Day 46 :: Paulo Mendes da Rocha

Paulo Mendes da Rocha’s Brazilian Museum of Sculpture and a sketch.

I’ve realized that even though you can clear a large patch of the rain forest and pave it over for a city, you can’t change the weather. Today was dramatically slowed by torrential downpour – the hold-on-to-a-light-pole type. I woke to the almost violent sound of rain beating on the rooftops of adjacent buildings. People in the hostel were generally at a loss, pacing about waiting for the rain to subside. In the meantime I sat on the porch with a new roommate, a Harvard grad who fled the US to wait out the economic downturn some 16 months back and is now a legal resident of Rio de Janeiro; I guess teaching English to favela kids and living from pay check to pay check is better than struggling through the recession (<– sarcasm). As soon as the rain let up I scurried off in search of a few museums. Sure enough the momentary pause in down pour was just that; I made it a few blocks before it picked up again and I just plowed on.

What I thought was no more than a mile and a half (the distance between my thumb and index finger on a map) was surely much more than that – or maybe the fact that every car that passed me sent another wave of water over my lower half just made it feel longer. Eventually I made it to the Sculpture Museum. The 2006 Prtizker laureate Paulo Mendes da Rocha is a welcome change from the otherwise very bland contemporary work seen throughout most of the city.

I cabbed it home and was greeted by Mafalda who insisted we go to an all-you-can-eat Sushi place with a mixed group of new tenants (two girls from Boston, two girls from London, two guys from Liverpool, and three natives of the city). 600 Reals later, the new motley crew was nearly incapacitated from imminent mercury poisoning. I would say the night ended well at that point, however the cab broke down on the way home and so a new Brazilian friend, Alberto and I pushed this old man’s beaten up old taxi some 5 blocks in the rain; when he got it started finally, he just drove off. We walked home soaked again.

The rain will continue throughout the duration of my stay here in Sao Paulo, so expect a slower than normal tour of the city.

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