To the right of the Palácio do Rio Branco, overlooking the ocean, you can’t miss Salvador’s postcard landmark: the elegantly streamlined, recently restored art deco Elevador Lacerda, which since the 1930s has been shuttling lines of Soteropolitanos up and down from the Cidade Baixa to the Cidade Alta.
Open 24 hours a day, it only takes 20 seconds for each of its four elevators to transport its passengers—more than 50,000 of them daily—for a mere 10 centavos. If you want to visit the Mercado Modelo, catch a local bus to Bonfim from Praça Cairu, or grab a boat to Itaparica, the Elevador comes in handy.
Otherwise, have a seat at the famous Sorveteria Cubana (tel. 71/3322-7000, 9 a.m.–10 p.m.), another 1930s landmark, with comfortable seats overlooking the Bay of All Saints, and indulge in icy treats such as a coco espumante (a fizzy old-fashioned coconut ice-cream soda), a banana split, or more tropical flavors such as coco verde and cupuaçu. A Bahian joke states that taking a ride on their beloved elevator is the only way to ascend in life.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition