Uptown Mosaic Magazine

An Uncommon Mind

Brazilian Travelogue – Day 2: Where Are You From

So far this has been a great trip.  Today we got out to explore São Paulo bit more.  Yesterday being Sunday meant the city was fairly quiet.  Today it was electric.  People were everywhere in the streets going about their daily lives. Whatever their daily lives entail there’s a lot of activity in São Paulo. Motorcycles zip down the streets and crowds of Brazilians move from street corner to street corner.

While we’re only going to one game there’s still lots of futebol to take in while we’re here.  Today’s mission was to go to FIFA Fan Fest. If you’re not familiar with what Fan Fest is the best way to describe it as an open air watch party.  An area is outfitted with a giant TV and people stand around watching the games. Every inch of Fan Fest is sponsored because FIFA is all about making money. After every game a band or DJ comes out to keep the party going. Fan Fest is a great way to enjoy games while mix and mingling with people from all over the world. Whoever thought of Fan Fest is brilliant.

Of course to get to the Fan Fest event we had to navigate the Brazilian Metro system. So we took our weak Portuguese out into the streets of São Paulo for another adventure.  Once our hotel concierge steered us in the wrong direction (the language barrier is a beast) we found our way to the Metro by using the 10 words we’ve learned so far.

If you’ve been following the buildup to this World Cup you know it’s been a problematic process.  Stadium building delays dominated the news but subway driver strikes, suspect infrastructure and a myriad of other problems lingered in the background. However, the Metro system was a pleasant surprise. It was clean, easy to use and fast. It helped that they system was very somewhat similar to DC’s Metro system. Train etiquette is similar to DC too except because Brazilians are in a hurry people don’t wait for you to get off the train before they get on. What you get is a rush of people moving in opposite directions. It took me a couple stops to adjust.


The Metro system put Brazil’s amazing diversity on display. This a a country of all kinds. Not only is São Paulo diverse but it is very cosmopolitan. Since I know The Wife isn’t reading this (she was the first casualty of my frequent blog breaks) I can share this observation with you all. The women here are beautiful. Beautiful. Very beautiful.

We made it to and from Fan Fest without getting lost or irking any Brazilians. While at Fan Fest the most popular question was, “so where are you from?” In the space of a few hours we struck conversations with an American working on her thesis and this trip was part of her study abroad experience, and several English speaking Brazilians. We talked futebol, politics, culture and whole lot more. It was cool to meet with so many different people from all over the world in such a short space of time.

Until tomorrow folks!

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  1. SparksJul 3, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    He really did steer us in the wrong direction. With our broken Spanish we understood that he told us left and then another left. It should have been left and then right, but he didn’t seem to care, he was like “Fuck your English” But with that being said the people of Brazil are extraordinarily warm and friendly. While we walking to the fan fest from the train station one lady with a child in a stroller made a point of stopping us. At first we thought she was asking for help, so we set about trying to let her know that hey we don’t speak Portuguese, but maybe there was someone around who could help. But no she was insistent in getting her point across. After a few minutes of her speaking in straight Portuguese the whole time we figured out that she was telling us that we were walking in the the wrong direction! This incident was a valuable lesson and I said it many times from this time forward I will be much more friendly to people who are in D.C for a visit. We received nothing, but love from Paulistas. Language can be barrier, but it can also be something that bridges differences if you throw out the anxiety and preconceived standoffishness that we as Americans sometimes seem preprogramed with and be open to new experiences.

  2. SparksJul 3, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    I forgot to mention Vila Madelna. Our first foray into party in Brazil almost ended before it began. So, one of O’s friends told him about a little bar where we could hang out and get some food. Us being adventuresome said hell yeah let’s go. We had the concierge hail us a taxi and hopped in. At first we had to get the concierge to translate where we wanted to go. The taxi drive emphatically said no he wasn’t taking us there. We looked at each other confused, why is he turning down a fair. Then he went on a long tirade about and the only word we understood was “traffic” You see Sao Paulo being the ultra metropolis that is also has ultra metropolis traffic. This driver wanted no part of this. We convinced him to get us as close as possible. Once we got down to the spot we understood why he didn’t want to go. There were wall to wall people from all over the world eating and drinking in bars and in the street. We immediately wanted to grab a beer, but being in town for only a a day we didn’t have Reis! No fear one guy was willing to take our dollar, but at a hiked up price. I’m not mad at his hustle. If I saw to hungry and thirsty foreigners I’m jacking the prices too. Luckily a beautiful Paulista who spoke English (random luck here) stepped in and talked him down for us. As a result we were able to get our first taste of Brahma which is a Brazillian beer. From there we just soaked up the vibe. It was electric, people were just partying and hanging out. Guys were selling churrasco on these little grills. The great thing about Brazil is that although we didn’t have Reis many of the vendors took our cards because they had portable credit card machines. Fantastic! The U.S. needs to get up on this because it eliminates the need to dig for cash. Like I said the vibe was electric and every so often someone would stop us and ask where are you from. We hung out with a few young Brazillian dudes who introduced us to Cachacha. We talked to guys from Switzerland and Brazil and just generally vibed. It was the best.