I like Salvador more each time I visit. It looked very green this time. It has not become greener, but the dry season is beginning show in Brasília, which makes Salvador green by comparison. I stayed at the Pestana Lodge. This is better than the Pestana Hotel, which is connected to it by a bridge. The lodge also has the advantage of being a little cheaper than the hotel, so we save the G a little money. The picture alongside is taken from my room’s balcony. What is not to like?
Both the hotel and the lodge are right on the ocean, built into the hills on a rocky headland. You can walk to shops and restaurants from there, although I don’t think many people do because of the supposed crime threat. I walked around at night w/o feeling particularly threatened. I think that the neighborhood is improving.
One of the board members of the BNC has been active in Salvador for more than fifty years. He explained that crime was worse, so bad that people just didn’t go out at night. There are still parts of the city where you should not go, but things are better. He also told me about the growth of the city. The picture above is the SENAC building. When it was built in the 1980s, it was the tallest building, the only tall building in the area. The picture below is taken from the window of the SENAC building. You can see all the tall buildings now filling the landscape. All of them are new. This part of Salvador is a completely new city.
The challenge is similar to any densely built city – traffic. No big city has found the perfect solution. Salvador needs a subway system, among other things. There have long been plans to build one, but the current projection is that there will be only six kilometers, a distance that most people could just walk. I am not sure if the traffic is facilitated or hindered by the interesting local driving habits. On the one hand, you could say that our taxi drivers make use of the whole road, including short distances between parked cars, bus pullouts and places between moving vehicles where you wouldn’t think another car could fit. On the other hand, it seems a bit chaotic.