Absorbing the Story of Slavery in Redenção, Brazil

In 1873 Colonel Simião Jurumenha bought a sugarcane farm and built the cachaça factory of Douradinho in Redenção. 10 years later slavery was abolished here – 5 years before the rest of Brazil.

130 years later, I visit the still functioning factory-cum-museum.

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Visiting a Carpet Factory in Hotan, China

We should have come with a guide, we realized in hindsight. Nobody spoke English. We had been convinced our taxi driver had understood we wanted to visit a silk factory.

However, when we walked through the doorway we realized we had ended up at a carpet factory.

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Exploring the Sunday Market in Kasghar, China

With over 50,000 people selling and buying, the Sunday Market in Kasghar is the biggest in China. Its origin goes back to the golden age of the Silk Route when delegations from all different empires came here to trade.

Our expectations were high.

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Exploring the Jesuit Estancias in Argentina

When in the 16th century the Jesuits came to Argentina, they founded schools and universities in Córdoba, an area today referred to as the Jesuit Block. In order to finance these institutions estancias were set up in the surrounding areas, where agriculture and cattle breeding prospered.

They became known as the Jesuit Estancias.

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Ouro Prêto on Foot, a UNESCO site in Brazil

Around 1700 gold was discovered in the state of Minas Gerais and in 1711 Vila Rica de Ouro Prêto (lit: ‘Rich City of Black Gold’) was founded. Thousands of slaves dug out the gold, which was taken to the town where it was weighed and melted into bars at Casas de Intendéncias (weighing stations).

Ouro Prêto became the epicenter of Brazil’s biggest gold rush.

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Exploring the Temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia

I’m looking at the Hindu god Vishnu, whose legs are being massaged by his wife Laksmi. The sculpture is lying in a stream in the middle of Cambodia’s forest, and is surrounded by twittering birds and fluttering butterflies.

The sight is utterly peaceful.

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Follow the Che Guevara Trail in Bolivia

I stare down into an empty grave. Packed-down earth is surrounded by brick walls and a fence to prevent visitors from accidentally falling in. Seven stones bear the names of the persons who were buried here, underneath an airstrip, for thirty years.

Who were they?

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Strolling Brazil’s City of Tiles: São Luís

In the doorway stands an elderly man. Our eyes meet and I shake his hand.

“You are lucky to live in such a beautiful building. What an incredibly tiled façade your home has,” I comment.

Few cities in Brazil surprise me as São Luís does – Brazil’s capital of azulejos.

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