São Paulo, Street Art and Senna

Trip Start Dec 04, 2012
Trip End Jun 16, 2013

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Monday, December 17, 2012

My arrival into Sao Paulo was met with the biggest downpour I've seen on this trip to date. Not to understate the city but from research and personal opinions this felt like it only needed to be a stop off on the way to Iguacu Falls.

I began touring the most recommended area to me, which luckily was close to we're i was staying. Santa Maria barrio is the artistic, bohemian quarter by day and thriving bar district at nightfall. I searched out 'Beco De Batman' which is a little lane way known to locals with good street art and graffiti. Searching for this street in the downpour was interesting, especially when juggling map, bag, umbrella and camera. The lane way was small, but I appreciated the artistry in what was my first real taste of graffiti in South America. The remainder of the day was spent touring the cities visiting museums which, on Monday, were 'fechado'. Unknown to me then, but well versed to me know, museums are closed in SA on Mondays. Instead I ventured into the Japanese quarter to check it out, but there was little here so after a few hours out I returned to the hostel to research and rest.
My feeling after day one was that São Paulo and its residents are like a couple no longer in love, but staying together for the kids. I feel like the city and its people don't appreciate one another anymore, the city with its grey, dominant buildings and the people with their vocal frustration of infrastructure and entertainment.

Day 2 was brighter both in climatically and with the amount of Sao Paulo I experienced and enjoyed. I finally arranged a meeting with Carine, a friend of Maia's and we agreed to meet up in a nice neighbourhood and have lunch in a middle eastern restaurant. As promised by Maia I felt instantly at ease with Carine and we had a long lunch chat getting to know one another. Carine is a remarkable girl, both with the experiences she has been through and the new challenges she is embarking on. Luckily for me I sensed her brightness and energy so we put a plan together for the afternoon which included visiting the grave of Ayrton Senna, a museum exhibition, checking out a couple of neighbourhoods and then finishing by watching the hobbit (in Spanish) with subtitles (provided on screen and by Carine ("ha ha ha").

For one of Brazils most adored and revers sporting icons the sight of Aryton Senna's grave, cordoned off by twisted black and yellow tape, a tatty Brazilian flag and dying flowers wasn't what I expected. I believe ha had wished to be laid to rest somewhere quiet and out of the way, such was his character, but a certain level a respect needs to be paid and for us that was missing. It was sad to see his resting place not living upto the expectations we had set. Aryton was my first sporting hero and I remember watching the grand prix the day it happened. It was also my first experience with a remote raggedy and one that could affect me. Seeing his resting place was very sad but I was also really happy to have visited and paid my respects for what he had achieved. To that end me and Carine tidied up his grave, and each put out flowers down for him, yellow and green for the Brazilian national colours. I rubbed my fingers across his name on the golden headstone, thanked him and wished him peace. As we walked away, on this quiet, hot, still day, the Brazilian flag fluttered, on its own in the breeze. In my mind that was a thankyou.

Afterwards me and Carine visited the Museum of Sound and Image where the was an exhibition showing videos, artefacts, relics from the very first USC video to present day. The exhibition documented the history of music videos from the very first Elvis Presley inspired music videos to the present day films that are produced. Included in the exhibition were the milk bottle from 'Blurs coffe and TV' video, all the way too original sketches from the 'Take on Me' video by A-ha. The exhibition also showed music videos, split by genre, for example the shocking (Madonnas 'Like a prayer'), bizarrae (wheres your head at? sexual (videos seen through red peepholes), clever and original (OK GO).
I really enjoyed the exhibition which was finished by me and Carine choosing film clips in a photo-booth and having our own personal cinema experience (pulp fiction, the shining our two chosen scenes). No popcorn unfortunately.

To round off a really great day we decided to watch The Hobbit. My first experience of bilingual cinema which (although spoken in English) was surprisingly easy to follow in written Spanish. At points I needed Carine to translate Ork speak for me, which she did with aplomb, including translating "ha ha ha" into Spanish. Thanks Carine! :)

Before leaving Sau Paulo me and Carine had lunch a one of her favourite portuguese restaurants. The food was homely and tasty and a great way to finish my visit there. I really enjoyed the city, that being down to Carine's generous donation of time and effort and energy. She made the visit for me. I look forward to seeing her I'm London, Sydney or New York and being a male model for her new swimwear range when she turns her design to board shorts ;)
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