Yes I know. It is day 1 guys after traveling for what feels like an eternity. I love that I said bye to you all 3 days ago, and today i’m going OH HAI! Day 1 Y’ALL!
We arrived in Sao Paulo, (my mother fresh and chirpy from business class, me scarred and very quiet after issews with Ms Brazilia) at about 4pm today. We were picked up by one of the conference transport people, Charles (pronounced rather charmingly as “Shar-Less”). He spoke no English, us no Portugese, and he spent the 40 minute ride comparing English and Portugese words for random things we spotted whilst he drove like a madman. We nearly got taken out by a truck, a van, and a tiny hatchback.
First impressions of Sao Paulo – it’s like Malaysia! Faybee you would totally be at home here, I’m serious! the roads, suburbs etc look just like Malaysia.
When we started drawing near to hotel, I started noticing everything get nice. like, REAL nice. Like, Ed Hardy and Adidas stores, trees lining sidewalks, people looking hip. Restaurants, gorgeous ones, the kind you see in NYC. Then THE Armani flagship store. I drew a deep deep breath, reminding myself to come back here. And wouldn’t you know it, OUR HOTEL IS RIGHT HERE!
Yes y’all, for some reason our hotel is smack bang in the middle of, as our driver put it, “model and fashion place, no just best in Sao Paulo, but best in Brazil”. It was like I was coming home to the mothership.
We checked in, had long needed showers, and L, the conference director and director of the bilingualism unit of the education area here, took us to dinner. L is a fabulous man – intelligent, articulate, trendy, and totally gay in that great fabulous darling way without being over the top. He took us out and looked me up and down and immediately gleaned that I was a woman of taste, and set about, on our walk to the first bar, pointing out every single trendy restaurant and boutique in the area, whilst comparing them to NYC places i could get parallels from. I loved the man within 5 mins of meeting him.
He took us to a very cool bar with some amazing artwork, where we had our first real Brazilian Caipirinhas made with Cachaca. I had already had it, being Gupson drink making victim, but nothing like this – this was fresh, cool, fruity, and after drinking the first one, I was lightheaded. Uh huh. I also ate one of the things I had listed on my “to eat in Brazil” list – Pastelles! Yayy! These are light deep fried pastry type things that are puffed up with air. On the inside of them, they are coated with either a light layer of cheese or meat. Amazingly tasty and oh so easy to chomp down given their lightness. Have I said light enough times in this paragraph?
Then we walked across the street and went to what is meant to be a very trendy restaurant here – called Oba. It is fusion cuisine – Brazilian, Mexican and Thai all culminating in gastronomic success. Shan was a very very happy girl. Especially with the Carne Seca – Northern Brazilian beef dry cooked to tenderness. We also had different kind of Caipirinhas this time – with strawberry and melon bits and vodka poured over them. Bliss.
After dinner L took us for walk around area. He also pointed out another restaurant we’ll be going to on Saturday night – it looked phenomenal, like one of the ones in NYC i wanted to go to, with “wanker” oozing out of it, amazing decor and general wonderment. It also turns out our hotel is also directly across the street from one of the top shoe designers in Brazil’s boutique. And the entire area around the hotel for about 8 blocks is just shopping, wanker bars and great bistros and cafes. And safe!
So now back to hotel a very well fed and happy girl. Tomorrow – morning walking around area, then afternoon spent visiting an elementary school here. Maybe a big samba party at night! Whee!
Summary: all is well. food friggin awesome. drinks awesome. area awesome. now to just get my ATM card working coz it hasn’t worked thus far. *crying*