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Feria de Sao Joaquin, Salvador de Bahia, Brazil

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A Feast For The Eye

Markets all around the world are a great place to capture the spirit of a country, because of the local products or handicrafts which are on display but most of all because of all the human interaction taking place there. Latin American markets are among the most vibrant and couloured of all, especially in Brazil. And in Brazil, no place is more vividly textured than Salvador de Bahia. One of the most ancient cities of the country, Bahia has kept alive his long, sometimes rough history. Better than everywhere else in Brazil you can feel African roots meets the Amazonian heritage.

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Situated a unexpensive cab ride off the city center, Sao Joaquin was recommended by the guest house host as the real thing. She also mentioned that the place was safe for foreigners, something that can’t be said for other parts of the city. The best time to go in obviously in the morning when the place is buzzing with activity and the heat is still bareable under the vast sheets of plastic filtering sunlight.

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The market, selling everything edible and some simple, everyday handicraft, including pottery you would for look in vain in the gentified center, is a maze for all senses. Piles of mangos and many other fruits you see for the first time, fishes you never heard about, the sweetness of Brazilian portuguese, the play of light and shadows on colour block walls. Sao Joaquin is the place to experience to pleasure to get lost, trusting only your eye and your camera.

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Yet, it’s far from being a lonely experience. People at the market are welcoming and friendly. They ask you where you come from, legitimately proud of who they are, what they do and that you took the trouble to come from afar to pay them a visit. No one presses you to buy anything. Some of them, seeing your camera, strike poses that could be featured in a fashion magazine and flash a fantastic smile just at the right moment. They love the attention, and you love them in return. You depart reluctantly, feeling happy, invigorated, a better person and a better photograph.

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With our resident photographer Wenpeng Lu, © Pculiar

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