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Sao Paulo

After Brasilia, we flew to Sao Paulo.  For me this visit had a special meaning, since I was going to meet for the first time a dear old friend, Gianfranco, who moved here practically at the same time that I moved to California.

I met Gianfranco in a translator’s forum 30 years ago.  At the time he was living in England, then he moved to Sardinia and later to Brazil.  We had exchanged countless emails and messages over chat, but we never had the chance to meet in person.

It’s been thanks to Gianfranco if I got the opportunity to get a job at eBay and move to California.  It was him who passed me the job post.  I remember that day as if it were yesterday.

Meeting a friend!

We also had the opportunity to get to know his girlfriend Izabel, the kindest person in the world!  Both of them have been very nice to us, showing us parts of the city that are off the beaten path and treating us for lunch at the Edificio Italiano, a beautiful historic Italian restaurant.

This made our visit very special, so much different from Brasilia.  One thing is to visit a city going around with a Guide book.  Another thing is visiting a city while catching up with old friends.  Thanks to them in only 3 days we saw the things that normally would require at least a couple of weeks.  Also Joaquin and Monica were very impressed and grateful for such warm hospitality!

Sao Paulo is fantastic.  You have everything.  We even found an authentic Japanese restaurant.  Not in Libertade, which is the Japan Town though.  Very little authentic Japanese is left there.  But the Japanese House Cultural Center is fantastic, and they have a great restaurant.

Japanese House Cultural Center in San Paulo, Brazil

We visited the Art Biennal  (disappointing), the Afro-Brazilian museum (very interesting), the Museum of Modern Art (in the beautiful Ibirapuera Park), the Latin American Memorial, the Salão de Atos Tiradentes (we learned about Tiradentes in Ouro Preto…), a wonderful exhibition by Marc Ferrer and so much more.  Izabel and Gianfranco orchestreted a perfect visit of the city.

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The Avenida Paulista where our hotel was, was once full of nice houses like this one, until late ’50s.  Then they started to build high rises and the only house that remains is this one, the Casa da Rosas, built in 1936.

Casa das Rosas, San Paulo, Brazil

The good thing about having the hotel on Avenida Paulista was that during the weekends they close the whole avenue to the traffic, it become pedestrian and there are a lot of street artists and bands playing music.

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We also visited the beautiful Mercado municipal, with more than 200 stands that sell all type of food.  We tasted fruit that we’ve never seen before!

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On the last day, Izabel and Gianfranco as the icing on the cake managed to take us on top of one of the most bizarre buildings I’ve ever seen in my life:  Edificio Copan, 38 stories tall and 1,160 apartments.  Practically a city in the city.  Designed by Oscar Niemeyer with a characteristic S shape, there is a road passing through the building.  The view of Sao Paulo from the top was unbelievable.   After exploring the city from below, only now we could truly understand the scale of it.  Impressive.

View from Edificio Copan, San Paulo, Brazil

Thank you so much Izabel and Gianfranco for the warm hospitality and for your generosity.  We’ll never forget this visit.  And of course you have an open invitation on board Oroboro!

The night before leaving we had dinner with Philippe and Frédérique and their daughter.  Philippe is a retired Physic professor at the University of Sao Paulo and member of the board of the Brazilian Cruising Association.  He’s an excellent sailor who has crossed with his wife on his boat Kilimanjaro a couple of times to Cape Town.  We met him for the first time on our arrival to Ilha Grande, our friend Allan Ward kindly made the introductions.  It was fun to listen to their stories on how they started sailing, how they crossed to Cape Town and how they sailed all the way down to Buenos Aires.  Even Joaquin who is an old salt was very impressed.  There is always a lot to learn from other sailors.

We had a lot of fun during this week in Brasilia and Sao Paulo.  But it’s now time to get back to Oroboro.  We miss her!

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