Friday, March 23, 2012

São Paulo

The reason I didn't list São Paulo in my last post as one of the places we'd like to visit is because we've been there a few times now. Actually Otto has been MANY times now, as he has to go frequently for work.

On our first visit back in November(!), we visited Avenida Paulista. Lots of shopping, the art museum (MASP), and this park which was our first stop after parking the car and getting our bearings. It is called Parque Trianon, and is one of the oldest parks in São Paulo.

It's a nice breath of tropical lushness - huge, big, deep, old green - in the middle of lots of concrete and traffic.

Most of the trees are thoughtfully labeled. This one is an "iron-wood" - wouldn't want to try and chop it down. :o) I love the variations of color in the bark.

There were some spectacular Christmas decorations up and down the avenue. (Sorry, I'm a bit late here.)

Santa's sleigh was parked in one of the shopping centers we meandered into.

We also found this HUGE bookstore and probably spent an hour in here perusing and reading. Andy was particularly happy as there aren't many books in English at the stores here in Santos.

We then walked over a block or two and down several...

and ate lunch at Figueira Rubaiyat with it's huge tree growing from within. Que chique!! It was very tasty.

As we walked back up to Avenida Paulista we ran into a rain storm and probably the most exciting part of the afternoon. The rain lasted about 15-20 minutes, but before our very eyes a white-water rapid formed in the street!

It was amazing and thrilling and mind-boggling all at the same time. The restaurant across from where we took cover even had a ready-made dock for its patrons to be able to reach their cars sans-soggy feet. We asked some people working in the shop behind us, and apparently this happens quite regularly!

Once the rain stopped, the water cleared out and we made it back up to the avenue, we decided to show the boys what a metro station looked like. Once we were down there they begged and pleaded. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can we ride on the metro???!!!! And we said, "It's just like any other subway, we don't need to actually RIDE on it." And they looked as us like we were crazy and said, "But we've never BEEN on a subway before!!!" And Otto and I looked at each other and said, "Really?" And they just gave us this look like, "You are our PARENTS - shouldn't you know these things?!" So we took a ride on the metro.

And we had two VERY excited boys with us.

We ended up riding to the São Bento Monastery. We heard at times you can catch the monks chanting, but this was no such time. So we admired the stained glass and enjoyed the solitude for a bit, then headed out.

And a somewhat fuzzy shot of us at a cafe across the street from the monastery before hopping back on the metro to make our way back home.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Sam had his puzzles out this morning, so we decided to take a photo of all the countries where he has lived.

We were discussing the shape of Brasil (Brazil), and how it's really shaped like a mini South America. It's a little bumpier on top, and not as long, but very similar. Washington State seems to have gone missing. It's around somewhere - the puzzle was complete when we unpacked everything six weeks ago. Oh, Washington, where are you???

There are many places we'd like to visit while we're here. First up will be Argentina during the boys' winter break, and the list is growing daily for places within the borders of Brasil: Floronopolis, Rio, Curitiba, some town in the southern-most state of Rio Grande do Sul. We hear the state of Minas Gerais has the best food (better than here?!), and I haven't even begun to research any place in the Nordeste or near the rainforests in Amazonas. Since we only made it to three provinces (any we barely squeeked in that last one) while we lived in Canada, I'm sure we won't see everything we would like down here, but we'll try!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Who are the people in YOUR neighborhood?

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it on this blog yet, but one of my favorite things about living in Santos is that I walk almost everywhere in our day-to-day activities. The boys' school is very close, and the grocery store is across the street from the school. Shopping centers are nearby, as are many great restaurants and the beach.

Because we walk so much, we actually do have people that we know in our neighborhood, and it's so nice to say hi to them when we walk by. Because of this, I frequently have this song in my head from Sesame Street. Bob appears to be flirting a bit with the lifeguard in this clip.

There's the man that sells papers at the banca (newsstand), the people that make the pasteis at the corner near our house, the ladies at the Caramba! ice cream stand, and many more that give us a friendly wave and smile with a Tudo Bem? when we walk by. When I had a car and drove everywhere in The US and Canada, there were certainly familiar and friendly faces out and about, but they were never really a part of our neighborhood.

Now I can walk along and sing this and really feel like I'm living one of my favorite childhood songs. But I try not to sing too loudly. ;o)