São Paulo: Day 2

I just remembered that Gabi told me yesterday about Crackland. You read that right: Crackland. As in, land of Crack. Or, in Portuguese, Cracolândia (Wiki article here). Apparently crack costs about $3 USD on the street. That’s about the price of a Gatorade here. I mean, when you have the choice between crack cocaine and Gatorade…

Anyway. Today was the first official day of our orientation. I got up around 8:00am and had an interesting breakfast in the hotel restaurant (eggs, pão de queijo, a weird lime-flavored mousse, some slices of salami/ham?, watermelon, honeydew, milk..and some meat pastries).

Orientation was informative: We talked about banking in Brazil, how to register with the federal police (something that everyone here must do when they arrive if they are staying for more than 90 days), what our grant money covers, blah blah etc etc. My confidence in Brazilian bureaucracy is high. And by high, I mean, “Fuck, I need to set aside a whole week do this shit? And the police will probably make me do it multiple times just because they feel like it? Great!”

We then left on a tour (in an air-conditioned tour bus no less!) of the city. I didn’t hate it!  …i.e. it beats walking around for hours in the heat and humidity.

First stop: The Mercado Municipal. This is basically a giant indoor food market with restaurants on the second level. It’s not that cheap, but apparently locals come here for some hard-to-find foods.

View of downtown Sao Paulo. That's the Mercado Municipal no the right, and one of the tallest buildings in the city (and country?) in the distance.

View of downtown Sao Paulo. That’s the Mercado Municipal on the right, and one of the tallest buildings in the city (and country?) in the distance. No, I didn’t get the name of it, because I was passed out on the bus.

A view of the market from the 2nd floor.

A view of the market from the 2nd floor.

LOOK AT ALL THAT FRUIT. I didn't buy anything because some kept yelling "Oi amiga!" at me. Is that the same as someone cat calling you in NYC, or were they just trying to sell me something? I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually.

LOOK AT ALL THAT FRUIT. I didn’t buy anything because some dudes kept yelling “Oi amiga!” at me. Is that the same as someone cat calling you in NYC, or were they just trying to sell me something? ..I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually.

Another view of the market inside.

Another view of the market inside.

Of course I was starving at this point, so I briefly considered eating at the Japanese restaurant…

Great name for a restaurant.

Great name for a restaurant.

Decided against eating here because of the outlandish prices ($20 USD for a mediocre-looking bowl of yakisoba). Did, however, continue to peruse their menu for more depictions of Japanese people.

Instead, I went with a sandwich and some juice. Came out to about $8 USD. Not bad, but it ain’t cheap!

On the right: Fresh watermelon juice. Left: Grilled chicken sandwich with cheese and green tomatoes.

Fresh watermelon juice and a grilled chicken sandwich with cheese and green tomatoes.

Then I walked around the market, and discovered the meat section. Hoooly crap.

Um.. not sure what that is.

Um.. not sure what that is.

Pigs!

Pigs!

I doubt those pigs were happy, but..

I doubt those pigs were happy, but..

Next stop: Parque da Luz (Park of Light) and Pinacoteca (a museum of Brazilian paintings and sculptures, mostly from the 1800s/1900s).

There are giant trees here..

I stood next to a giant tree in the park.

This is me. Next to a giant tree.

Here's another shot of this giant tree..

Here’s another shot of this giant tree..

Some gentleman on horses rode by us in the Parque da Luz. Why, hello!

Some gentleman on horses rode by us in the Parque da Luz. Why, hello!

Okay now on to the museum..

Some cool art at Pinacoteca.

Some cool art at Pinacoteca.

Another view from the 3rd floor of the same art piece.

Another view from the 3rd floor of the same art piece.

Oh hai little guy.

Oh hai little guy.

Then we took our nice air-conditioned bus back to the hotel. I passed out (again) and was mildly annoyed when we got to the hotel. Thankfully, I’ve managed to control my urge to punch someone when they wake me up, so no one was harmed.

Anyway. After a few hours of putzing, my belly instructed me to eat something. Met up with some fellow students downstairs, and had a nice Italian dinner. :)

…Also, the toilet paper in our hotel keeps disintegrating on me. Maybe it’s just the chemical makeup of my my waste, but I suspect that the culprit is actually shitty manufacturing (har har!).

I can’t wait to get to Rio. Maybe then this infernal cough will go away (it’s been almost 2 weeks!).

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