I have failed. As we sat talking it became apparent the man of the couple I had been introduced to was a big football fan & we soon began chatting about football matches. One of the games he had been to was at the Emirates Stadium where Arsenal played & the game had to be delayed because the away team, whom he supported & was there following on the night, had taken around 20,000 fans. They had only been allocated around a quarter of that amount & Arsenal had to stop some of their fans from entering because the German fans had forced their way into the ground. It was interesting hearing his story of the night in a game that could have ended badly but thankfully finished with everyone safe.

It was also the day a lot of Brazilians joined the ship. Whilst we were sat at the bar talking some very young drunk Brazillian men came in & asked for a beer. When the waitress told them they could only have wine & that they would have to go next door for anything else they started complaining loudly & pointing at me. It was then that I realised that my pint was on the bar & they couldn't work out why I had beer but they couldn't have one. After a short while they left, still complaining. Judging by the way they were behaving they had probably had enough to drink anyway.

At the end of the night, I retired to my cabin, still unsure about the trip I was taking tomorrow. 

View today's menu from the Costa Favolosa.

Photos from Salvador.

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