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Night 39 - The Real City of Såo Paulo - April 6, 2013

After several hours in the park, we found the car and headed over to an enormous mall.  The idea was to park there and take the train down to the historic city center to see the colonial architecture there.  We found parking easily and restrooms as well, but then learned that the trains were shut down for maintenance.  Time for Plan B, to explore the mall.  Nina led the way to the big bookstore where she browsed books and Rick checked out the latest video games.  After wandering around the mall for a while in fruitless pursuit of an Itaipava t-shirt, we found ourselves at a loss for things to do.  The ever-patient Rick started to get annoyed.  He said Brazil is not about museums and art and parks and bookstores.  It is about football and video games and the beach.  (Nina interpreting for him).  He decided to take us over the footbridge to the train, to see if it was back in operation.  Success!  He then led us into the heart of the old city.  From Monday through Friday this area is teeming with more than 2 million people, all peddling various merchandise, most of it copies of the real thing, and little if any of it taxed.  It folds up on Saturday at 2PM and is completely quiet on Sunday.  This being late on Saturday afternoon, the streets were pretty much deserted and only a few shops (and McDonald's) were open.  But we did find a store with knockoff watches to replace my Wal-Mart special that was trashed in Santiago.  For only US$12.50 I now have a very stylish modern watch, bigger and nicer than the old one, at about the same price.  It even says "Tommy Hilfiger" and not "Tommy Hilgifer."  Now I can tell the time without digging the mobile out of my pocket.  Success!  The streets were far from clean, and the buildings all sported some informal decoration in graffiti.  But still the place had a gritty charm.  Rick really came to life here in the old city, narrating the history and some entrepreneurial things he does there on occasion, buying low and selling for a profit to his friends uptown.  We trudged for a couple of miles, stopping briefly at a chaotic street party - streets closed and mobbed with people.  Against Rick's judgement we walked quickly in and out again, just to have the local experience.  No problems for us, although we did not linger there.  We finally arrived at the historic train station.  I took a few twilight photos, and we grabbed a train back to the mall.  


K really liked the architecture and contrasting colors on this street.

Rick, buying our train tickets at the old station.  He was the perfect host and refused to let us pay for ANYTHING!


It took a while and a couple of trains to get back to the mall and the car, then Rick drove us all the way back to our apartment, a good distance in the wrong direction for him.  What a great guy he is!

We found a bar near the apartment and had a nightcap of pastels and beer before collapsing in exhaustion into our bed!


  1. I guess you may have noticed that there is no "REAL" or "UNREAL" city. It is all about a multifaceted city that can englobe all kind of tastes. I will miss you guys, hope you enjoyed the diversity of São Paulo; as you could see there are lots of cities inside just one city. Hope you guys could really feel the welcoming warmth of our people and back more times... We will look forward visit you guys in Utah, which seems a lovely place and I am sure you both will be equally generous with us. About the blog, I really enjoyed but cant wait for the pictures of orchestra, pastel, Paulista Avenue and MASP building, and more arts - and you should show people the mall and how we have plenty of fruits a la carte with pão de queijos. We did lots of things, didnt we? :) Was a great adventure, indeed!
    - Nina

  2. Just curious: how much weight have you gained?

  3. I was curious as well. K says she won't even approach a scale for a month or two, but I gained exactly ONE pound. Have to keep in mind how much physical activity we were doing - mostly walking, walking, and more walking. Even using Metro and trains involved a ton of walking.