So I left my laptop at home for this trip, and I really wish I hadn’t. Why? Because there is SO much I have to write now!
First of all, Portuguese is NOT Spanish. It kind of sounds like Spanish, but it’s not. My ego has been slowly withering away with each conversation I’ve staggered to have with locals in Spanish, forget English. This has left me downloading Portuguese phrases on my phone asap, especially after I sat down for my first menu and didn’t recognize a single word aside from áqua. I found my listing without any issues, and found out that my hosts are not only Superhosts, they will be flying out to San Francisco in a few weeks for the Host Open. They are awesome. They are so awesome that their kitchen has been replicated into the kitchen inside the Airbnb Sao Paolo office.
I spent the majority of my first evening lost in my neighborhood, Vila Malalena. It’s considered a trendy, upscale and safe area with lots of restaurants bordering one end and there’s a pretty crowded party street on the other side called Rua Aspicuelta. There is graffiti EVERYWHERE on EVERY wall in Sao Paolo, but it’s most definitely not vandalism here-more like wall art. I was looking for an alley called Batman, which is a famous alley full of wall art that my host told me about but never found it. I was happy to see people drinking out on the sidewalks, and felt kind of out of place in my Chucks. I’ve been tripping nonstop, partially because all the buildings are built like rainbow, overcrowded teeth and I can’t stop looking. And also because the side walks are literally broken up and slabs of concrete are everywhere. After I survived weaving through the crowds of beautiful tan people, I found myself staring at menus in Portuguese, searching for the only word I could make out: CERVEJA (beer.)
In front of a bar called Melegrano, the owner came out and asked what I was looking for. I asked if he had any beer and I’ve never seen an old man beam so proudly. Turns out Melegrano boosts one of the fanciest and largest emporium of fine local and import beers. He was thrilled to practice his English and brought out some dark beer he claimed to be the best porter in Brazil, something called Petroleum. It wasn’t on tap, but I wasn’t expecting too much. He poured it into a fancy glass for me, pointing out excitedly that it even flowed like car gas. It was perfect. I really enjoyed people watching out on the streets with club music thumping in the background, wondering if it was weird for me to be alone. I think I’m going to do that more when I get back to Portland and maybe pretend I’m just a mysterious lone traveler.
I have to leave this desktop now and go out after work. More later, CIAO!