TRAVEL DIARY – the Dartmouth College Fall 2004 Portuguese LSA + Program in Salvador, Brazil.
– Dartmouth 2004 Students: Brent Clayton, Jessica Elfstrom, Jordan A. Garrow, Shaina Landau, Amy Shaw.
– Dartmouth 2004 Director. Professor Piers Armstrong. <Piers.Armstrong@Dartmouth.EDU>.
– ACBEU Portuguese Program Coordinator and Family Placer: Professor Clara Ramos. Email: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Technical note regarding the pictures ... we are experimenting with formats to send these pictures back to Dartmouth.. if you are looking via the web and it is hard to see, please let us know by email to Piers (<Piers.Armstrong@Dartmouth.EDU>). If you are looking at them in a Word document, use Normal View mode rather than Print Layout (both in the “View” drop-down menu). In Word, you can enlarge or reduce the photos as you look at them by clicking and dragging...
Week 7 is our Semana Itinerante – where we travel to another location in Bahia and take special classes for a week prior to the actual vacation week 8, in which the students travel by themselves to places around Brazil.
The 2004 Semana Itinerante was based in the southern Bahian town of Ilhéus (“little islands”). The town is on the coast and consists of a cluster of islets at the mouth of several rivers, so that it has surf and bay beaches, mangroves and various other habitats. We take classes and outings on history, marine biology, literature, land and sea ecology, Afro-Brazilian religion and other subjects in Ilhéus and then going north and south along the coast. The teacher-guides are from the local university, UESC (Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz).
We stay on the the long ocean-side beach stretch of the town where during the week it is pretty empty:
Further up the coast a knoll afords a panoramic view
Looking down onto the bay entrance of Iheus:
Here is the Cathedral, built with rapidly acquired cocoa fortunes early in the twentieth century.
The historic center features various faux recreations of Victorian splendor
The writer Jorge Amado based his famous heroine Gabriela on a real person, the chef at the Vesuvio bar, which still operates. A fresco on the outside wall shows the two.
For the history session we investigate the local cemitery, full of monuments to transitory fortunes
Into the field
Our marine biology class begins with an explanation of the different sands found in different areas of the coast:
After that the students head out to look for sea-critters
In the afternoon we head out on a catamaran through the bay...
and out to the open sea. Even on a calm day, it sure goes up and down a lot.
Much of the material culture of Ilheus is based on a single crop: cocoa. Cocoa trees grow under the shade of other larger species in a complex ecosystem.
The Instituto do Cacau is a very large research center outside town. Our tour begins with a lecture in the museum room, which features old equipment from the early days.. hmm...
Surprise: the technician turns out to be such an environmentalist that he quickly turns to singing pro-green songs, accompanying himself on a timbau drum.
Here are the phases of the plant from which the chocolate comes:
– hot-house sprouted seedlings:
– Pods of cocoa, which are left to ferment a bit
– then dried
The cocoa is a dark mass under a peanut like skin. Just add water and sugar for chocolate. Some of us can’t wait!
The center also has a rehab unit for distressed slothes rescued from the bush. These animals are mesmerizing to watch as they..... move.... incredibly....... slowly ..... really...........
Leaving the science of cocoa behind, we head off for a meeting with students from UESC university, which turns out to be a lot of fun, and leads to a no-teachers gathering the next night in town
The same day, we head for a terreiro, that is the grounds and assorted dwellings for the gods of Candomblé, the Afro-Brazilian religion prominent in Bahia.
We are graciously permitted to photograph the assentamentos, or shrines, dedicated to each god or goddess. Here is one for Ogum, God of warfare and metal
The pai-de-santo, also a prof. at UESC, gives us a spirited talk on various aspects of Camdomblé.
The filhas-de-santo, or (female) initiates
After that we break out of rank and wander around
At the end of visit, the community waves good-bye from the gate
That was a busy day.. on the morrow we head for a more relaxing local, a very luxurious Eco-Resort outside the fishing village of Itacaré.
The way there is along a 60 k.m. eco-road, with the sea on one side and mangroves and other habitats on the other. We are shown tunnels and overhead ropes intended to allow the crabs and the monkeys to get across the road safely – apparently with mixed success. By the time we get to the Eco-resort, it’s lunchtime..
And some intermediaries between man and nature. Here, a stream runs into a swimming pool and flows out through a little water fall.
but first a game of chess....
This stretch of hilly coast creates a series of hidden beaches which the students head off to sample
A group shot
Next day we head far afield, soutward down the coast to Canavieiras. The town is built on a particularly broad and long delta which makes for strong representation of various eco-systems. As it turns out we are here for the mud...
Our boat moves past a series of landscapes from green islands
to vast sand-bars
We land and head out
The sand presents strange forms, caused by the tide and by outflow from the river, which can bring logs miles downstream and lob them onto the top of sturdy bushes where they rest.
The water level shifts so much that there are shell-fish that rest on the leaves of these bushes, waiting for another high-water...
There are also crabs which climb these little trees
We proceed to the point where curative mud is found, and experiment.
We spend the rest of the day at Una, a tropical rainforest eco-center.
The tour features labelled trees in natural habitat – here a sort of forest mangrove
and a few imports, such as the rubber-tree of the Amazon, which is “milked” daily
Catwalks allow us a view of the canopy
Down below, the light occasionally penetrates to the bottom level of forest
There are some curious plants here, like this very hard, curvacious vine
Monkeys here tend to be heard but not seen. We do find some critters however, like a chameleon
We finish up at a little water-fall, and are pretty tuckered out.
Next day the students head off on their independent travels, to the Amazon, Foz de Iguaću waterfalls, Rio de Janeiro and so on.
As we leave Ilhéus, a closing shot of Brent’s inimitable zest: here he is, down by the port, chasing vultures!
And cheers with a few of our professors and organizer, Oscar Quessia..