Thursday, August 20, 2009

25 days already!!?? actually now more like 34...agora

The post I have been meaning to share about São Paulo. Sorry it took so long...

Day 25 Already???!!??

So what can I say about my trip thus far….muito mutio bom. Muito interesante. I can’t believe I have been here for 25 days already. Doesn’t really seem possible. Let’s see. About a week and a half ago I went to Sao Paulo with Luciana, which I had been looking forward to for sometime now. So imagine leaving at 12am and taking a 6-hour bus trip that arrives at your destination only to find your room isn’t available until later that evening. So what do you do? Spend the day visiting museums and exploring the city of course! I’ve been well prepared for days like these because of college. Nothing I couldn’t handle.

When we arrived in the city I was a little surprised by its appearance. It wasn’t really what I expected at all. I guess I was picturing it to glamorous like New York, bright lights, and decadence but instead was astonished at just how populated it was. So many buildings contribute to the mass of this city. Kind of ugly. It was dark and dirty. Kind of like Baltimore maybe? And probably exactly why I liked it. Ha ha.

There is a building located in Centro (downtown) called the Altinor Arantes Building, where you can see views of the whole city from the top of it and the last day we were there Luciana and I decided to go. They put you in this little elevator that takes you up to the 35th floor and you see “dazzling panoramic views of Downtown Sao Paulo and surroundings” It was a little mind blowing and hard to look at for very long. A skyline of never ending masses. Buildings of every shape and size. The crazy part is I think I only saw a glimpse of the city but feel like I saw a whole lot!! The problem is, this city is just muito muito muito grande! Larger than New York in fact.

We stayed in a hostel called Sampa Hostel. I was located in an area of the city called Villa Madelena. It is known as the artistic, bohemian district of the city. I didn’t get to visit many of the galleries in the area but am planning a second visit in a month or so and have decided that will be my main focus. I am thinking it will be a good place for networking. Here are some images of some graffiti I walked by everyday on my way to the subway.

The hostel we stayed in was really nice and we met lots of interesting people from all over. (Italy, Canada, England, Germany, Mexico to name a few) We kind of stuck together and spent the majority of our time exploring the city together. Gringos unite! Ha ha. Here are a few images of the place we stayed in. It was so welcoming and the people there were very kind. Here is what it looked like!!

Here is a shot of the group with more to come later in this post!!


During the days we spent our time explore the magnificent cathedrals, museums and shops that line the streets of the city. In particular, I enjoyed our trip to a museum called Pinacoteca. It is an art museum that had some really interesting contemporary work. In particular, I was drawn to the work by Joao Loureiro who created sculpture entitled “Blue Jeans”. It was a huge, whale shaped sculpture made of Styrofoam and resin that has been covered with jeans. Here are a few images of the piece. To me this piece is a good example of how sculpture has the ability to transform spaces. The feeling I had when I walked up to the massive piece was phenomenal and also whimsical. Happy. Fun.

Another artist whom I was really impressed with was Norberto Nicola. I just about lost it when I saw his work. It is so visually stimulating. The way he creates his tapestries. They become something more. He pushed the boundary of his material. The work was very organic and the colors are so vibrant and eye popping. Made me want to start making some work inspired by these. Nicola is a Sao Paulo-born artist and one of the most important tapestry designers in Brazil. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2007 or I would already be trying to contact him about his work.

Here are some images of his work. The lighting in the space, everything. PERFECT.

Another museum I enjoyed more so in terms of the exhibition design was the Museu da Lingua Portuguesa. It is located right across the street from Pinacoteca. I was really impressed with how interactive the museum was and how well designed it was. Very contemporary and innovative. I snapped a few photos of this one area that was a whole wall of screens that played consecutively next to one another. Like it was in motions as one, a whole. Really, really interesting. Here there was just too much to see and by this time of the day, Luciana and I were getting really tired and cranky because we hadn’t been to bed. Nether the less I thoroughly enjoyed what I saw and highly recommend it.

When we returned to the hostel later that evening, we both slept for about 4 or 5 hours before going out that evening for pizza and later would meet with the group from the hostel. Pizza in Sao Paulo was pretty tasty. In Rio it is pretty good as well. Most people don’t order a simple pizza of just plan cheese or pepperoni. The pizza has usually 2 or 3 toppings. Here are a few of my favorites-

Calabresa: sausage, cebola (onions), and mozzarella. Alho: dried garlic with oregano and mozzarella. Presunto (ham), Caipurty (Brazilian cheese), oregano and mozzarella. Bernijela (eggplant), alho, and oregano, and mozzarella. Muito Bom! Yummy! Topped off with a bit of olive oil and you’re all set. The pizza is usually served in 2 slices of each flavor and you order usually 2 different kinds. Sometimes 3 if you are really hungry.

After stuffing ourselves with pizza, we went to this teeny tiny bar not far from our place. It was completely crowed with people and had a small group of musicians playing a variety of PBM (Popular Brazilian Music) The crowd was very different than what you might find in Rio. At the beginning I didn’t like it. It was a place where every few minutes you had to shift in order to let someone through. But towards the end of the evening I got use to it and had a lot of fun.

When we first arrived in Sao Paulo it was pretty cold. I wasn’t really prepared for this weathering seeing that being from Ohio, I thought, oh yeah. Old weather in Brazil, it is nothing like where I live so I can handle it but when you mix cool weather with rain and windy it can be pretty nasty. The first day was like this and from what we had read in the forecast the weather was to remain like this our whole trip but fortunately it cleared up and turned out to be pretty nice the second day and stayed that way the rest of our trip. In light of this weather Luciana and I and our friend Martha from the hostel spent the day downtown in Parque Ibirapuera. I guess kind of like the “Central Park” of Sao Paulo. Really, really beautiful and lots of things to do there including free museums!! The MuseuAfroBrasil was my favorite. It had tons of work inside of it. Definitely too much for the amount of space it occupied but either way on of the best museums in Sao Paulo. In particular I was drawn to the work of artist Mestre Didi. We also visited a Japanese garden. Here are a few images from there.

Saturday night our hostel hosted a party for international travelers that turned out to be a lot of fun. It was 40 heis for all you can drink of cerveja and caiparinhas. It got pretty crazy, as you might’ve imagined.


Sunday was spent in an area of the city called Liberdade, which I discussed, in an earlier post when discussing the graffiti artist Titi Freak. Liberdade is home to the Japanese and Chinese community. There was a market with lots of handmade items that we searched through as well as lots and lots of delicious food. We ended up eating at a place that featured Japanese and Chinese cuisine. I had camarao (shrimp) tempura and curry. It came with a salad and miso soup as well. Tons of food for a pretty affordable price and it was absolutely worth the hour-long wait because it was delicious. Here is a picture of what I ate!!

Now Luciana’s

And Talel’s

Too much food for just one person!!

After devouring our delicious meals we attempted to walk off the guilt from all the good food we had just ate and visited a musuem called Masp.


Luciana and I had originally planned on leaving on Monday afternoon but made a spur of the moment decision to stay one more night. The hostel was cheap, the people were good company, and the weather was fantastic. What more could you ask for! We decided to spend the remainder of the day at the park again but were accompanied by a group of friends. Talel, Danielo, and Jordan. Here is a photo of us playing on their playground. See Saws!!!

You might have noticed that I have been talking a lot about the food and Sao Paulo and that is because they are known for having amazing food. I ate a lot while I was there and as much as I wanted to stay longer, it was probably best that I returned to Rio!!

Here is a picture of Luciana and a famous Brazilian chef we had the pleasure of meeting as well as having a traditional French meal in his restaurant. The meal consisted of three courses: a huge salad with nuts and a tangy dressing, a large piece of steak that was covered in a creamy sauce had kind of a tart flavor and French fries. For dessert the waiter serves you a huge scoop of chocolate mousse. All for about $25.00. Not bad at all.

and the final image...a picture of me hanging out in the hammock our last night in São Paulo!! a relaxing trip! now it´s back to my home in Rio!! I´m a true Carioca tambem.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

eu falo portugues...well kind of

For the past couple of weeks I have had a few experiences where people have asked me for directions which I find kind of humerous. I was going to the bus stop the other day and a woman was waiting there for the bus and muito rapido asked me if the bus comes here today. I told her to say it slower...devagar para me por favor..and I was able to answer her question! but then about 15 minutes later while I was on the bus the woman next to me was looking for someone to rant to and unfortunately she picked the wrong person to sit next to. I tried really hard to understand what she was saying and was pretending to acknowledge all of her words and thoughts..just didn't have anything to say or contribute..and somehow it was ok. I could make out she was upset about the cost for the long it takes to get from the area we were in to the metro stop..and then some other words..mentioned the television? Americans? I don't know what else..a few things..ha ha. I was going to tell her I didn't understand but decided to just go with it and see what happens..

Luckly I started meeting with a tutor this week so that will help. I also am going to be volunteering in a favela in Copacabana. There is a school right when you enter that is looking for more volunteers who speak english and I went there with a friend who organizes a program there. I met with the coordinator and told her about my teaching experience and we are setting up a class with students that are interested in art. I brought in the recent frames I made and they said the students would enjoy working on something this so I am going to do a workshop. Very exciting! I've become much more comfortable getting around now and speaking more of the all comes within time.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Samba in Brasil

Another busy week has gone by and another one is about to begin. On Saturday I went to an area of the city called Zona Norte and saw one of the samba schools perform. They are already getting ready for carnaval can you believe that??!! Their are several samba schools but the one I saw was called Salgueiro.Basically you pay 6 dollars to go and dance and watch the group perform. It was amazing! The way the dancers move and how quickly. Whoa! I could not keep up but had fun trying. Samba is really difficult! but it was a lot of fun since we were all gringos and didn't really know what we were doing!! ha ha. For carnaval there are several samba schools and each group performs one song that talks about the history of Brazil. I am hoping to visit where they make the costumes and floats sometime in the next month. I think it would be interesting to see. It is a large community project that everyone takes part in. Right now they are just determining which song they will perform for the show so we heard about 16 songs and each time people come around and hand out pamplets with the lyrics to the song. I went with a group of about ten people from lots of different places... New York, California, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and Brasil! Nice mix of people!

This is kind of what it was like. Maybe not quite as crowded but still pretty full. I can't imagine being here in their summer which I am told is packed so full with people you can barely move!!

These are just a couple of images from Sagueiro's performance last year in Carnaval 2009. I can't even imagine...

Earlier this evening I found this documentary about music in Brazil and wanted to share part of it with everyone. It is kind of lengthy but interesting if you have the time. Explained a lot to me about the origins of samba and is a great summary of the history of music. I learned a lot. The first video is probably most benifical to giving you a taste of samba. Their are some clips of dancers in full costume. Just watch how fast they move!