I try and go to Brazil whenever I can find an excuse; and the fact that I haven't made a show in the city of Salvador since "A Cook's Tour" over 12 years ago seemed like reason enough for another one.
It's all the best things about the country, boiled down into a thick, spicy, African stew. It's mystical, magical, incredibly colorful, and has its own choreography that we worked very hard to capture.
I asked the crew to shoot at hip level as much as possible, to move the cameras, to try and convey the sense that, unique to Salvador, everybody is beautiful. Young, old, fat, thin, every hue, every shade on its extraordinarily diverse and randomly mixed-up color spectrum, absolutely everybody in Salvador is beautiful. Even ugly people are beautiful.
Everybody seems likely to start dancing at any minute -- and often do. There's drums and music everywhere. Large and very cold beers and powerful beverages of crushed limes and sugar cane liquor, spicy fried things, seem to appear from all directions. It seems -- from a visitor's point of view -- utopian.
It's not, of course, utopia at all. Brazil, in general and Salvador in particular, face enormous problems -- and how they are going to handle the hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors attending the World Cup is going to be, well, interesting. There will be, for sure, many adventures, but most of them will surely be good.
I stopped trying to figure out Brazil years ago and after many visits, just decided to go with the flow.
The show we came back with, I hope, reflect that attitude.
After nearly a year on the road, a solid block of shooting on five continents, this is the last new episode of the season. Given the rigors of all those miles and all those airports, I felt a "low impact" one was appropriate. Someplace warm where the music is always good and the water's fine. Someplace that definitely doesn't suck.