There is a small city in the heart of Bahia’s state, in Brazil. Jacobina was founded in 1722. It is located in a valley, between great mountains of Chapada Diamantina, right in the middle of the state and between great desertic plains.
Home of great waterfalls, exotic fruits and a lot of gold, a whole lot of gold. From 1600 until today, mining is the greatest business maker in the small city of 83,000 people.
My grandfather was from there, lived in the farm, in the middle of the mountains, later moved to a small Jacobinan district – that later became independent town – Caém. And ended his life in Jacobina.
To get there, when I was a child it was a two days drive from São Paulo. I loved it.
Now we took a plane from São Paulo to Salvador, got a car and drove 210 miles throught breathtaking landscapes – coastline jungle, caatinga (it is similar to a desert) and than to Chapada Diamantina.
My father is from there and when he completed his 70th birthday, me and my brothers gave him the travel.
The jungle, the food, the smell, the spice, the way people talk, the way people look, religiosity, tradition, mistery, passion, flavours, richness and poverty, Bahia is one of the most beautiful places in Brazil – and in the World. Hidden secrets and stories lie there. A place where Brazilian indian, slaves, portuguese, dutch and many other people mixed up so uniquely.
Jorge Amado, the most famous writer from Bahia – and one of my favorite once wrote,
“Everytime I think about the baiano mulatto I see a fat man. Not only physically fat. But as character as well: good, amiable, glutton, sensual, with a sharp inteligence, talkative, but with soft talk, knowing so good how to treat well inferiors and superiors. Eating fat food, full of oil, but also really spicy”.
But I was not there only to revisit that part of my family, accompany my parents and enjoy a week off. My mission was to make the proposal to my girlfriend, and keep it a secret – a big challenge to my family (haha)