Wednesday, July 22, 2015

São Paulo sights: Brazil Part 11

We spent so much time before our trip working out how to get there and where to stay, that even a few weeks before our departure we hadn't really made any set plans about what to actually do when we finally made it to Brazil! Since none of us had been there to São Paulo before, here's what we did (mainly, that I can remember) to come up with our plans: 

* Jordan talked with a tutor at verbling and asked lots of general travel questions early on in our planning. 
* Just before we left, Jordan talked for a few hours with a friend of a friend of Kathie's who lives in São Paulo right now and got great recommendations on neighborhoods and restaurants and such. 
* I read all I could online. I searched for Brazilian mommy-blogs and Brazilian traveling-with-kids sites and also read lots of the trip advisor and frommers travel guides for ideas and tips.
* We talked a lot with Landon's teacher at school who moved here from São Paulo last year. She was a huge help to us!
* Winslow and Kathie took care of lots of the logistic kinds of things for us, like registering with the embassy there in case something happened, finding out about money and phones, getting information early on about health concerns/vaccinations (and reminding us to take care of those too)

And with all that, we came up with some great plans! Mostly we stuck with one thing each day, and that was just about right. 


We stayed right next to this main street in São Paulo, so we spent a bit of time along here. One of our first days though we just road the metro from our end of the street to the opposite end and walked back stopping at interesting spots along the way. (Like the beautiful park!)


This is a big bookstore along Avenida Paulista where we browsed for books and movies while the little ones had fun playing and reading inside this dragon. 


We spent a day here (more here) walking and biking and watching the kids play on many of the playgrounds and outdoor gyms.


I wrote all about it here A fun peak at the history of Brazil through the eyes of soccer-lovers.


peppers for Jordan! 
An introduction to all sorts of new tropical fruits we'd never seen or tasted. Like a permanent farmer's market, except enormous! (more here)


This is a shopping district right next to the Mercado Municipal. We walked through and were surprised most of all by the specialty stores available (like the hanger store above -- that picture is just about the entire store!) A hanger store, a cookie cutter store, a ribbon store (actually lots of ribbon stores), a belt store... We also saw a store that was one wall of kitchen utensils and containers and gadgets and  the opposite wall tools and saws and drills - a funny mix!

We met a member of the church with a little newspaper stand and loved her simple missionary efforts in sharing these magazines and books (the little note in front there said 'free')


A highlight of our trip was visiting this beautiful school, both for their international night activities and for a tour/time in class the following day.

And Jordan found a beautiful neighborhood nearby for us to walk through, plus a lovely park with pristine trails and playground!


This was just a fun and interesting neighborhood to explore. It was the first place where we really saw other families and parents with strollers. We'd read that we might find some dancing at the cafes or restaurants ("Samba Saturday") But though we didn't run into any dancing, we still enjoyed wandering and seeing the interesting street art :) And we stopped at a fun toy store here and brought home a few Brazilian games. 

A STREET BOOKSTORE (how's that for an unfancy heading)

I was really hoping to bring home lots of books and we found a great little outdoor book sale with cheaper books (especially with some bargaining). Owen and Porter curiously watched this tall man (on stilts) while we browsed the books.


More here. Looking at these pictures again reminds me just how beautiful the temple and also the churches and grounds were.


Sometimes we had to look more closely to catch the beauty of the buildings here (sometimes not, like above!) but there really were some beautiful spots in this neighborhood.

This building ("castle" in Ellie's words) was for sale and we joked that it could  be our next home.


One day our destination was to see the city sights from above at the Banespa Building. Unfortunately, we were a bit slow making our way there and by the time we arrived, the building was closed for the day. But, we still enjoyed all the sights to see on the way and loved the well-kept area all around it  (that sidewalk path through all the buildings gave the entire area such a cool feel). 

giant centavos!

Our happy crew (minus Jordan taking the picture). This cathedral was really quite beautiful. We stepped inside just for a moment, and got to show the kids the stained glass windows. And we saw sister missionaries teaching out in front (as well as a group gathered around close by with a very animated street preacher). 


If we hadn't had to pay a crazy amount on the taxi ride, I think we might have enjoyed our time here even more! :) Even so, this was a pretty cool place. They had tons of exhibits of every kind of snake you've ever heard of (and then many more!) with cool facts about each kind (like some who can 'see' with heat sensing - cool!)

The institute here also creates snake bite anti-venoms,  so we got to learn a little bit about how that whole process works (again, cool!) I hadn't known what a process it was (it takes months) or that each type of snake requires a different antivenom (so if you're bitten, it's super helpful to know what kind of snake bit you!)

While April and Landon and I were at the Serpentarium, the rest of our group stopped by the Sam's Club and Walmart next to our airport hotel (Yep, there's a Walmart even in Brazil!) and picked up some last minute treasures to bring home (like some maracuja concentrate, yum!)