28 Dec 2007

Christmas in one of the biggest cities on our planet

Posted by walterheck

I am currently in Sao Paolo bus station (this is becoming a tradition 😉 ) on my way to Rio de Janeiro. But let me tell you about christmas…

I have been spending christmas with the wonderful 62 year old Maria who has shown me an even more wonderful christmas with her family.

I arrived here on the 23rd after an 8 hour bus ride. Driving into Sao Paolo is an interesting experience: even though this city has 20 million people (greater metropolitan area), driving into the city was quite easy. Nice highways, city as far as you can see (and much further 😉 ) but no traffic jam… until we got to the rodoviario that is. I was overwhelmed for a moment by the amount of people waiting and departing there. I found my way to teh subway station easily (SP is blessed with a good subway system servicing major parts of teh city) and followed the directions to my host’s house.

She was happy I arrived as I was a bit late, and soon we left to a party that her kids were having to celebrate christmas with her ex-husband (he was no longer there, they don’t get along very well 😉 ). I met the whole family, excep for one son who was in Belo Horizonte for christmas. 4 kids and a bunch of grandchildren, all very nice and most of them speaking english or french.

Maria is a wonderful woman. she has been traveling around all her life, living in a zillion different places, doing even more different things. Over the past few days we have talked a lot and it was more than a pleasure. She has told me so much that i cannot even begin listing here. I will just tell you some random things: she is anthropologist, specialising in African cultures and religions. Since there are a lot of slaves in Brasil, she knows a lot about their cultures as well.

She has been an chief editor for a publishing company. She lived in different places in the states for 15 years, surfing couches of friends for 3 years.

Her application paper for her anthropology study was a report on her research she did on an island off the coast of Brasil that had people living there completely isolated. Their only contact with the outside world was a navy vessel going there every 3 months. As a result of so many years of isolation, they had the most interesting view on their history, Brasilian history and much much more. Extremely cool and interesting!

The last two days I stayed with Maria I went to explore some of the city. This city is also very nice. It is the richest state and city of Brasil and very safe to wander through the streets. I went to visit Little Tokyo (the biggest japanese community outside of Japan), the downtown area and Mercado Municipal, the city’s main graveyard and some small things. The smells you experience while wandering through the small corridors of the indoor Mercado Municipal are amazing: one moment you are in the fruit area which smells like a fruit explosion, teh next minute you are entering the herbs area or the fish area. Very nice place!

Also very beautiful was the cemetary. Always a weird place to go, this one was definitely worth seeing! Very beautiful family graves of ridiculous sizes (some as big as a small church!). Check teh gallery for pictures soon!

Now the next challenge awaits: Reveillion in Rio de Janeiro !!

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One Response to “Christmas in one of the biggest cities on our planet”

  1. Beetje aan de late kant wellicht, maar toch nog een fijne kerst toegewenst en veel plezier met nieuwjaar!