What lovely people!
Trip Start Apr 15, 2003
136Trip End Sep 01, 2011
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Sao Paulo is a big, dirty ugly city containing the most warm, welcoming people I've ever met. The city itself, with a population the size of the entire country of the Netherlands, is filled with grey skyscrapers which, in turn, are full of graffiti. It feels cold and dirty. The traffic is so awful that it is quite normal for executives to travel by helicopter from one place to the next within the city and surrounding areas. It is not the sort of place that would favorably impress somebody visiting from abroad - until you meet the people.
On every visit, people from the office have gone out of their way to make me feel at home. On the first trip, my colleague left his children with relatives so that he and his wife could take me to a museum exhibiting Picasso where they translated all of the Portuguese explanations for me. They also took me to a lovely park and a beautiful shopping center. We ate traditional Brazilian food at a wonderful restaurant that had been built around a 500 year old tree (still growing in the middle of it - and where Bill Clinton, coincidentally, was having lunch at the same time!) They took me to a piano recital and introduced me to their friends and we went to craft fairs. That was just one weekend on the first visit.
On this last visit, I was meeting with different people and yet had exactly the same experience. I was only in Sao Paulo for 2 days, but the people there made sure that I had somebody to take me to dinner and to show me around if I had anything special I wanted to do. When I tried to meet people on short notice they arrived for breakfast at 7:30 the next day and insisted that next time I bring Chris with me. Everybody expressed regret that I was there for such a short time. I should stay longer, they said, so that I could come to their houses and have some time to see Brazil outside of Sao Paulo. I should bring my husband and we should take a vacation in Brazil. They gave me names of people who had done this and offered to help plan places to go and things to see. All of this was said in a completely heartfelt way from people who really love their country and are excited to show it to others. These were people who were opening their homes, giving freely of their time and energy, and who really, truly wanted to ensure that I had the best experience possible.
I look forward to a time when we can arrange for Chris to join me in Sao Paulo and we can write a travelpod about a wonderful vacation there.
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