March 28, 2018
We arrived in Santos Brazil at 8 AM. We are in a shipping port and it is the largest port in Brazil. We headed to Sao Paolo with our guide, Pedro ( on the right in the picture). Sao Paolo is the third largest city in the world and the traffic proves it! It is home to 17 million people.
We had to travel over the mountains to reach the city – it was about an hour and a half drive and it was beautiful We went through many tunnels and over very high passes.
Once we got to the city, we learned that it was one of the first cities in Brazil to encourage immigration after the end of slavery and it is now a melting pot of cultures. For example, it has the largest concentration of Japanese people outside of Japan. They live in a neighborhood called Liberty! Sao Paolo was founded by the Jesuits in 1554.
There were once 3 million native Indian tribal people, now there are less than 350,000.
Brazil has a huge homeless problem – approximately 15 million people don’t have jobs. We saw many people living on the sidewalks and also many slums.
Paolo talked a lot about the corruption in government but is hopeful that it will change since this is an election year and the previous president was impeached.
We first visited the Ipiranga Monument, erected in commemoration of Brazil’s independence.
We had a drive around town to see the Obelisk and the legislative assembly building, the Municipal Theater and the cathedral.
We visited the Pinacoteca of the state of Sao Paolo which is a well preserved architectural building that combines marble with brick walls and houses a wonderful art collection.
This one is all made of straws!
The city has a huge number of high rise buildings and also a LOT of graffiti. I can’t believe they get it up so high!
We had lunch at a traditional churrascaria – Brazilian barbecue. If you have never been to one, there is a never ending parade of servers with all types of meat on spikes, they cut what you want. And they gave us this card so we could see what cut of meat it was – just for the beef. There were also many sausages, chicken, chicken hearts, pork, etc. And a huge buffet of salads, hot dishes and even pasta. Whew.
The traffic on the way back to the ship was horrible. Pedro says it is really bad until 10 AM, then again after 3 until about 6. It took twice as long to get back, partly due to the trucks and also to the VERY thick fog as we crossed the mountains. The bus driver definitely deserved his tip!
Dinner at Red Ginger with Alice and Tom was a delight and the show was Salvatore Hazard in a completely new show. The highlight was the “We are the world” video in which he performed every voice as we watched the video. Standing ovation material. Really awesome performance.