Wowies, this is some place! I (with shame) admit that when Claud told me which city we’d be visiting for the trip, my first thought was “umm, where is that?”. After having seen the 11 million strong (20 million if you count the ‘burbs) city, it is hard to imagine that I had never even heard of is a place so many call home. Cities are fascinating places where you get everything from fine dining and symphony performances (loved it, must go to these type of shows more often!) to cabbies who rip you off (yeah, buddy, I know you drove in a circle just to charge me extra, but my stupid Americano vocab does not include Portuguese – I trust my stern, disapproving glare taught you a lesson though, lol) and homeless people doing drugs right in front of you. While I can’t say it’s the most beautiful city I have been to, it sure is up there for entertainment – both people watching and the more traditional types!
Yesterday morning I struck out on my own (Thursday I was joined by Doug, from Peet’s Coffee and Tea, but he had to jet off to another coffee meeting – you know those java dudes, they just can’t sit still!) with a plan to run from our hotel to the major green space of the city, Parque Ibirapuera. It’s like the Central Park of Sao Paulo, with everything that goes with it – museums, beautiful trees, bike lanes, playgrounds, concert spaces and people of all kinds enjoying the picture perfect days we have had here.
To get to the park, I had to navigate the ~4km from the hotel. The area we are staying is the Jardim (Garden) district. Not a ton of green trees in this area, but plenty of green bucks! It’s an affluent part of Sao Paulo and so very pretty, with lovely cafes and upscale shopping (very upscale – the Asics store featured kicks for $400US!). All the private homes and apartment buildings are heavily gated, so as you run the sidewalks you see these signs and must be careful of cars backing out.
The apartment buildings were quite nice, as evidenced here:
The major issue with running through these streets was the constant stopping for red lights. As a country mouse, I really don’t understand how anyone gets any training done in cities, it is so frustrating to stop all the time. This guy quickly became my arch nemesis:
I finally made it to the park and was able to get some real miles in – plus lots to look at to keep me occupied! There was what I think was a giant tai chi class of some sort going on, lots of runners (the ones in groups and pairs made me long for a partner)bikers, and birds! I was able to rack up a half dozen new birds as the miles clicked off, which was great. My favorites of the day were Cocoi Heron and Southern Lapwing plus an unidentified hummingbird (GD will help me figure it out when I get home). Here is some of what I saw as I happily plugged along:
I then started to make my way back to the hotel and as I was watching the street signs like a hawk to avoid getting lost, I saw this one:
Our guide had told us earlier that streets can be named after dates that play an important role in history. We also saw 25 de marco and 21 de maio (I think it was 21 anyway, little fuzzy on that!). I have to remember to look these up – I like the idea of naming streets in this way, it’s like a mini history lesson.
Sao Paulo can be quite hilly and the tail end of my run had me hauling my tired legs uphill. Guess who was nowhere to be seen? And guess whose evil brother showed up over and over again at every intersection?
Ohh, the pain! But when I hit “stop” on Garmy, I did have a nice sense of accomplishment, so maybe Mr. Green’s tough love tactic was a blessing in disguise. I then wished I could read Portuguese because post-run, this would have been fun to peruse over breakfast:
Our plane leaves tonight and I am happy to say I managed to squeeze in 5 runs while here (2 at coffee estate, 3 in Sao Paulo) and did not have to resort to the dreadmill for any of them. Brazil has been checked off my running list and the sights I saw safely tucked into my memory. Being able to run in both the country and the city was a real highlight of this trip and I thank Claudia and Peet’s for the opportunity!