Day 45 :: New York City Redux

General pictures of Sao Paolo and, yes, finally a haggard picture of myself and two new friends caught off guard.

When I got to the Brasilia International Airport, things were in more disarray than usual; I thought nothing of it at first until I realized that all flights in and out of Chile were canceled. I opened up the New York Times on my phone and sure enough, an earthquake 400x that of the one that hit Haiti ripped through Chile. It’s odd how this trip has been especially plagued with disasters: two days before my departure Port-au-Prince is annihilated; two days after I leave Caracas, political unrest spills into the streets; while expelling demons from my ill-ridden body in Quito, a string of baby earthquakes jiggle the city; as I arrive to Cusco, thousands of stranded people are being helicoptered from the now partially washed away Inca trail and the flooded Machu Picchu; while in Buenos Aires and Montevideo record high heat waves pounded the cities below; and now this. Mother nature and I have been shadowboxing for months now and either she is just too feeble an opponent or I am just lucky as hell.

Regardless, I arrived in Sao Paolo with no troubles. After checking in at the hostel, I sat in their patio to enjoy that post-flight, back-ache-from-oversized-backpack-relieving cigarette on the patio when this bubbly Portuguese girl named Mafalda introduced herself and asked if I would care to join her and her Chilean friend Rodrigo (pictured above in a totally ad hoc photo op; I often get a lot of guff for never taking touristy pictures of myself and so this should briefly appease those who insist on on such pictures) a brief tour of the black market street market of Marzo 25, some nearby museums and the Mercado Municipal. Knowing I would have likely loafed around alone otherwise, I gratefully agreed. We left immediately and within the hour became good friends. It’s strange to think that in the comfort of your own home/neighborhood/city how incredibly easy it is to dismiss people and places you don’t know, taking refuge in the familiar; I was never overtly social or outgoing but traveling has seemingly loosened me up, I can’t help but realize. The company was much appreciated, however it happened to come to being.

Several hours and a few passing rainstorms later we came back ‘home’ to rest before dinner. Around 8 PM I woke up to Mafalda and Rodrigo standing over my bed waiting for me to wake up; I was late. Creepy bastards. Groggy and confused I hopped up and we went off to a neighborhood Churrasco and got stupid full on grilled meats. 90 minutes of gorging later, we crawled back to the hostel where there was news of some sort of epic party outside of the city. Everyone was quick to sign up and when I asked (like an old man, mind you) when we would return, I simply got the answer, “before noon tomorrow.” Exhausted from another long day on my feet, I accredited my inability to participate on account of work and stayed behind.

Sao Paolo can only be described as the NYC of South America – an incredible sprawl of architecture and a varied demographic to match. My first impression – possibly on account of good company and good eats – has been a very positive one, plus there is no Oscar Niemeyer in sight (ok, I’m done hating). This is the concrete jungle I have been yearning for.

Tomorrow, the Museu de Arte de Sao Paolo and the Museu de Arte Moderna.


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