Pelourinho - Salvador- Brazil
You can't go to Salvador, a major city located on a pensinsula on Bahia's coast, without spending time in the old city of colorful colonial buildings, cobblestoned streets and a sense of history clustered around the Largo do Pelourinho, also known as Praça José de Alencar. This part of Salvador is known as Pelourinho, the city within a city.
Nicknamed Pelo by residents this area is in the older part of the upper city, or Cidade Alta, of Salvador. It ecompasses several blocks around the triangular Largo, and it is the location for music, dining and nightlife.
Pelourinho means whipping post in Portuguese, and this was the old slave auction location in the days when slavery was common. Slavery was outlawed in 1835, and over time, this portion of the city, though home to artists and musicians, fell into disrepair. In the 1990's, a major restoration effort resulted in making the area a highly desirable tourist attraction. Pelourinho has a place on the national historic register and named a world cultural centery by UNESCO.
Easily walkable, Pelo has something to see along every street, including churches, cafes, restaurants, shops and the pastel-hued buildings. Police patrol the area to ensure safety.
Sao Francisco Church - Salvador Bahia Brazil. 800kg of gold
Here's your soundtrack. Okay, maybe they're not exactly brazillian but their music is awesome and their live shows legendary.
Now, Brazil covers almost half of South America and its Amazon rainforest is the world's largest jungle... which is rapidly getting cut down. The country is basically one giant botanical garden with some bangin' cities on its edges.
Brazil was colonized in 1808 by the royal court of Portugal, which was fleeing Napolean's troops. They didn't stay long, and Brazil won its independence in 1822.
Its biggest city, Sao Paulo, is the financial hub of South America. Brazil is the "b" in BRIC -- Brazil, Russia, India and China. These four were labeled the world's fastest developing large economies in the year 2001.
Brazil is known for three things: amazingly beautiful women, carnival, and Pele -- King of Football, Athlete of the Century, football ambassador of the world and a declared national treasure.
Brazillians can tell foreigners a mile away, by the way their hips move. Samba is built into the soul of brazil and carnival is when it bursts out into twenty-four hour undying explosions of sound on every street.
This picture of mask diving at the Taipus reefs makes me shed hot and salty tears all over my calendar, which is set on "January" right now.
Text by Steve Smith.