What a greeting.....

Trip Start Mar 30, 2010
Trip End Dec 13, 2012

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Where I stayed
Andreas Place in Jabaquara

Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Monday, May 10, 2010

      Hello all!  Even though I said I wouldn´t write this blog while drunk..... I lied.  So, I dont even know where to begin.  Sorryt because this may end up being a long entry, but soo many good stories to tell about SP, that I have to tell as many of them as I can. 
     I arrived in Sao Paulo a little nervous.  I had heard so many stories of crime and human organ trafficing, that I think it was a little justified.  I had made contact with a couchsurfing host named Andrea.  She lived in the south end of the city called Jabaquara.  I arrive early and called her, unfortunately waking her up.  I told her I had arrived in one piece and was on route to her place. 
      Upon my arrival, I was greeted at the door by Andrea and her father.  Graciously, i was invited in for a coffe and breakfast.  After our coffee and brief introduction, I went for a nap.  Andrea was heading into town that afternoon and had told me she could take me into the city to show me around.  I was looking forward to it because in a city the size of Sao Paulo, one doesnt even know where to begin.
       First on the list was a stop at Ibiuapara Park, which is the equivalent to Central Park in New York.  A rather large park in the middle of the city with manyt different attractions and things to do.  Andrea gave me a map of the park and a briefing of what there was to see.  She left me alone to wander at my own pace and we agreed to meet up later.  I was happy just walking around taking pictures with my camera, but since there was some museums and galleries there, I figure it would be good to do something that is a little different from the outdoors thrill seeking genre.  I went to the Museum of Modern Art first.  I must say that, that normally I wouldnt have gone there, but I did enjoy very much.  The whole city of Sao Paulo is fully of artistic character, at least I thought so compared to boring ol Toronto.  The buildings there have much for intricate architechture, there are so many free art exhibits for people to visit, so many concerts, basically endless options. 
     Andrea and I agreed to meet at one end of the park where there was the Afro Museum of Sao Paulo, which sounded rather interesting because it had an exhibit displaying the history of blacks from Martin Luther to Obama, and I wanted to atleast check it out.   Entry to the museum was free, and Andrea had a list of things to do in SP that were free.  She even had tickets to a bossanova concert that coming sun (mothers day), and had invited me to come.  Why the hell not.... I remember being dragged to the symphony as a child, and not liking it at all.  But I think this was because I was too young to really appreciate it.  Maybe I should give it another go.   Just because I act like a kid, doenst me I havent mature......well maybe just a little bit.  After a great fechuada and caipirinia lunch,  We drove around the city stoping at some interesting spots such as a huge cathedral in the middle of centro, but had to leave the downtown area before it got too late.  I asked Andrea when it got dangerous in that neighbourhood, and she replied `Right about this time.`  I wasnt sure if this was a joke or not, so I just smiled and kept my guard up scanning the crowds for shaddy looking characters.
       That night we met Ricardo, Andrea`s boyfriend in an area of town called Villa Madalena.  This is where the bars are at.  Ricardo was a great guy who was all smiles and always offering to help.  The bar we were at was a quiant older bar, that was filled with servers that just run around with platters of beer.  All you had to do was give a quick shout and within less than a minute, you have an ice cold beer infront of you.  It was great too, because Andreas english was really good, Ricardo as well which made our chats much easier.
     Now as I mentioned before somewhere in this blog, I had made a slew of penpals before starting this trip.  As if by luck, a girl by the name of Elaine messaged me a week or so before left.  She told me that she was coming to Toronto, and was wondering if I coudl help her with some ideas of things to do. I thought this was funny because I wouldn't be around to help her, because I was going to Brazil.  It was like our planes literally crossed paths in the air.  Fortunate for me though, she would be back in Sao Paulo when I would be passing through.   I gave her a list of a few places to check out, and even tried to help while I was on the road.  She had made plans for us to hang out while I was in town.  I messaged her, and found out that she lived only one subway stop from Andreas, I was starting to think I had horseshoes up my .....  Couldn't have worked out any better.
    Elaine and her friend Adrianna picked me up at the subway to take me out for a nice lunch.  Elaine spoke near perfect english, but Adrianna and I had a complete language barrier.  Still that didnt stop us from having a great time together.  The three of us went out for a spread of Japanese food that left me damn near bloated.  I couldnt eat another thing.  It was a great way to just sit down and get to know each other.  Since there was so many things to do in the city, and even things that the two of them had never done, we agreed to go to the football museum.  This sounded like it was right up my alley.  The museum was at a soccer stadium, home of the Corrithians.  I must say this was the coolest museum I have ever been to in my life.  Right when you enter in, you head up an escolator which is under the stands.   They have projections on the walls of the crazy crowds,  chants being blarred over speakers,  I actually got goosebumps.  You could just feel the dedication to the sport while in this building.  This is one place that no matter if you like soccer or not, would be enjoyed by all.  After we finished our walk through, we went outside to do a little trading.  For those of you not familiar with the world cup, they have sticker books that you can buy and collect all the stickers of all the players, team logos, and stadiums of the world cup.  I remember from the last world cup, my good friend Mr Pilieci collecting them.  Here is Brazil, this is serious business.  Outside the museum, there is children, grown men, mothers and children all collections and trading the stickers to get their missing ones.  Adrianna brought her boyfriends book to get her final 15 or so.  She was a little shy at first to get in and trade with a group of 12 year olds, but she was making big deals in no time.    Dri, I hope you arent mad at me for telling this story, but it was such a good one I had too!!  :)   Later on that night, we picked up a great guy named Marcelo, and all they took me to the mall to buy my official Sao Paulo soccer jersey.  I had so many new friends during my time in Brazil, and the majority of them cheered for SP, I needed to grab one.(sorry Armando, I will still cheer for Flamengo too!!) 
      The next morning, Andrea, her brother, Ricardo and I were all going to the bossanova conert at the SaL de Sao Paulo, one of the most modern concert halls in the world.  It used to be an old train station that had recently been renovated into strictly a concert hall.  It was stunning inside.  I wish I had more pictures of the inside, but they were fairly strict about it.  If you were quick you could sneak off a few photos.   The concert itself was  great time, a young orchestra that was rather contemporary.  They would get up and march around the stage during the music, rather funny actually.  Considering the whole event was free, it was a great way to spend a nice mothers day for most.  When we got home, I called my mom to wish her a happy mothers day, and got the answering machine.  I know its late now and I said it already, but again Happy belated mothers day mom. 
      Monday was a quiet day, the night however was different.  I went into town and walked Rua Paulista taking some photos.   Now Sao Paulo, for those of you who dont know, has some crazy traffic.  It is one of the biggest cities in the world.  So for the rich and famous, they use helicopters to get around the city.  It is actually only second in the world to Hong Kong I believe.  Every you go, you can hear the roar of a helicopter, or see one getting ready to take off from a building top.  Pretty cool.  Must be nice to fly to work in the morning to beat the traffic!  Monday evening though, I was going back out with Elaine, her sister Erica, Adrianna and her boyfriend Rapheal, for some drinks.  We went out to a famous bar in the centro called Bar Brahama.  It was a 60 year old bar that had a huge patio on the side walk.  While there, Elaine and I were talking in english, of course.   But there was a table of 8 guys off to the side of us.  They called us over.  They wanted to know where I was from, she knew me, and of course what soccer team I rooted for.  It never takes more than 10 seconds for that topic to arise in conversations here.  They were all great guys smiles and everyone wanted to shake my hand.  It`s weird here, cause just being a foriegner, everyone wants to know you.  I felt near famous.  I went back to my table, almost a little embarased, because other people at the bar were looking at me as though I was a celebrity.  We continued all drinks.  I thought that the group of 8 guys had all left, but they had just gone inside to pay their bill.  Before they left, every single one of them came to shake my hand one final time.  Crazyness I tell you.   I wish I had thought fast enough to get a picture with all of them.  If all I had to do was talk english to be cool, then this is my kinda city!!!  In all seriousness though, I personally am not a fan of big cities.  I grew up in the country.  Sao Paulo is such a unique place.  It`s not like Paris or London where there is many big attractions to see, it`s the fact that there is something for everyone in this city that attracts people to it.  You could spend every night out for a year, and not see half the things you would want too in the city.          
        On tuesday I was heading to another city to make my way to the south east coast.  There was a list of places on my agenda that I wanted to see, including a small town of Parati, and an island called Illha Grande.  Andrea was gracious enough to let me leave my big backpack at her place while I went to these places, saving me a hassle of lugging it around with me.  She had also been amazing in trusting me enough to give me keys to her place, lending me her small camera, and even going as far as giving me her extra cellphone.  It was fun too, because Andrea also spoke french.  The two of us would keep boucing back and forth from one language to the other.   It was a chance for me to practice my french skills too since it had been a while.  Off I went, but I was coming back to Sao Paulo for the weekend as I was going to a soccer match with Elaine and friends.   I am still leaving stories out because I just dont have the time to put every good detail in but believe me when I say there are others....

Some of the pics in here are from when I returned to Sao Paulo after my trip to the coast, I will add another entry, with even more great pics soon.  Keep checking... sorry it's been a while since my last entry...
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Pilieci on

Dude, I still collect the stickers.

Erika on

Hello Matt, it is good to see that you enjoyed our city. Although we spent few time together it was enough to have such a lot of fun e get to know the great person you are! Unfortunatly I could not go to the game with you and São Paulo lost. Until de next time!! Bye!!

Elaine on

Matt, really hope you´ve enjoyed your time here....
And next time don´t try to get us drunk or i´ll give you so many sake caipirinhas...lol!
Enjoy Rio and take care
Kisses, Laine

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