Title: My Journey to Ilhéus
Abstract: This week I got to visit a city known as the ‘Princess of Bahia’, called Ilhéus. It is known for its beauty, culture, literature and beach setting. Continue reading to learn about this experience!
Introduction: After a day-long bus ride, I was relieved to finally arrive in the city of Ilhéus. It was dark when we arrived, but I could see the skyline of the city reflecting on the surrounding bay. When I saw that, I already knew that I would have a great week. In Ilhéus, I learned about Brazilian history and literature, trekked through the rainforest and saw how chocolate is made. I also saw my first sloth and met some talented Brazilian students at an after school program. I felt like I really got to know the city, and I hope I get to see this many different aspects of a place and the people that live there every time I travel.
Local Time: 12:00pm
Time Zone: Brazilia Time (BST)
How far did I travel this week?
This week, I traveled 286 miles to get from Salvador to Ilhéus. Both cities are on the coast of Brazil, but we had to travel about 6 hours south to reach Ilhéus. We drove on many small dirt roads and the ride was bumpy, but well worth it to be able to see this beautiful city!
How far have I traveled on your journey so far?
So far I have traveled 5,320 miles since I left my home in Chicago two months ago.
How did I get around this week?
To get to Ilhéus, we traveled by a small bus and boat, since that is the fastest way. We drove to a port in Salvador, and then our bus drove directly onto a ferryboat! The deck of the ferryboat was filled with cars, trucks and busses that had to cross the bay. When the boat arrived on the other side of the bay, the bus simply drove off and continued down the road. Have you ever been on a ferryboat? Other than the ferry, we mostly took our small bus, but the ride was extremely bumpy and scary since the roads are so narrow and not all of them are paved.
What was the most interesting place I visited this week?
My favorite activity this week was visiting the historic center in the city of Ilhéus. It is an old town with cobblestone streets and colorful old buildings. An interesting fact is that at the center of the city, cars are not allowed!
We visited several beautiful old churches and buildings. The city is right on the beach, so we stopped at the beach and drank fresh coconut water. There were many good restaurants and stores in the town, and the best ice cream shop in this area of Brazil. What is your favorite kind of ice cream?
Other travel news:
While visiting the center of town, we got to visit the home of one of Brazil’s most famous authors, Jorge Amado. He grew up in a house in this city and wrote about Ilhéus in many of his novels. We got to see restaurants and buildings around town where scenes from his book had taken place. He is the most famous person from Ilhéus, so there are pictures and statues of him everywhere in the city. His novels have been translated into many different languages, and you can buy them all around the world. Ask your teacher if they have heard of Jorge Amado!
Weather Tally: Number of days this week that were…
Partly cloudy: 2
What is the air temperature right now?
Right now during the daytime, it is 82 degrees F.
How was the weather this week?
The weather we had in Ilhéus this week was my favorite kind of weather! During the day it was in the low 80’s, which is the coolest weather I have experienced since I arrived in Brazil. There were a few days that were cloudy and rainy, but it was nice not to be so hot all the time! At night, it was cool and breezy. Even though I thought this was the perfect weather to be outside, there was nobody at the beach. When I asked people from Brazil why the beach was empty, they said that it is winter and too cold for the beach! Do you think 80 degrees is too cold for the beach?
What animals did I see this week?
This week, we visited a nature reserve that had a recovery center and habitat for sloths. Have you ever seen a sloth in real life? It was my first time! They are very funny looking animals with long slinky bodies and very long nails. They move extremely slowly, and they like to hang on to other sloths and people. They are very interesting animals that I want to read more about!
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week?
This week, we visited the nature reserve in a Mata Atlântica forest, which is the type of rainforest in this area. The area had over 500 different species of plants and animals, and we saw many amazing things! There was a tree named ‘Mother of Mata’ that was 700 years old and 40 feet high! We also got to try fresh tropical fruits like Cupuaçu, Goiaba, Acerola, Cacao and many others. Have you heard of these fruits?
Other Nature News:
This week we also visited a plantation where cacao is grown and chocolate is made! Cacao is a yellow fruit about the size and shape of a small football and has a hard, inedible shell. Inside, there are seeds covered by a sweet pulp. You can eat cacao raw by sucking on the seeds and eating the pulp, but the seeds must go through a special process before being made into chocolate. We got to see the process, which involved letting the seeds sit and ferment for several days, dry out in the sun, and then made into chocolate by machines. We then got to sample the chocolate, and it was delicious!
What languages are spoken here?
The people of Ilhéus speak Portuguese.
What type of money is used here?
Here, like in Salvador, they use the Brazilian real.
How much does a bottle of water cost?
A bottle of water costs about 2 reais, which is about $1 in the United States.
What was the best meal this week?
The best meal I had this week was at a famous restaurant in the middle of the city. It is a location where two characters meet in Jorge Amado’s most famous book. We had a traditional Brazilian meal of moqueca, which is made out of crab, coconut, and a type of oil that comes from palm trees. The crab for the dish was fresh from the water! We ate the moqueca with rice, beans and other traditional Brazilian side dishes. After dinner, we went across the street to the famous ice cream shop. The flavors of ice cream I got were peanut and goiaba, which is a tropical fruit. It was delicious!
What music did I listen to this week?
During my visit to Illheus, we stayed in a hotel close to the beach. On the beach, there were always people playing and singing to Brazilian music on the beach, and I could hear it from my hotel. They played a lot of bossa nova music, which has been popular in Brazil since the 1960s. Many Brazilians know these songs and the words to sing along to them, and will join in with whoever is playing the song on the guitar. You should google bossa nova music and listen to some!
What activity was the most fun this week?
We also got to visit an after school program and spend time with kids like you! First the kids put on a show, which included a ballet performance, a modern dance performance, a capoeira performance and a performance by a band. Then we got to spend more time at the after school program, talking to Brazilian kids! Have you ever heard of capoeira? It is a Brazilian mix between dance and martial arts. It is so athletic, and it’s amazing to watch!
What did I read this week?
This week, I bought and started to read a book by the famous author from Ilhéus, Jorge Amado. It is called Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, which is set in Ilhéus.
What games or sports did I play this week?
When we visited the after school program, we got to play games with the kids! We played outdoor games like tag, basketball and jump rope. I also played a game of checkers with my new friend Joana. What is your favorite game to play?