Saturday, 23 March 2013

Another Day, another megacity...

Sao Paulo this time for two weeks of training my Brazilian colleagues in the ways of the dark side...

The flight from Heathrow was nearly perfect - I was whisked through security so fast in London that I even had time to watch the whole England game live.  Kind of wish I had been stuck in a queue for two hours now though given the result!  We were delayed at Heathrow for an hour for some reason but once in the air, everything was great.  The food was much better than Virgin Atlantic (to/from Shanghai) and even though the seats didn't fully recline like the Virgin seats, I was so much more comfortable as I could actually fit my shoulders in!  Entertainment system was much better as well - even got the noise cancelling headpones that reduce the sound of the plane when you switch them on.

Managed nealy 6 hours sleep (unlike the crappy virgin flight), though that may have had more to do with being knackered from the 2 hour bike ride I'd done in the morning (must remember to do that next time I fly long haul ;o)

Upon arriving at Sao Paolo, I was, well, a bit underwhelmed to be honest.  I hadn't really appreciated just how 'new' Shanghai looked until I was walking through the 'Posh' part of Sao Paulo and desperately not trying to trip over the broken concrete, open rain gutters and slippery tiles that make up the pavements.  Parts of it resemble a partly finished building site before they relaid everything.

Been to two places of note today.  First of all a little wander to Ibirapuera park to check out the running route there.  Its an urban park a bit like Central park in New York, with large lakes, a number of museums and ampitheatres all within it.  There is paved road (no cars allowed) with a cycle track and walking/running track marked out.  Today being Sunday it was heaving, be interesting to see what its like at 6:30am on a Tuesday morning though.
Huge sculpture on the entrance to Ibirapuera park.  Pity about the six lanes of traffic that surround it.

View from Ibirapuera park toward Jardim Paulista area of Sao Paulo.  It was raining, a lot
 I also went to MASP (Museum of Art, Sao Paulo), which has the largest collection of western european art outside of Europe  (Ohhh get me!).  It was virtually empty, so I got to wander around and stare at various works of Gainsborough, Turner, Constable, Renoir, Van Gogh, Monet and others to my hearts content.  Only a fiver to get in aswell - great way to spend the afternoon!
The MASP building.  Bloody ugly building, beautiful art inside it though.

Sao Paulo, 1965 called, it wants it's buildings back

View overlooking the Avenue Nove de Juhlo.  Typical of all the buildings in Sao Paulo.
Ah yes, the architecture.  Not many gleaming 200 metre neon-clad skyscrapers here.  If you've been to Plymouth, imagine a mile-long 6 lane boulevard entirely populated with tower blocks resembling the Plymouth City Council building and you're there.  Its not a pretty sight to be honest.

Weather is not holding up its end of the bargain either.  Although the temperature is in the high teens/twenties (so shorts on, natch), it has pissed it down virtually all day.  As a result I was decidedly moist for most of the day.  I came armed with waterproof and cap for windy, UK style rain, not the huge tropical straight down drops you get here.  This is where a brolly really works, must remember than for next time.

Have forced myself to sample the local cuisine as well.  As people warned me, this mostly incolves huge lumps of roasted/boiled/fried meat, with a passing nod to veggies in the form of roast potatoes and fried beans.  There is also a worring tendency to deep fry or steep in syrup anything they get their hands on (Deep fried banana anyone?)  As for the fruit, I thought it looked like a pear, but it most definitely was not...   My best find was a bowl the size of my head full of butterscotch.  I had to force myself to leave the restaurant at that point before I dunked my head in, Winnie the pooh style and started slurping

Work tomorrow, so might get to do any more sights till the weekend.  Hopefully rain will stop long enough for me to take some photos...

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