Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Beach

Some images from our stay at Itamambuca; soundtrack for this available at http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6173318... You can see a Google map of our trip from Sao Paulo to Taubate to Santo Antonio do Pinhal back to Sao Paulo at http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=&saddr=Sao+Paulo+-+SP,+Brazil&daddr=Taubat%C3%A9,+Brazil+to:Santo+Ant%C3%B4nio+do+Pinhal,+Brazil+to:Av.+Itamambuca,+Ubatuba,+11680-000,+Brazil&mra=pr&sll=-23.186835,-46.085715&sspn=1.26489,2.570801&ie=UTF8&z=9&om=0.

The last picture in this group is what happens when you have about 20 people staying in one house-- creative methods of drying things...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ed and 'Na's wedding

Matt in a suit is a rare event. Fortunately for both of us, we don't go to many weddings. However, Ed and 'Na's wedding was lovely-- in a beautiful setting, with great preparations and everyone in a very good mood.

First days in Brazil-- Santo Antonio do Pinhal

The first picture is a reminder that we arrived in Sao Paulo on Christmas Day. Even though I grew up in the southern hemisphere, so I know all about wearing shorts on Christmas Day and having a barbecue for Christmas dinner, I really wasn't fully prepared for the contrast between 4 am in Edmonton, when we left our house, at -15 degrees Celsius, and touching down in +29 degrees and 98% humidity about 24 hours later.

We started off in Santo Antonia do Pinhal-- a very lovely little town in the inland mountains in Sao Paulo state, northeast of the city. The colors and murals are very striking-- we took a series of pictures of murals on the wall around the elementary school, but haven't posted them here. There was a lot of construction going on in town.

You kind of have to bend your head to get the first one right, but the last set of pictures are from our pousada (bed and breakfast). We had a great time exploring the town, which is quite small and walkable.

Exploring Sao Paulo-- downtown and the Immigrant Memorial

Matt's email acquaintance, Andre, came up from south of Sao Paulo to take us around the city. We went by subway downtown through the main train station at the Praca do Luz, to the Pinacoteca, where we saw some wonderful Brazilian art from the early 1800s through contemporary. Then we took the commuter train and ended up at a churrascaria where we had an amazing lunch-- much better than even the best Brazilian steak house I've eaten at in the US-- and back to the hotel. The next day we went out on our own by subway to the Immigrant Memorial, where we got an excellent orientation to the diversity of immigrants to Brazil from the 1800s through the 1970s, when the Immigrant Hostel closed its doors. The thatched cottage is a replica of the kind of accomodations most immigrants would have had when they went to work on the coffee plantations in Sao Paulo state-- there were also coffee plants and bougainvillea (a plant from my early years in southern Africa-- although in Brazil they're trees, not just vines!).

The funky store with the gorgeous mural is just one of a huge amount of outdoor art in Sao Paulo. Much of the city is covered in murals, which may be commissioned or may not-- but in general, it's far more extensive and sophisticated than even very good graffitti in other cities. This building is just one example.

exploring Sao Paulo-- Mercado Municipal

Fabiola very kindly took us to the Mercado Municipal, a giant warehouse of a market, with an upstairs loft where you can buy food and beer-- we tried pastel do bacalhau (cod pastry) and I had Brahma Black, which I highly recommend if you like dark beers. Then we went down and bought some very weird tropical fruits, as well as some that weren't weird, at least not to me-- particularly guavas, which I haven't had much access to since I was a kid. Mangoes are easier to find in north America, so I didn't spend too much time on those. The fruit was pretty amazing-- both visually and gastronomically. The spots on the camera lens on the picture of Fabiola delivering the next round of beers come from the spray being blown about by fans to cool the air-- mostly adds to the humidity.

Sao Paulo-2

More views of the monster city-- all kinds of contrasts. The first three pictures are from our apartment balcony-- looking out, then looking down, then looking in at a typical scene-- Matt on the computer working diligently to communicate with people as he got ready for the show. The next four pictures are from Ibirapuera Park, which is quite centrally located in Sao Paulo; the second is of a radio tower outside our apartment window on Alameda Jau, two blocks from Avenida Paulista.