Friday, August 21, 2009

6 Sao Paulo, Brazil

The journey from Russia to South America was a long and very smelly one. Due to a perfect storm of a lack of clean clothes, a night train ride, and spending the night before our flight at the airport we'd been without a real bed or shower for almost 72 hours and worst of all hadn't changed clothes that whole time. Our apologies go out to the woman that was sitting in 8C on the Moscow to Madrid leg of our trip. Needless to say we were very happy to arrive and check in to our room at Hotel Formule 1 Paulista.

Our priorities for our first day in Brazil were resting and recuperating and doing some much needed laundry. Check check check. It was also Patrick's half birthday, and our tradition is that he always gets an ice cream cake on August 18. But there didn't appear to be any Baskin Robbins or Ben and Jerry's in the neighborhood and the local grocery store didn't carry Carvel. So instead we fashioned one out of grocery store bundt cake and Brazilian ice cream. Mmmmmm ice cream cake...

We had to get creative with our clothes as well. We really had no clean clothes left at this point, so in order even to drop our laundry at the cleaners we had to work out some outfits. Patrick wore a bathing suit and inside-out t-shirt and Katrina kept her jeans and constructed a top from her sarong. We looked a little odd walking down the city streets of Sao Paulo, but at least you couldn't smell us coming.

After a day of rest we were re-energized and ready to see the city. Sao Paulo gets a bad rap as a city with not a lot to see or do for tourists, but we very much enjoyed our time strolling the fashionable Oscare Freire and artsy Paulista Avenues and checking out the wall to wall graffiti alley at Beco do Batman. The Banespa building offered great panoramic views of the city--it was free to climb but it took 30 minutes of background checks, waiting in line, riding two separate elevators and climbing some stairs for 5 minutes at the top. The views were certainly worth it though. We visited a nearby monastery and checked out their bread (apparently in Brazil, it's the thing for monasteries to each have their own bakery). We happened upon a union demonstration in front of a church, a free concert in a cobbled plaza. And of course, we dined...

On our first trip to Brazil in 2007 we were introduced to sucos. These mouth-watering fruit juices are made fresh to order, in dozens of flavors, at stands on nearly every street corner. Sucos was one of the things we were most excited about for our return trip. Within our first two days in Brazil we drank gallons of the stuff including Patrick's favorite lime and Katrina's avocado milkshake. We'd often accompany the beverage with some pao de quejo (ridiculously addictive bite-size cheese bread) or croquette-like chicken dumplings always available at these corner shops. What we didn't see in Rio but was huge in Sao Paulo was mortadella sandwiches. We tasted our first at the Central Market where the special brand of salami was piled high, covered in cheese, and slapped between two halves of a roll for what we surmised was decoration. Vegetarians, now would be a good time to avert your eyes:

View more pictures from Sao Paulo here.

As we begin our travels on a new continent, we thought it an appropriate time to fill you in on some more travel tidbits:
  • Our best purchase so far has been membership to the American Airlines Admiral's Club. Since this is our honeymoon, after all, we decided at Logan to spring for the little luxury of admittance to these VIP airport lounges where we have been met by comfy chairs, free food, free wifi--Heathrow even had a self-serve bar. Going back to sitting and waiting at the terminal gate now seems like such an assault on our senses.
  • Our biggest point of contention has been Tetris. We have the game on our mini laptop and it is a fun diversion during long plane and bus rides. Problem is we are constantly fighting over whose turn it is to play. We are currently in the process of negotiating a Tetris treaty to promote "even steven" game play. We won't disclose who the current champion is but will tell you his name rhymes with Batrick.
  • Ever since his first taste of yogurt (yes, ever) in Milan, Patrick has fallen head over heels for the stuff. Katrina suspects it is serving as a substitute for Patrick's usual, or should we say unusual, daily milk intake. Also of note, Patrick has yet to eat a hamburger.
  • Watch out for a new fashion trend: what Katrina calls "aladdin pants". We saw women wearing these low-crotched baggy pants all over Europe and expect they'll be crossing the Atlantic soon. What Katrina doesn't expect to see on Newbury St. anytime in the near future is the lace boots that are so hot right now in Russia.
  • Between the Red Sox second half swoon and Tiger's PGA championship meltdown, Patrick thinks he picked a good six months to be out of the country. Of course if you ask him his absence and the respective poor performances are not a coincidence.

Also, we have seen an in-flight movie or two thus are some of our thoughts and our star ratings out of four on the flicks:
  • Duplicity (**1/2)- This one kept our attention but the flashbacks, which took up half the movie, were bad, probably due to the lack of chemistry between Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. The highlight of the movie was Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson as rival, take-no-prisoners corporate execs.
  • Sunshine Cleaning (**)- The premise of a crime scene clean up business was semi-interesting but otherwise we aren't sure what this movie was about.
  • Inkheart (*1/2)- Besides the implausible ending (we know it is a kid's movie but still) this movie left us with three burning questions...What bet did Jennifer Connelly lose to make her take a two-scene, one-line role in this film? How does Helen Mirren go from an Oscar to this? Does Brendan Fraser choose to only take sci-fi/fantasy protagonist roles?
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (**)- The effects were cool and we enjoyed the cast, but we spent most of the movie trying to remember who is Liev Schriber's better half. For those not in the know we will save you the trip to google: Naomi Watts.


  1. Cheese bread!, those things are why I go to Gauchos...oh and the 20 cuts of meat on a stick. Patrick, I don't know, I may hold you responsible for the Sox's slide- Tiger, it was bound to happen sometime. We're going to the Sox/Yankees on Saturday but our winning streak was busted the last game we went to so we won't hold our breath. Looks like the trip is still going great.

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