|Coming in on the Marginal Tietê|
|The monstrous Holiday Inn Anhembi|
There were days when we thought, Hey, let’s ditch the event and take the subway to our favorite São Paulo neighborhoods. At least that way, we figured, we’d be reminded of the best of São Paulo. Unfortunately, the closest subway stop was so far from the hotel that we needed to take the hotel’s shuttle bus to get there. Then there was the subway itself. When did it get so big? When did the transfers get so complicated? Where did all those people come from? I tell you, during one of these rides (okay, it was a Friday at rush hour) Mark and I were so packed and wedged and shoved in that we panicked and forced our way out of the car at whatever the next stop was. We managed to find a taxi, only to end up stuck in one of São Paulo’s forever and endless traffic jams.
But it wasn’t all bad, since we did find our way to São Paulo’s renowned Bienal exhibition of avant-garde art in beautiful Ibirapuera Park, where the piece we liked best was a huge mural on the entrance wall called "Map," by the Chinese artist Qiu Zhijie. Since it was all in English, most Brazilians walked right by. But Mark and I spent a long time studying it, sometimes laughing out loud at its ingenuity.
We also passed through the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art right next door, where an exhibit of hundreds of personal shopping lists caught me up. I must have read each and every one. How could I not? I’m a list-maker from way back!
Doesn't look like much in the pictures, but once you get up close and start reading . . .
We also did our share of ooh-ing and ah-ing at São Paulo’s Municipal Market, an absolute must-visit for me. Walking around the Market, with its unbelievable wealth of gastronomic offerings, I almost — just almost — thought about moving to São Paulo. For about a minute.
Here's just a slice of what's on offer:
A visit to Avenida Paulista is always de rigueur for us; it’s the heart of the banking and office building sector and there are always interesting art exhibits in, or just off of, the bank lobbies. There’d been lots of changes, but we did, as always, pass by one of the last — if not the last — old coffee baron mansions still standing, albeit on its last legs.
Residência Joaquim Franco de Mello, circa 1905 . . .
. . . and circa 2014 . . .
Still and all, what for us was the best part of getting away? Coming home.
I’ve ended my third year of blogging! I made a half-assed promise (to myself) to continue through the 2016 Olympics. Maybe by then I’ll have said everything I have to say about Brazil. Or not.