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Published: March 3rd 2009
Another unexpectedly short week has flown by here in Sau Paulo, the city of helicopters, sushi and the skyscrapers of Avenida Paulista. I had the chance to go with a group of friends to try the best sushi the city has to offer. Sitting there cross legged on the matt in the closed room with piles of decoratives, mouth watering pieces of sushi was the closest I have felt to truly being in Japan. Then on Friday evening we drove to the enormous stadium outside of town to (attempt) to get tickets for the victory samba parade. After speed-walking half an hour around the stadium to meet our friends who were negotiating some scalped tickets, we convinced the guy to accept the rest of the money in cheque. And he did! Around 2am we finally got in, grabbed some BlackDog hotdogs and drinks and enjoyed the insanely gifted samba dancers and creative floats till dawn. One of the floats featured a man on a motorcycle driving in circles, upsidedown within a metal globe, like a hamster in a cage. Of course the drumming was the kind of rhythm that gets in your blood and you wake up to
The all night victory parade for the best samba school in Sau Paulo's Carnaval
the next day, still vibrating to the same samba sounds. How the queens dance for hours in those 6 inch spike heels I will never know! It's a modern miracle.
The rest of the weekend was equally eventful. On Saturday evening, after waking up quite late, we drove to the bohemian quarter to try the traditional dish feijoada. It's a really heavy baked stew of black bean sauce, sausace and ...more sausage. It's delicious, but the kind of food that knocks you out, unlike too much sushi which makes you feel drunk. Afterwards we wandered through the packed streets where people were drinking, flirting, selling crafts and old records and generally enjoying life as Brazilians know how to do. That evening we took the elevator up, up, up to the rooftop bar of Unique, a fitting name for the strange, giant cement boat shaped hotel in downtown. On top at the Skybar lounge and resto. we took in the amazing 360 degree view of the Sao Paulo skyline and drank martinis in our hopeless underdressed havaianas sandals.
On Sunday a local friend took us to visit the cidade universidad, translation: amega-city within Sao Paulo called the University. Complete with
three museums, six restaurants, historical monuments, three bus lines, a nuclear research facility and a rainforest preserveration area in the center. What madness! After the one-block square size of Laurier where I did my undergrad, I felt like the name University City was quite adequate for SPU. Next came a trip to the Artsy village of Embu, 40km outside Sau Paulo where antiques and handmade jewelry abound. Wandering around, getting sunburnt and burning our fingers on the metal antiques laid out in the hot sun I was desperately wishing that I had a flat *and money* to decorate with all the treasures we saw. Feeling the hunger pains, Thiago took us to his parent's lovely house in the suburbs where they re-defined hospitality. The traditional Brazilian BBQ was enough for 10, and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting by the pool eating pieces of grilled fillet-mignion with my fingers, drinking Brahma and laughing at my own-failed Portugese. Somehow a mix of hand signals, interjected spanish and english with lots of nodding seems to fill in for conversation. His mother served strawberry shortcake and chocolate-caramel brigadero for desert and I almost died from happiness. (She sent me home with the rest of the
Mercado Municipal in the Rain
Gerborg and I got adventurous and arrived soaking wet at the municipal flea markets and vegetable markets...it went on for blocks and blocks
brigadero too..maybe my love for chocolate was a little too obvious?) Sunday evening then, we drove back to the city center to get ready for a friend's birthday party in a restaurant downtown. I has ecstatic to be reunited with a few of our fellow-carnaval revelers from our week in Paraty, having spent nearly every waking moment with them during that time. It felt a bit like summercamp, 25 of us and our belongings strewn around the bunk beds and living space in the guesthouse suites. This week has been a continuation of the love of trying new things, meeting friendly new faces and taking steps to do things on my own too (negotiating the local bus and metro network to get to the Modern Art Museum for example). In a few days another dream will come true when Gerborg and I arrive in Rio and walk along the beaches of Ipanema. You can count on it that I will be humming the famous song in my head and feeling very very lucky when it happens.
ciao for now!
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