It's been an eventful few days, appropriate to the time of the year, I suppose. It's hot. Yeah, I know I sound like a stuck record. 94°F in the shade with equivalent humidity isn't my idea of paradise. The locals take the heat in their stride though.
Sunday , we needed to head into town to collect a teeny tiny item we'd ordered.
Tat was meeting an old friend in town, so only went in with us, then went off on her own, so I dragged my body guard around with me.
We first headed out to Vila Mariana to take the positivity photo. There was a lot of traffic, except for when this girl rode up. I decided to leave her there. Aside from her, this is the scene that greets me in the half-light of my early Tuesday mornings. This is the kind of graffiti I can live with, like the one we saw on the phone booth later, "More love please" or "Mais amor por favor", as it was written in perfectly rhyming Portuguese.
I didn't get a photo of the graffiti, but later, I did get a shot of one of São Paulo's oddities. Inside every phone booth, especially downtown where there is often not a spare inch of naked phone booth left, you'll find these stickers, each with a name and number, often with a service.
It took me a while before I discovered what they were advertising. Yes, I tend to be naive.
Our next stop was Praça da Republica, my regular Christmas (and any other special occasion) shopping haunt. We found the stall belonging to the little Japanese couple (odd that they're always tiny and wrinkled). They greeted us so sweetly. Yes, the order was ready and do we like it? Of course! With our business of the day concluded, we decided to do some stall 'window shopping'.
I was looking for some cotton pants. We approached one stall and a man with fly-away white hair popped out with a surprising request. Could I please take a photo of him in exchange for a pair of pants? I cut a deal with him. I'd take a few photos. If he liked them, I'd order something (he didn't have the style I wanted in my size). While I was snapping away, Jorge did some marketing for me, telling him about my photo restoration. He wants some photos restored as well.
Not too far from his stall was the shadow puppet man. This guy is either crazy, determined, or just plain talented. He dresses from head to toe in black. He does a duet with his puppets. It's really well done. I caught his 'lady' looking at me. I think I interrupted her mourning over his death in this act. Jorge tossed some coinage into his hat and we moved on.
From Republica and it's dozy citizens....
...we made our way to Avenida Paulista to see the Christmas decorations. They weren't the best we've seen, but they were fairly good.
After browsing Livraria Cultura, a huge book store, we ambled along to Parque Trianon. It's a lovely little park where they've gone out of their way to preserve the original trees. Where they cut trees to make a path, they used the trees to make park seating. You can see an example here. The photos aren't that great. They're from when we were visiting Brazil in '96.
At the entrance to the park, a man tapped Jurgis on the shoulder and asked him for his year of birth. Jurgis obliged and was given an exciting run-down on the Chinese astrology for 2010 for those born in the Year of the Tiger. He then turned to me and asked me for my year of birth. Once I told him, he proceeded to tell me how bad the past year was for me, possibly even including the death of a family member. I thought he was telling me what next year would be like and was getting progressively more depressed. When Jurgis explained, the man went on to tell me that next year would be a total contrast for me. 2010 is apparently going to be 'my' year. Now there's good news! The man then gave us each an A4 page with tons of text... in Spanish! Apparently all these wonderful things are on that page. I'll never know.
He then sorted through some seeds he had and gave us each three seeds, carefully selecting the best ones. We're to keep one seed, throw one in a river and give the third seed to someone to plant in some place that will benefit the ecology.
We finally left Avenida Paulista to go home. We went to Liberdade where we were told that the bus would take more than an hour to arrive, so we wandered among the Sunday stalls there. We finally got the bus, only to be stuck in a traffic jam caused by an overturned truck. Footsore and very sunburnt, I was glad to get home.
Oh wait... I haven't mentioned Monday to Wednesday yet. Sunday took an entire blog!
Monday, Tat and I went in to try to see Avatar. We ended up shopping for clothes (tickets were sold out) for her trip. On the way out, we bumped into a taxi driver we hadn't seen for over 6 years. He recognised us! Our cabbie from Rio.
Tuesday, I was out teaching. My student is the owner of a company and wants her employees to take up class with me next year. If I can pull this off, it will mean the end of my creative marking for the school!
Wednesday... oh... that's today. Tat gave me a pre-Christmas gift. She booked me in to the salon for a reflexology session, a hair cut and a manicure. I now sport bright cherry-red nails. I got strange looks when I suggested that all I need now is a black forest cake to put my fingers onto.
Ah yes... the in German above? Avenida Paulista had Festive greetings in many languages all along, even Arabic.