10 Days in Sao Paulo
Trip Start Oct 29, 2011
48Trip End Jun 01, 2012
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I arrived on the Sunday morning and saw Helen for a couple of hours before she had to head off on a sports tour into the middle of nowhere until the Wednesday (apparently the weather wasn’t great and Helen said it was like being in Wales)
So on Tuesday I plucked up the courage to cross the big road and head out into the trendy shopping area. Didn’t look out of place at all compared to all the women with amazing figures in very tight designer jeans, and barely being able to walk in very high heels.
On the Friday I did venture out even further and went to visit Helen in her new school. Helen teaches at St Pauls in the very flash Jardin’s neighbourhood (equivalent of Chelsea). Most of the children are Brazilian and from extremely wealthy backgrounds. They are taken to school in limo’s and have security guards. It took me 15 minutes to get through the gates becasue they wouldn’t let me in straight away as I was a security risk!
After that I got dragged along to Staff Choir Practice. The only reason that Helen persuaded me to go was that they had free wine. They were practising for the Christmas concert. It did seem a bit weird doing Christmas carols in 28 degree heat in the middle of Sao Paulo but I went with it. Initially I was quite initimidated by the whole thing as the staff were split into Bass, Tenor, Alto and Soprano sections and they were doing four part harmonies. Then I realised that this was the aim of the Director of Music but in reality it wasn’t really happening as actually they weren’t the choristers from the King College, Cambridge choir. Basically only about three people could sing (Helen obviously being one of them), half of the staff were Brazillian and English was only their second language, very few people could actually read music and it was a Friday afternoon after a tough week. So everyone had some wine and then we all went off down the pub (well to a rather nice bar with one of those painted cows outside – Sarah Mead and Sasha you will know what I mean)
Now prior to this Helen had mentioned that I needed to drink some caipirinhas. This is the Brazillian national drink which is made with cachaça which is a a rum-like spirit made from sugar cane, lime juice, sugar and is served on the rocks. In this bar they were served in large tumblers with one part lime to four part cachaça (they need to come with government health warning). So Helen decided this is what I needed to be drinking (when in Brazil and all that). So the evening turned into a bit of an experiment. How many caipirinhas can you drink before it all goes horribly wrong. We also tried to keep it as simple as possible by not adding into the mix much food – we did have a few nibbles (in Brazil nibbles are slices of cow). Had a brilliant night out with Helen’s friends. The highlight of the evening had to be chatting to Lee Ward, who is the Director of Music at the London Oratory School and is overin Brazil on a term’s sabatical. He is one of the best organists in the world but also is incredibly camp and really funny. No man in the bar was safe. The other highlight was the toilets. On the wall by the basin as some dental floss and a great big container of Listerine. Apparently the Brazilians are obsessed by oral hygiene.
Anyway I guess you are dying to learn the results of the caipirinhas experiment– It’s 3 ½
The following evening we went to BBQ (it was also Bonfire night – very bizarre when it’s 28 degrees and sunny). No hamburgers or hot dogs in sight. In Brazil you just chuck on huge slabs of meat, cook it, slice it up and eat it. In the end Helen and I did have to find bread and stick some pork into it (still not as good as the Dusseldorf pork batch though). I was just bowled over by how lovely all of Helen’s colleagues were. They were so friendly and just great to chat to. In particular they were just all so supportive and full of admiration for me heading off on my travels. I couldn’t believe this when I was just in awe of them for having the courage to live and work in another country like they do
So into my second week, I managed to venture even futher and headed to the Parqe do Ibapuera. This is the second largest park in Sao Paulo (no idea what the largest one is) and its importance to Sao Paulo is comparable to that of Central Park to New Yorkers. Nothing that exciting there, except quite a few joggers and roller bladers (refrained from both activities – didn’t want to show off).vaults. I also went to an amazing cemetary with huge family Then on my last night we went out for pizza with Helen’s friends Helen,Tean and Karen and sampled another Brazillian delicacy – Chocolate pizza with fresh strawberries (have put a photo of it in the album). Not 100% sure on it but yet again when in Brazil ...