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It couldn’t have been a better beginning for our round the word trip!
But the euphoria was felt only as hindsight. There were numerous details to take care of before we could let all of this sink in. Immigration was a breeze, but our travel cards didn’t work at the airport (or so we think, the instructions were in Portuguese!). Several of the above exchanges led us to the “airport express bus” to take us to our Couchsurfing home in Sao Paulo.
The almost hour long journey began. It was only then that we realised, “Wow, we are after all in Brazil. Finally! It has actually happened!”
Family in Sao Paulo, thanks to Couchsurfing
They welcomed us into their home, a cosy little paradise, filled with love and people! Steven introduced us to his wife Patricia, daughter Louana, her two grannies, the two cats and two dogs, all of whom lived into what would be our home for the next few days.
The house was more of a lesson in responsible living. Sao Paulo was going through its worst drought in over 60 years. Steven and Particia had made every effort to conserve water in their house – water harvesting, recycling of water, even considering shifting to a more water conservative washing machine!
He was kind enough to invite us for this picnic. It was a beautiful sunny day. The park was filled with people engaged in all sorts of colourful activities. Trampoline and swings were set up. Some families had got props for story telling. There was a table full of fresh, healthy food. Adults were busy in building a community dining table as a permanent fixture in the garden.
Sao Paulo and street art
Sao Paulo, and specially the area we were living in, Vila Madelena, is the graffiti capital of this region. Specially a winding street called “Beco do Batman” (Batman alley!). We (and everyone we asked) have no idea where the name came from!
This is also where all the bars are. It is an entire block full of them. This was the go to place during the football world cup (of course here, you only call it the world cup, and yes, they still hurt over the remote hint of 7-1). We could only imagine what the place must have looked like, a street full of football crazy fans (or should we say worshippers?).
One particular bar, is more like a football museum. Each wall, table, even the ceiling is lined with photos of football matches and players. The server there greeted us with “India? Don’t you guys play cricket there? Welcome to Brazil, have a good time here!”
A funny thing happened in our first couple of days in Brazil, walking through the streets of Sao Paulo. At any intersection, a car would wait for us to cross and we would almost always think that the car at broken down. Being so conditioned to “running for your life” while crossing roads, this was our first big cultural shock!
Sao Paulo, the cultural capital of Brazil
We weren’t surprised at all by this claim. Each day we spent in Sao Paulo, we learnt of a new museum here.
How many cities claim to have a museum of their national language? Yup, that’s right!
Sao Paulo June Festival
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