Manicures and Mercados

March 19, 2010

This morning, after a brisk walk in the park near her house, Karen took me with her to get her nails done.  We drove up to a small shop in Santa Cecelia and went up a few stairs to the salon.  It’s where Karen, Elen and Edite go every week to get their hair blown out and manicures and pedicures, and it looked like a scene out of a movie.  Everyone was chatting and there were women who had clearly been coming to this same place for the last forty years, or however long they had been in business.  The front room was bright and airy, with gossip magazines and a big mirror.  We hung out and had coffee while we waited for the manicurist to become free.  A woman was getting her curly hair blown at straight (another reason Brazilian women look so good all the time–it’s easy to get a blow out).  There was a back room with a few more chairs, and the Asian woman who owned the salon was styling another woman’s hair in curlers.  I got a manicure and pedicure, and the whole thing was 27 reais, or about $14.  Not a bad deal.

Afterwards I went to the Centro to meet a guy for lunch who graduated last year from Columbia’s architecture school (the one I think I may go to for urban planning.)  He’s working on a book that the city is putting together on various projects.  He’s interested in working with Cidades sem Fome as well, and designed an amazing elevated garden for a Paraisopolis, a favela here in Sao Paulo.  We’ll see if we can get everything going to actually get it built sometime.  I perused the Mercado Central one more time before I leave the city, and was just as smitten with all of the fruits (there were more I had never seen) and the Italian stalls.  The walk there from the Sao Bento stop has so many wholesale shops, too, jewelry and ribbons and feathers, shoes, things for Carnaval.  The energy of it is pretty amazing.

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