Paulista Ladies

March 17, 2010

Today I felt very much like a lady of Sao Paulo, a Paulista.  I woke up in Karen’s gorgeous apartment and was reading the New York Times on my computer when Marta, the woman who’s worked for her since Mark and Gi were small asked me if I wanted breakfast.  She opened the door to the kitchen (which had been closed) and there was hot coffee with hot milk and a basket of breads, cheese, jam, Nutella, it was blissful (By the way, breakfasts like this are the same at Paulo and Edite’s, just as wonderful and luxurious).  Soon after, Karen came home and we picked up Elen and went to Jardins, poking in and out of small boutiques.  I fell in love with a dress that was dusky purple silk, demure and high-necked from the front with a wide open back and exquisite details.  With five or six weddings coming up, I now feel constantly on the lookout for new dresses. Listening to Seu Jorge in the car we went to go see a new Chagall exhibit at MASP, and then returned to Karen’s for lunch.

In the afternoon Karen and I went to go look at wooden furniture in Vila Madelena, some like the rustic pieces we had ogled in Tiradentes, and some more refined and polished, beautiful, warm woods formed into modern shapes and designs.  I can’t wait to have a house to decorate with all of these Brazilian things.  When I’m a real grown up I’ll definitely come back here and pick out all of the pieces.  After we met up with Karen’s chef friend Simone, her mother Frida, another friend and Edite for coffee.  We talked about Simone’s daughter, who’s applying to colleges in the US, and Frida’s life in Minneapolis, where she spends half the year.  It’s all been excellent practice for my Portuguese, and I’m getting better at understanding rapid-fire conversation, not so slowed down for the gringo.  IT’s all a learning experience, with the perfect kind of teachers who will stop and explain, if necessary.  I should be doing more work–more writing, more for Cidades Sem Fome, but it’s too wonderful to spend this kind of time with the family, who have so generously opened their home to me (you know the saying after three days fish and house guests start to stink?  well I think I must be getting a little smelly) and taken off from work to keep me company, show me around.  No matter how much I insist that I can take care of myself, and entertain myself, it’s no use.  These Brazilian ladies are stubborn.  But I love it.

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Lucy’s Here!

March 5, 2010

Lucy arrived today and Claire comes tomorrow.  It’s unbelievably fun to have visitors here again.  This morning we went to an outdoor market on Sergipe, near the Consolacao cemetery.  From there were took a stroll around Vila Madelena, searching for the furniture store that carries pieces like the ones we saw in Minas.  Unfortunately the store doesn’t ship things to the US either.  Bummer.  We had a very nice lunch at Santa Gula, where the food was good and the space was decorated with kitchy art (avocado green old-school rotary dial phones, mismatched chairs and classes, candles, all in an indoor/outdoor space).  We stopped by the Nike store to see if there was anything we should get so we’re appropriately attired when we cheer on Brazil in the World Cup this summer.  After letting Lucy rest a little bit after flying all night, we’re headed for an evening on the town and a trip to Juquehy tomorrow.

Sao Bento

January 11, 2010

Scott and I are sitting in Vila Madelena at Sao Bento.  I’m writing, he’s reading.  We’ve gotten to the point where we need a change of pace from our courtyard, a change of scenery.  We happen to be sitting next to a table of the most bizarre looking girls.  They’re all close to six feet tall, with limbs no more than three or four inches in diameter.  They’re more bug-like than model-esque, however, and watching them eat feels weird, like there’s just no where for the food to go.  They also, all three, hold their forks totally differently than we do.  It looks awkward.  None of them are talking, their hair is long and straight, their eyes are droopy.  None of them smile.

Scott also just lost his soda to a bumble bee that flew in the can.  Damn bee.

Great Expectations

December 22, 2009

Yesterday was a relaxing day for Scott, Emily and I.  We had a leisurely breakfast and strolled around Ibirapuera in the sunshine.  We took in the many water fowl–ducks, swans, geese–the runners, bikers, nappers.  The weather was perfect and we found our bench after a little while.  From there we headed to Vila Madelena, where Emily and I dashed in and out of the little boutiques and Scott patiently read for a while.  We walked Oscar Freire, and Scott and I got ready for New Years–where two million people crowd Copacabana beach and where white.  We returned to Ping Pong for dim sum and took it easy.

Bob and Barbara, after being foiled by the great snowstorm of 2009 have finally made it to Brazil, and Scott went to go pick them up from Congonhas.  Wahoo!  We can’t wait for them to get here!

Do Meu Jeito

December 14, 2009

Scott and I went to the Nike store today in Pinheiros because I needed new running clothes.  On a small square with two amazing, old viney trees, the shop has a wood facade and looks as sleek and cool from the outside as it does from within.  It was actually too cool for me, since it only had hip Nike stuff, and not really any functional workout clothes.

They did have a terminal with three IMAX sized Macs set up in the middle of the room to design and customize sneakers, with special laser cuts and tags only available in Brazil.  While choosing and perfecting sneakers is kind of a commitment, they also had a bar to design tee shirts, which was super cool, and pretty much a no brainer.  While I browsed through color-blocked and silk screened wind breakers, Scott designed a really cool shirt.  He first picked the color tee shirt he wanted–the front runner was light blue, but gray eventually won out.  Then he could pick from a variety of things to put on his shirt (you can see some of the examples on the wall behind Chris (the guy in the hat who did the actual silk screening.)  Chris thought it was really cool that we were American, living in Sao Paulo and could speak Portuguese decently communicatively.  He was great, and everyone was really excited for this shirt.

Scott spent a while trying different combinations of colors while we chatted with Chris.  The end result was a pretty badass shirt.

From there we wandered around Vila Madelena, walking down streets and sections that we hadn’t explored yet.  I can’t wait to take Emily to all of the boutiques.  There were some Brazilian designers that had incredibly intricate, architectural clothes, and beautiful leather bags, great jewelry–it was way more interesting than going to a mall.  It also felt more like LA’s Silver Lake to me than ever.

Flamengo

December 6, 2009

Scott and I spent the afternoon at Posto 6, a bar in Vila Madelena, watching soccer games.  It was the last day of the Brazilian soccer season, and because of the league’s crazy points system, there are no playoffs and no championship game to determine the champion.  Instead, teams are given points throughout the season–none for a loss, one for a tie, and two for a win.  This afternoon, there were five games that mattered and four games that could affect who won.

The intersection of Rua Aspicuelta and Rua Mourato Coelho is fun, with low key bars on each of the four corners, tables spilling out onto the sidewalks.  The streets have been filled with people our age every time we’ve been there, and today it was particularly buzzy, with eruptions anytime anyone scored.  It was fun to watch, as wins and losses and ties all meant one thing or another, giving different teams a shot at winning.  Flamengo, Brazil’s Yankees, wound up winning–none of the possible upset scenarios played out, but it was definitely fun to be a part of the energy.