By Fr Colin McLean
In the coffee table book Salvador, an alluring photographic study of life of this city, the Brazilian poet, Jorge Amado, writes:
The city is prey to the spirit of adventurers from all parts of the world, who over the years have exploited her black and heavy beauty, thick as oil and deep as mystery, trying to reduce it to the value so the tourist trade. And everything is small and sad when touched by such hands. There is a persistent and criminal effort to shrink Bahia’s beauty, her dramatic ancient beauty, to the limited scope of a tourist’s curious gaze. Bad poets come from afar to sing her praises in uncomprehending verse, while movie-makers film her without feeling, and millionaires and socialites buy her without knowing her, but she has held out against them all, living on for those who understand and love her. She lives on in her grandeur, her ocean and streets, in the daily renewal of mystery and beauty.