Sao Paulo Day 1

Trip Start Mar 20, 2008
Trip End Mar 28, 2008

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Saturday, March 22, 2008

Today we had a late morning. We had planned to start the day at 12 so we woke up at a leisurely 10am. Quite unlike my usual 'rigorous holiday' schedule as Raakhee would call it, SP didn't have as many sights to see around so it didn't make sense to start too early anyways. We had breakfast at our hotel which was very good with a selection of hot food, pastries and fruits. The fruit area was the most exciting one with watermelons, papaya and mangoes amongst the ranks. Brazil enjoys tropical climate all year round so these fruits are extremely tasty.

We had plans to go for a swim in between the breakfast and the time to meet S. However, R's sleepy instincts got the better of her and we decided to return to the room and take a short nap instead - this was not the last one for the day before the evening :)

S&M had offered to pick us up every time from our hotel - such kind people, I can't tell you. The plan for the day was to drive around the city, check out their new place which was being built and again enjoy some hearty Brazilian meals. Accordingly, we met at the hotel lobby at 12 and drove around the city. All my comparisons of SP with amchi-Mumbai were rendered useless when we actually got a glimpse of the city in the morning. SP is actually quite a nice city with lots of trees and greenery around to actually attract comparisons with KL or Singapore. There are also several condominium complexes, mostly high rise buildings, which complete the comparisons nicely with a Singapore suburb.

Our first stop was Lemilleseme (name of S/M's new building) which is in Perdizes (name of the area). This was a posh condo and was absolutely huge with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms with amenities like swimming pool, gym, play room etc. Next, we went to another apartment complex which was being proposed and we saw a massive apartment the size of our hotel lobby - this gave a great view of the city's reality where the rich were absolutely stinking rich and the poor were very poor.

Then Marcelo drove us around the city taking in the city's modern architecture as well as greenery. We drove through Paulista Avenida - the most popular street in Latin America and SP's key financial district. We also drove through the posh area of Jardin Paulistano (nice drive and lots of houses). We then drove to the Bolinha which was in Jardin Paulistano part of the city. This restaurant was famous for Feijoada (a traditional Brazilian speciality dish which is made of a black bean sauce with sausages, beef etc and pork, becon etc as accompaniments). We had been warned by S earlier that the portions would be massive and so they were!

We enjoyed the meal and probably ate at 150% of our capacity to be totally ready for another nap. Duly supported by Stacey, we decided to head back to the hotel for our afternoon siesta. S had mentioned that M was an expert at making Caipirianas and so she wanted us to visit their current place where he could fix us a drink.
 M lived up to his reputation and served the most amazing plain (lime) and passion fruit C's. C is made with crushed lime and heaps of sugar and ice eventually topped with a generous topping of crushed ice. Last year, when I had helped S with corporate finance, she had gifted me a C-maker and some hands-on training from M will now help me make some Cs in the future.

After finishing the drinks, which we had at M's mom's place (where M/S are currently staying), we had planned to go for a nice dinner at a place where they had live Brazilian music. But before we left, M's sister Sandra and her husband Carlos,  arrived and we managed to meet them play with their 14 month old daughter Louisa. An absolutely adorable child, she got quite friendly with R and played on her lap for quite a while. At one point, she refused to get off R's lap.

We then got to our dinner venue for the evening. After our heavy afternoon meal, we had unanimously voted for a lite dinner so went to a place which had an 'ala carte' menu. The restaurant was called Grazie a Dio (means Thank God) and was a bit of a drive from M's place. It had a selection of Brazilian dishes and most importantly had a live band playing. When we arrived at the place there were hardly any people around, but by the time we left, which was at 0030hrs, it was absolutely buzzing with activity. One notable thing about this place was that we were each issued with a card on arrival and every drink or dish we were served was entered into our card which we then paid before check-out.

We got back at the hotel at 1 and crashed immediately.
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