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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

RAIN RAIN GO AWAY


We wake to rain, lots and lots of rain, and a few unexpected leaks. We continue following the coast & the streets are busy. Lots of queues & holdups. Then we discover why.  Roads are flooded & traffic has slowed right up. We finally find the main road where traffic is at a standstill, so we move over to the slip road. This proves to be a good move as the main road is completely flooded & little cars cannot get through, & all the trucks behind them are just queued up. No police in sight! Chaos reigns. GR2 can just surge through all the water.

Continuing on, sadly in the rain, we pass through the city of Vitoria. From the bridge it looks like Rio with a huge inlet & lots of granite boulders. Our road then returns us inland past lots of coffee, rubber & palm plantations. Then as it flattens out, lots of sugarcane. It still keeps trying to rain, so it seems a good chance to get some work done on GR2. We stop at an Iveco dealership where they adjust the brakes, install an extra diesel filter and an extra fuel pump. It was a good choice of workshop as they did all the labour for free. The next day we decide to get lots of miles done, but it is not to be. GR2 starts throwing up faults & eventually John has to tilt the cab & sort out the problem, helped by a local from the coffee plantation we stop beside. The original diesel filter was blocked and needed replacing, lucky we always carry a spare. Finally it is all clear, but we are tired of all the trucks so detour onto the Costa de Coco (Coconut Coast). We think this is a great move as the road is good, scenery lush & tropical and there are no trucks. Until we find potholes big enough to swallow cars. As we near the coast it is getting dark so we pull over to the first Praia (beach) that we can find. In the morning we discover a lovely long stretch of white sand & lots of coconuts. Pity about the rain & rubbish.

We continue our coastal drive past more gorgeous beaches (albeit wet) including my favorite: Praia Millionarios with all its shanties. Then head through the grotty city of Ilheus (packed with people & cars) and on to the lovely beach resort town of Itacare as recommended by a 4x4 guy we met. We had planned to have lunch at one of the beachside restaurants, but the prices are too much to swallow, so we settle on drinks. It doesn’t really matter as everyone passing selling food gives us some to try.  There are too many pousadas here to camp so we continue on towards Salvador, finally finding a lovely beachside spot at Praia Guaibim.

As we continue our coastal route we see signs to Salvador via “ferry boat”. What a bonus! This will save us returning to the main road. We roll up to the ferry and before long we are on our way to Salvador over the emerald green water. Lovely. There is a huge cruise ship in port, so when we arrive there are huge groups everywhere. Bummer! We park in the lower city beside the water and find the elevator that takes us up to the upper city at the tiny price of 15c each. What a lovely place with lots of buildings renovated & many under way. We do all the tourist stuff – visit the cathedral, walk through the main squares, watch the Capoeira dancers, look at the souvenirs, listen to the drummers (who are really good) & go to a Bahian buffet lunch. Finally we head out of town. We miss our turning for the motorway & our GPS detours us through the “burbs” – not a place we would want to stop and visit at all. At least the rain has finally stopped.

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