São Paulo, January 13, 2007 - Saturday
Trip Start Dec 31, 2006
17Trip End Jan 13, 2007
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I asked the receptionist if I could leave my things in the hotel until some time in the afternoon. She duly took them in, so I was soon in the street, starting my last sightseeing day in São Paulo for this occasion, at least.
I decided to visit the zoo today. I gave it a thought for a moment as to whether to go on foot, but I realised the distance to cover was too large, even for a walker like me, at least on a day when my time was not unlimited
Coming back up the surface, out from the Jabaquara station, I found myself on a bus terminal. According to the information given in "Lonely Planet", one could take a local bus to the zoo there. However, my Portuguese caused me to spend some time in search before I picked up the threads as to how to go on. It turned out, though, that everything was pretty well organised. Within the bus terminal itself, there was a window where tickets were sold which included transport to the zoo and back, and the entrance fee. I took my place in the queue and when it was my turn to buy the ticket, I did my asking in English. But the young guy who was selling tickets surprisingly spoke some. As all other Brazilians I had ever come in touch with, he too was very friendly, so he asked:
"Where are you from?"
"Ah! Suker!" he answered with a thumbs-up and an almost ubiquitous comment whenever I am outside Europe. If they heard about Croatia in the first place. The other half of people, those who don't follow football, have no clue whatsoever where I could possibly be from, of course.
A minibus, full as a sardine tin can, shortly took us to our destination.
Zoo garden in São Paulo was in many ways a nice surprise to me. Much greener than most of those I had visited, it appeared to have more humane cages for quite a number of animals and I liked it. Whereas the impression of greenery might have been expected regarding the season and the locality of where I was, the cages didn't need to be the way they were. Actually, some of those "cages" were no cages in the real sense of the word at all. In the zoo there was a rather large artificial lake with usual water birds, but also with - at least for me - unusual islets. Each of them had a pygmy tree or two, a little wooden house or two, and was a home to one monkey or lemur species. The islets were far enough from each other, so those primates couldn't pass from one to another. And the fact that there were no fences around them, but only water, gave everything a much more merciful note. What exactly monkeys and lemurs thought about it, I couldn't say. But I suppose that whoever had come to such an idea assumed they would feel better on such an island than in an iron cage. And I shared that opinion.
There were more gems in the zoo and all in all my time there was pleasant. And then, some time around three thirty it started to rain. At first I tried to hide away, but eventually I realised it didn't look as the rain would stop any time soon. So I had no choice but to leave Jardim Zoologico.
Some three hours later I was at the Guarulhos airport. While I was in the queue to check in on the flight to München, I had an opportunity to extend my stay in Brazil for one more day. Lufthansa was looking for volunteers of some sort. One guy was going from person to person in the queue, asking them if any would be willing to stay on. Lufthansa was covering all the costs and giving each volunteer seven hundred Euro to boot. For a moment I was considering the offer. But they never specified what it was about. If they had, maybe I would have signed on. This way I didn't.
Instead, I left São Paulo and Brazil on schedule.