In his second newsletter from Sao Paulo, David Kellett reports that he is learning Portuguese and being made to feel at home by the threat of nearby railway construction and visits to a local Pocket Park.
Full newsletter and more photographs on the next page.
Greetings from Sao Paulo again. We’re now eight weeks in, and things are starting to get more organised. Our furniture and stuff arrived a couple of weeks ago, so we now have more beds than we know what to do with. Portuguese lessons are progressing, I’m not sure that we are progressing in them, but time will tell I suppose.
Sao Paulo is a city several times the size of London, but its metro system is about the size of Newcastle’s. They are currently working on a new line which will come down through the area we are living in. One of the tunnel access points will be just behind our apartment block, not everyone is in favour, as there will inevitably be noise and dust and disruption while the construction is underway. There have been several tenants meetings and feelings are running high. Sound at all familiar?
Just a few minutes’ walk from the flat is our local park, very similar in concept to the pocket park in Sulgrave, as you can see from the photos below, but the flora is inevitably a bit different, yes they are bananas. The whole area of Granja Julieta (our neighbourhood) is very green and has quite a bit of wildlife to say we’re in the city. So far we’ve seen Hummingbirds, Parrots (in the tree’s in our garden) Marmosets, and though I haven’t seen them yet, I’ve certainly heard Howler Monkeys.
The weather is very variable, we’re in the Brazilian version of spring at the moment, one day can be brilliant blue sky and really quite hot in the sun, the next might be grey or raining, it does rain quite often here and when it rains, boy it rains. We also get some very dramatic thunderstorms, the sort of thing you see in horror movies, huge sheets of lightening at several different points of the sky all at the same time. It’s never really cold here, at least not by our standards, last Tuesday was grey & overcast, it looked like a typical October day in the UK, but the temperature was around 20 degrees. I walked up to the local shop in shorts & a T shirt, on the way I met a young woman wearing Jeans, Boots, a parker zipped up to the neck and a woolly hat, it’s all perception I suppose.
Last weekend we went to the beach for a few days, the drive down there is amazing. Sao Paulo is only 30 miles from the nearest stretch of coastline, but on a plateau high above it. The coastal strip is only a mile or so wide in places, and then the hills rise up like a green wall; 2000 feet almost straight up covered in thick forest all the way. There are two roads; Anchietta – the old road, and a modern ‘motorway’. The old road winds around, weaving its way back and forth across the hillside as it slowly descends through the forest with breath-taking views at every turn. It’s very busy and quite an intimidating drive, with a cliff on one side and a precipitous drop on the other and enormous trucks (with Brazilian drivers) passing within inches. The new road takes a more direct route descending at a fairly steep rate through a series of tunnels, the longest is about two and a half miles, then you have a couple of hundred yards in daylight (and the most incredible view, but nowhere to stop to admire it or take photographs), and then you’re back into the next tunnel. But once you get there it’s worth it, sub-tropical beaches, palm trees, coconut juice fresh from the nut, and of course volleyball!