Sunday, 31 March 2013

Sao Paulo Day 12 - Leaving on a jet plane

My time in Brazil had at last come to an end (I'm now safely back in the chilly UK), so one final post to finish things off.

After a brutal first week of work in Brazil (7 am calls to the UK, conducting training 9-5 and then another couple of hours afterword), the second week was a but calmer.  I had taken on board my Brazilian colleague's comments that things were a bit more 'relaxed' than in the UK, so coffee breaks and lunches were all a lot longer...

Still not much time to do any sight seeing though, so that was all left to the final couple of days.  On my final day I was taken to the equivalent of a Chinese fake market.  This was an area just to the north of the city centre in an old part of the town.

There were plenty of legitimate shops selling real goods - hardware stores, sports shops, mobile phone accessory shops; but also plenty of fake shops hawking everything from branded shirts/trainers, football stuff and toys.  As an indication, a real Brazil replica shirt was R$189 (about £64), while a fake one was R$40 (£13). I picked up a Brazil shirt for my son (who has not taken it off for 24 hours) and a Corinthians one for me, while my daughter and SO got real Havianas (in pink natch).

After wandering the streets for an hour so we then headed to the Mercado Municipal, a covered food market.  Probably half the stalls were selling fruit and vegetables.  I could identify most of the products on offer, but some I had never seen before.  Papaya and Guava I had heard of, but caqui was a new one to me (Looks almost exactly like a tomato, tastes amazing) and there were also what looked like passion fruits, but with yellow and vivid purple flesh.  Yum.

Many of the stalls were stacked high with bacalhau - dried and salted cod.  This appears to be a bit of a delicacy of the Brazilians (thanks to the Portuguese), with the market also having lots of pastel stalls selling bacalhau pastels.  A pastel, as far as I can tell, is a pasty with pastry made of pasta flour and then deep fried (a very common cooking method in Brazil).  The bacalhau pastel also had spring onions and green olives in it and was very nice thank you very much - especially when washed down with a honey beer.

Good Friday street market - fish on the
 left,  fruit and veg on the right
Ibirapuera park.  Yes, it was raining.
As my flight wasn't until nearly midnight on Saturday I had the whole day to myself.  After a 10k run in the pissing rain (But sooo nice and warm), I had a wander through a local food market and then made my way over to the Pecaembu to try the Museu do Football again.  Its a fantastic museum that describes the evolution of football in Brazil from the point where Charles Miller bought the game to the country to the modern day.  There are exhibits that cover the country's most famous players, stats about the game and (most interestingly for me) the world cups.  The museum is housed within the main stand of the Pacaembu, an art deco stadium built in a valley to the north of city centre.  The sideline stands are built into the valley, so the top of the stands are at road level - very clever!
Pecaembu Stadium.  The museum was within this main stand.
...and the view from the inside.  The stands on either side are built into the valley sides
After the museum I just had time to get some food before packing up and leaving the hotel for my trip back to England.  All in all, a really enjoyable visit to another country I may never get the chance to visit again.  It would have been nice if I could have done more while there - go to Rio, sample a beach and see the rain forest, but you never know, I may get another trip some time!
My lift home...
A week off with the children and then back to work.  More importantly, gonna have to work hard to get rid of the 14 cows I've eaten while I was away...

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