Valley of Gold
After my adventures in Miracema, I visited Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s third largest city. The words Belo Horizonte literally mean ‘beautiful horizon’, none of which can actually be seen inside the city as the hills are so steep. Belo Horizonte was a nice place and I met some cool people, but it really is just another city. So it wasn’t too much longer before I was heading over to nearby Ouro Preto, a colonial mining town that has a real historic feel to it. This area was full of gold until it was all mined and sent back over to Portugal in Brazil’s early history.
As the bus started to weave its way into the city, we passed about 100 or so empty buses all lined up on both sides of the road. I began to feel a little ill at ease about my decision not to book any accomodation before arriving. Thousands of people had descended on Ouro Preto for the ‘Dia de Tiradentes’ holiday and some political meetings that were taking place at the same time. There were dignitaries, drunkards and what I believe was the Brazilian punk scene who had turned up to riot against their leaders, the USA or anything else that looked ripe as a target.
I descended the rocky steps to my cheap hostel accommodation, and was instantly met by a friendly looking dark guy who, with a broad beaming smile shook my hand and asked if I happened to play the guitar. Daniel was a bit of a Bob Marley, Pearl Jam and Jimmy Hendrix fan so entertained me for a few hours with his singing while my room was being readied. Later that evening, he took me and some of the other travellers out to see the town a little more. So if you’re ever nearby Ouro Preto, be sure to stop in at the Poussada Sao Francisco for, at the very least, a refresher in reggae music.