Street Art and Unpronounceable Parks.
São Paulo, Part 2.
My lasting memories of São Paulo will be the street art, Ibirapuera Park, and the gorgeous family I Couchsurfed with for my final week in Brazil.
On my first night in the city I had asked the guys at my hostel if I had just one day in São Paulo what should I do? and a visit to Ibirapuera Park came top every time. It took me far too many attempts to be able to pronounce the name, but it wasn’t my failing Portuguese! I was told that the name of the park was indigenous and so I felt relieved as I repeatedly tripped over the word and it’s sixteen syllables.
The name aside, the park didn’t disappoint and I can see the attraction. Even on a week day, (I actually went down there a couple of times) the park was full of life. Families having picnics, couples holding hands, groups of friends hanging out drinking beer, people playing Ultimate Frisbee. I sat by the lake to finish off the podcast I had been listening to on the walk, and was approached by two black swans who assumedly were disappointed to discover that I wasn’t sat waiting to feel them bread. That is if swans are capable of feeling human emotions, and if Brazilian swans share the British palate for bread. I hadn’t ever seen a black swan in the flesh, or I guess the feathers, and while I guess if I were younger or more cool my first thought would be the Darren Aronovsky film of the same name, I my thoughts turned to the larger my dad used to drink in the 80’s, if you can still get in, and if it is 0.0% session… although I think that’s the white swan. I felt the reference date me.
Black Swans in Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo.
At the time of my visit there was an art exhibition in the centre of the park. An Urban Zoo with animals, real and imagined, made from recycled material. I also managed to wander across a drumming circle, which I found was part of a festival de amor, that the local hippies had organises. Who would have thought that São Paulo was such a hippie hot bed?
Having said this, one of the things that first struck me about São Paulo is how much it felt like Berlin. A European Utopia where punks, hippies, artists and entrepreneurs live together harmoniously. The people and the street art. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was about the street art that made me feel so much like I was in Berlin. Perhaps it was that the first time I walked out of my door I passed a mural of the Ramones. Yeah I guess that will do it. I’ve included some of my favourites frescos bellow.
Do you remember Rock and Roll Radio?
When Bowie met Pele.
Graffiti vs Street Art.
Sign for the women's toilets, Ibirapuera Park.
The family that I was staying with for this final week were amazing. I met Rici and his family at 9:30am and 15 minutes later I was at an open day at the children’s school looking at an art exhibition about Brazilian history and culture. Another 2 hours later a carload of us were having a day out at the beach. I was very much a baptism of fire, but the warms and hospitality that they continued throughout my stay.
On my second night with Rici and his family he had had a Brazilian BBQ on the patio, Ciaprihana and everything! Although having drank my fill in Rocinha, I decided to stick to the beer. They had invited family and friends and all their kids, there was even a dog running around. One of the families at the BBQ were from Lisbon, Portugal and so we were able to share stories about our times in Baco Alto, Figueira da Foz, and Montemor o Velho … I’d forgotten how nice it was to have people who share your reference points.
The gorgeous family I stayed with in São Paulo.
This was my first true experience of sofa surfing, sorry I mean Couchsurfing. We had been chatting for a couple of weeks before I had arrived, and so I didn’t feel like I was meeting a complete stranger. On one of my last nights we went to a Reggae Night on the other side of the city. I cooked us all a typical British meal (meatloaf and potatoes) before we headed out. I was told that the night started and 10pm, and had assumed that this would mean a couple of band until around midnight and possible a DJ…
In the UK live music is curfewd at midnight, but recorded music and Djs can play until the small hours, and so I was surprised to find out we were leaving at 10pm and relieved to see that there was still a band playing when we arrived at around 11:30pm. The Bob Marley Experience! I assumed these were the headline act with a DJ set to follow. This was not the case, they were in fact the opening act, and there were four more bands to follow. No DJ.
Shortly after we arrived at the Reggae Night, before all my drunken antics.
We rolled out of the venue at 5am, some of us more literally with others, having dances our socks off and made a handful of new friends. It was the perfect swansong to my stay in São Paulo Paulo and my time in Brazil.
Thank you Brazil for the amazing memories, and massive hugs to everyone that I met along the way. I’ll be coming back for more... one of these days.