Barra Funda & The Samba

With 37 degrees Sao Paulo is hotter than ever! Even the Paulistanos complain about this insane temperature. These past couple of days I was just relaxing and seeing the city. I visited the Altino Arantes (161 meter skyscraper with a great view of Sao Paulo) and the famous Pinacoteca museum. I tried to do this the day before, but I wasn’t allowed in to the building because I had no id on me and the Pinacoteca museum was closed that day. So I ended up seeing the Municipal market and a lot of metro stations ;-) But eventually I got to see it all.

I also went to the Samba bar in Vila Madalena, simply called “Bar Samba”! I was a bit nervous hahaha, because I have heard these stories about everyone is dancing at the end of the night. Everyone! So that also meant me I guess. And I don’t know any samba yet. The evening started out with a dinner and the Samba band playing slow songs. Then when the evening passed the band increased their tempo, people slowly started to get up, chairs and tables were put aside and eventually… I caught it! XD It was great! Everyone was doing there thing, dancing, chanting the songs and to be honest the band was the best! Also a professional couple gave away a little show and I knew right there that that was the way Samba is really danced!

I really like this metropolis Sao Paulo. And I have learned a few funny things during my stay here:

A zebra crossing doesn’t mean a thing. It is only an indication of where you might cross the street, but you are completely surrendered to the wrath of the cars deciding wether to stop for you or not.

Brazilians have a strange perception of distance. Many times when I asked the way, they tell me: “Oh, é perto daqui” meaning it’s nearby. In actuality this means a 2 – 3 km walk on a up-and-down landscape, which makes it even havier. So when I ask for directions and they tell me it is not so close I take the plane. Hahaha LOL

A firm “thumbs up” sign is the most used hand gesture. It used by everyone from waiters to police men on the street. It’s a constant check to see if you are on a good pace with each other.

If you see more and more street vendors, drug addicts and armed police forces it means you are entering a dangerous neighborhood. Make a right turn. Also, if you don’t see anyone openly using their smartphone, laptop, photo camera or mp3 player, there may be a reason for that. ;-)

In Europe we kiss three times on the cheek, in Rio de Janeiro two times, in Sao Paulo one time

It is funny how you can get used to things. In some places it is quite common for the wifi connection to fail for quite a period of time. Instead of complaining, you just go and do something else en try again like an hour later. Unthinkable in the Netherlands!! LOL

Sao Paulo is known for it’s marvelous Pizza’s. It’s true, I have tried a few. Decades ago there were a lot of Italian immigrants who brought the craft to Sao Paulo.

Brazilians eat diner in the afternoon and some snacks in the evening. I adjusted to this eating habit. In the beginning it was a bit strange to have a T-bone steak with rice, beans, salad and a desert around one o’ clock in the afternoon, but to be honest it is quite smart. You do actually use most of your energy in the afternoon and the evening. So why eat diner in the evening to subsequently hang on the coach watching TV!?

As long as I don’t open my mouth they see me for a Brazilian. I’m like an undercover Gringo. But I always blow my cover as soon as I start to speak or try to dance the samba! LOL. Hahahaha

These past couple of days I have also been planning the rest of my trip in Brazil. This last thing was quite a hustle. I had to decide which cities to pick, which cities to cancel and most of all how to get there? But then again, I don’t complain, because it’s a great full task :) Everyone I talk to has there favorite city or “must go to” place, but I can’t do ‘m all. I have also been told that getting around in Brazil is hard. I experienced it at first hand. For example, you’ve got dozens of competing bus companies in different places of the city, all driving to a different set of cities. I was also told you have to get your ticket way in advance and they mostly don’t speak English. So I just took a piece of paper, wrote down de dates I wanted to travel, the destination I wanted to go to and went to the Barra Funda (One of the major bus terminals in Sao Paulo). I could try and talk Portuguese, but I figured this was not the right situation and place to practice ;-). When I arrived there I saw dozens of ticket windows of the rivaling bus companies. I showed the piece of paper to the bus companies and picked the one that had like a normal price. You should never take the cheapest one, because you don’t want to end up in a shitty bus, with no airco for a 17 hour trip. Eventually I got my tickets and I must have looked very confident, because Brazilian people started asking me questions about the arrival and departure times of the busses Lol! Also getting around by plane is not transparent and really expensive. But finally I got the plan together!! This will more or less be my route:

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  • Sao Paulo
  • Paraty
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Salvador
  • Fortaleza
  • Jericoacoara
  • Manaus (Amazone)
  • Foz do Iguaçu
  • Back to Sao Paulo

Of course on the way everything can change. And it already did like an hour ago, because Foz do Iguaçu was going to be my last stop, but while I was writing I came to talk with this guy from Brazil, who later on happened to be a famous skydiver. I could do Iguazu easily in three days from Sao Paulo. So I’m heading for the Igazu falls tonight. It is a 17 hour ride, giving me flash backs of my teenage trips to Lloret de Mar in Spain. I planned it in the evening so I could sleep. Foz do Iguaçu! Off we go!!