Peter has to work in São Paulo so once again we decided to go with him. I needed some Christmas spirit in a metropolitan city.
We usually stay at Staybridge flat hotel which is located in the Itaim Bibi area. I love this part of the city. It is walking distance from a lot of places. This time however the hotels were full to bursting (just like Bethlehem was at this time of year). So we stayed at Mercure Paraíso Hotel which is in the area of Paraíso. Not a very nice area from where we were standing. We checked in around dinner time and went to a nearby sushi restaurant. As we are waiting to cross the street to the restaurant we watch as a homeless person walks in to the garden beside the restaurant, pulls down his pant and takes a dump. Peter and I just looked at each other and turned around, called for and Uber and went to more familiar ground; Itaim Bibi. Found a nice sushi place called Nagayama and enjoyed Sakerinhas, edamame and salmon.
Museu da Imigração
After a leisurely breakfast (at which the kids ate cake Brazilian style) we took an uber to the Museu da Imigração do Estado São Paulo. The museum is located in the Moóca neighborhood in east São Paulo. It is housed in the original processing center for immigration. This was where the immigrants were registered, processed and lived in dormitories until transportes to their new homes. As Europeans poured into Ellis Island on the east coast of North America in the early 1900s, other Europeans with similar dreams poured into São Paulo.
We arrived soon after the doors opened for the day and we found we had the museum all to ourselves. The exhibition is well worth a visit especially with the audio headset in English.
The exhibition was very informative and nicely done. It is an important piece of history to understanding how Brazil was populated first by indigenous tribes, then Portuguese colonists who brought slaves from Africa, then came the immigrants when slavery was abolished and a new workforce was needed to work the coffee plantations. It is truly fascinating to understand how Brazil’s population changed over the centuries to become the colorful and diverse “Brazilians” that I am fortunate to live alongside every day.
We ended our visit at the museum cafe “Cantina” with a coffee and a chocolate chip cookie. Kids agreed it was good but not as good as mommy’s. 😉
Johanna and Oliver
In the afternoon we met up with Johanna and Oliver at a playground in a park close to where she lives. These past couple of days have been so hot that we felt like we were melting. Had a nice time hopping from bench to bench in an attempt to avoid the moving sun while catching up and watching the kids play.
Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo
On Wednesday morning the kids and I took an Uber to the art gallery “Pinacoteca”. Pinacoteca means “picture gallery”. Beautiful building but questionable location. After the gallery we took a stroll through the adjacent park. Felt very shade and made me uncomfortable so we turned around and went back to the sanctuary of the gallery. The gallery was very interesting and had interactive educational exhibits for children. They got to hang their own gallery on a magnet wall and see the effects of sticky fingers on ancient stone sculptures. The entrance fee is only 3BRL so it is definitely worth a visit.
I had the kids pack their paper pads and pens. Before we entered the gallery they were told to choose a favourite painting to draw. Oddly they chose the amoeba like art, which I guess is easier than a renaissance portrait. I love visiting museums with the kids. They ask so many questions, complicated questions that make me have to think about the answer really hard.
Two paintings fascinated me; they were oil on canvas portraying Brazil in the beginning of the colonisation. The works are not based on experience but rather on hearsay and show the misperceptions and prejudices europeans had regarding the foreign land called Brazil.
We attempted a walk through the park to get to some restaurants but as I said we didn’t get that far and ended our visit with esfirras at the gallery café. The café is located in the basement with tables inside and outside facing the questionable park. Feels rather forgotten and rundown which was why I didn’t want to have lunch there in the first place.
One of the reasons I wanted to come to Sao Paulo was to get some christmas shopping done. Johanna suggested we go to Eldorado which is a giant mall located in Pinheiros. Geographically it wasn’t very far from where we lived but traffic in the afternoon is terrible. Walking is faster than taking car in rush hour. So we got in an Uber as soon as Peter got off work to go the mall. Seven kilometers took about 45 minutes. I was sitting in the back with the kids and noticed how James started wiggling his legs and knew that we have to get to a toilet or worst case a bush. Eventually James admitted with a tortured face that he had to go. So the last 15 minutes was a frantic search for somewhere we could stop so that he could go. Luckily we made it all the way to the mall and could use the bathroom, bless his bladder. In times like those, time just seems to stand still.
The shopping itself was great and there were lots of restaurants. They had a dinosaur playground in the foyer so we registered the kids to have some fun for 30 minutes while Peter and I did some turbo shopping. A really great mall, really recommend it.
Thursday morning we had a nice breakfast before checking out and getting in the taxi to go home. It was nice to have breakfast with Peter for once. He is usually off to work by the time we get down to breakfast. Love spending time in São Paulo so until next time. Até mais!