Deja Vu, all over again in Sao Paulo

Trip Start May 31, 2011
Trip End Sep 06, 2011

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Sunday, June 19, 2011

So here I am back in Sao Paulo and after my lackluster and cold trip there last time, I wasn't sure if I wanted to catch the first bus back to Rio for my 5 days or go to parts unknown.  I actually went to the bus terminal and started considering all of my options and narrowed it down to a bus back to Rio or to Brasilia.  However, I couldn't decide what I wanted to do and wanted to research things a bit more before I made my decision (go figure, right?)  So I decided to try a different hostel in Sao Paulo in a different neighborhood while I made my decision.  The first place I ended up was in the Vila Mariana area of town and while I liked the layout of the hostel, it seemed like the only people staying there were old locals who were treating it like a cheap apartment.  The deal killer was that their wifi internet wasn't reliable so I ended up only staying there one night.
The next day I moved to the 3 Dogs Hostel which was literally right up the street from the first spot.  What a difference that made!  As soon as I walked in, some younger Brazilians started trying in their broken English to chat me up about where I was from etc, and another American asked if I wanted to go with some of them to a Samba club.  I thought for a second and then decided I was in! That day was nice and sunny and as I walked around the area looking for food a whole new Sampa came to life.  What had been cold, dreary and rainy a few weeks before was now alive and vibrant.   I think the area I was in now was a lot more fun too with tons of restaurants, shops, and nightlife just around the corner instead of shutting down at 7 PM like the previous hostel near Paulista Ave.
The samba turned into dinner and drinks where we met some girls from the Amazon area of Brazil who ended up joining us for the samba club.  I was convinced to stand up and try my samba dancing with one of the girls, and then just as quickly asked to sit back down.  Haha!  Some of my compatriots had things to do in the morning, but the girls still wanted to party so off we went to a disco called the Carioca Club which ended up being quite funny.  It was me, the two girls from the Amazon, and two guys that lived closer to Sao Paulo, but were in town for training or something like that.  The two guys told me the best way to describe what I was seeing was a really bad cover band doing horrible versions of Brazilian classics.  And there was this completely flamboyant gay male dancer doing his best to act like he was enjoying dancing with the girl dancer who also worked there.  There may or may not be footage somewhere or my doing my best impersonation of that guy.  At 4 A.M. the party was over and we headed home after catching the subway right when it started back up.
The next day, some of the guys from the night before were going to check out the Sao Paulo Museum of Art so I tagged along with them.  I am not normally a hard core museum type of guy, but I enjoyed it seeing works from Monet, Manet, Gaughin, Van Gogh, and one of my favorites, Salvador Dali.  I don't remember the name but the one Dali piece they had was a haunting vision of a ghost like horse about to buck off its rider.
The next few days were laid back with food and sort of aimlessly wandering around.  It didn't help things that I picked up a full blown flu while I was there that made me kind of lazy.  The highlight actually came the day before I was to leave for Peru when I decided to check out Parque Iberapuera that was a little ways from my hostel and eat at this pizza place(Carmelo's) my friend Fernanda had recommended I try.  It was a beautiful day once I arrived in the park and it seems like half of the Paulistas agreed with me!  It was packed!  Since it was in the middle of the week, I did wonder how so many people were off of work or whatever, but I really appreciated how much they were enjoying the park.  To make things even better for me personally, the park has a large number of modern art installations on the grounds which I loved seeing.  There is also a museum on site that my friend Alex from Nashville would have LOVED.  It is all about the history of residential architecture during modern times from the 1950's onward with an emphasis on sustainability and increased functionality through design.  After the park, I wandered over a few more km to the pizza place which was unfortunately closed. :(  
I ended up catching a bus downtown to check out this big cathedral and monastery that are located there.  Whenever I see these massive, ornate churches that were built hundreds of years ago, I am always amazed at how they could pull off such feats without modern tools and machinery.  It also explains a lot to me about how religion, especially Catholicism, swept South America since you really can't help but be in awe and wonder about higher powers when you walk into these structures.  I am still not converted though LMAO :)

The next day I wasn't going to repeat my mad dash to the airport so I left with plenty of time (or so I thought.)  I must chronically underestimate how long it takes to get to the airport using public transport because damned if I didn't end up arriving with only 5 minutes to spare to get checked in before they closed the check in for the flight.  I was definitely not getting the best use of the VIP lounges they provide with my business class tickets!  But I couldn't be concerned with such things, because my next stop was to Lima and then to the magnificent Machu Picchu!
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