Tags Posts tagged with "São Paulo"

São Paulo

0 51
Renato Lombardero/Flickr

São Paulo and I were together for two years. She was high-maintenance from the start; this, I knew going in. She would order the most expensive thing on the menu, sometimes flirt with other guys, and make me pay dearly whenever I didn’t call at the exact time I said I would. She knew her worth and she played with my heart, but I knew deep down, she loved me: when we were in sync, when our energies mixed and we danced and played and reveled in each others’ company, we knew we had a good thing going. I won’t lie; the sex was volcanic. And be it in her brand new Mustang or her little red Corvette, we rode fast and wild, and I would always end up broke, spent, and sprung – she was The One.

But I couldn’t afford her and, one day, she let me go. And I was bitter for a while, heartbroken and rejected.

The next time we saw each other, a few weeks later, she welcomed me back to dance and play and revel. Over a cafezinho at Bella Paulista one Sunday morning, she looked at me and admitted that every once in a while, she envied what Berlin and I have because we were marrying for love. But in the very next moment, when I asked her to marry me, she just stared out the window and said nothing.

I paid for our coffees and we walked out into the bright sun, our feet hurting from the previous night’s debauchery and still a little lightheaded from the party favors. She kissed me deeply and passionately before getting into her car with a tchau, disconnecting and leaving me with only three reais to catch the bus home.

I see her less frequently these days, though our rendezvous are no less intense. Neither one of us has brought up the m-word again, especially since we’re each married to someone else.

But what if…?


My friend and São Paulo-native Rodrigo Pitta loves that damn place so much, he’s filmed three music videos in his hometown. Here’s the newest. I’m already booking my flight back down to see her.

Demonstrators Stage Largest Street Protests In Two Decades
      This ain’t no Carnival. People pissed! Image source: AP

Right now, Brazil convulses with the heady combination of indignation and optimism that characterizes popular movements. The People – that vast and oft-evoked abstraction made up of millions of students and truck drivers and dental hygienists and single mothers and retirees and first graders – have gotten so fed up with the economic and political oppression that has always plagued Brazil, Latin America as a whole, and, at many times in its history, the United States, that they’ve taken to the streets to voice their exasperation with the greed, corruption, official acts of violence, and woefully poor quality-of-life that have hampered the upward mobility of most Brazilians in the face of unprecedented “national prosperity” and vanity projects like the World Cup and the Olympics.

What that means, exactly, remains to be seen. Moneyed and political interests are too entrenched in the business of making money at all costs to really engage in the necessary paradigm shift even if they wanted to. And I’m just cynical enough to believe that nothing lasting is going to happen; after all, a columnist from Brazil’s largest daily reflected the general cluelessness of those in power: “From paradise, we have slipped…into limbo.”

Paradise for whom?

No, there will be no New Deal-style governmental investment in infrastructure, no nationwide jobs program, no major overhaul of the educational and health care systems. There’s too much unfettered greed infecting the country’s economical and political elite for that to ever happen. It’s a refrain in heavy rotation: “Brazil never moved away from the slave plantation.”

I have friends who were injured by police during last week’s protest in my beloved São Paulo. I have friends who live in the areas most heavily affected by teargas and rubber bullets in the center of the city. Some of the clashes between protesters and the police occurred on the street where I last lived not a full two years ago, where I last walked not a full two months ago, and where I spent several years becoming part of the city’s social fabric, another brown face popping in and out of lunch counters and convenience stores, hopping the bus to work during the week or home from the club on the weekend. That was my street and my neighborhood and my people and my city. It’s unnerving to know that I could just as easily have been shot with a rubber bullet outside my door or teargassed on my way home from work as any of my friends, neighbors, or coworkers.

It’s easy to change the channel when you have no direct connection to the events on the screen, but it’s something else when you are linked to the places and people being affected by strife. When the air clears, I’m still not sure what will have changed in terms of corruption, accountability, state-sanctioned violence, or quality-of-life. But I know that neither the powers that be, the media, nor Brazilians themselves will continue to blindly brush off indignities and injustices with a tudo bom (It’s all good) and an evocation of Brazil’s trademark deflectors: sun, sex, and soccer.

Maybe that refusal to accept indignities and injustices is the necessary spark. Hell, it only took 9 cents to finally piss enough people off. And that’s just my 2 cents.

Please don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @FlyBrother, and “like” me on Facebook! You can subscribe, too! ;-)

0 40

Shot in and around the vast, gritty warrens of downtown São Paulo—also known as Sampa—the short but thrilling Samparkour takes viewers through the heart of one of the world’s largest cities by way of parkour, an extreme sport that is at turns skillful acrobatics and dumb luck. Much of the action takes place in my old neck of the woods, reminding me of how much I actually love this grimy, exhilarating concrete jungle. Make sure your shoes are laced up tight before trying this at home:

1 60
Rodrigo Soldon/Flickr

Most major news outlets report about Brazil’s economic growth, income disparities, racial issues, beaches, soccer stars, and World Cup preparations in random, infrequent bursts. Now, two journalists with feet on the ground and caipirinhas on the brain are weighing in on the economic growth, income disparities, etc., etc., on their own blogs.

Yes, everybody and their mama who ever spent a week on the beach in Rio or ever took a guided favela tour has a blog about Brazil. But these guys are oftentimes the go-to sources for reliable facts and insight that those major news outlets rely on when reporting on the country. So, for the most part, dear reader, you can turn to this pair of muckrakers for consistent, insightful commentary—in English—on that enigmatic, entrancing South American powerhouse in the tutti-frutti hat.

Sir Andrew Downie (he’s not really a knight, but he’s got a courtly disposition and “Sir” just sounds cool in front of his name) has been writing his eponymous blog for a while now, having moved to Brazil last century, I think. Originally from Scotland, Downie has worked as foreign correspondent in Haiti, Mexico, and now Brazil for the New York Times and Time magazine, among other outlets whose names do not necessarily incorporate the word “time”. Read his blog for World Cup drama and rants about Brazilian customer service.

Sir Vincent Bevins (why not?) just recently started writing the English-language blog for Brazil’s largest daily Folha de S.Paulo: the succinctly-named From Brazil. The native of La-la Land has lived in London, Berlin, and São Paulo and writes for the Financial Times and the Los Angeles Times, among other Times. He also hangs out with models in Rio and Reykjavik. No lie. Read his blog for reports on gender equality and humorous English gaffes.

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Well, from Brazil—in English—anyway.

All around the world, same song...

It’s time for a bit of airline geekery! I keep track of all my flights via the Flight Memory database system. I enter the details of my trip, including times, aircraft type, and seat number, then watch as the system tallies up trivia like my top ten air routes (Bogotá-Barranquilla is still #1), how many times I could have circumnavigated the globe via air (13.87 times), most used airports (ATL, BOG, JAX, GRU, BAQ), etc. It also renders the fly-ass map above that shows all the non-US routes I’ve flown. With this week’s Swiss flight from São Paulo to Zurich, I finally closed the transatlantic gap between Europe and South America! Yeh, yeh…well, it’s exciting to me.

That's my plane!

Anyway, impeccable service aside, Swiss International Air Lines (the descendant of Swissair, which folded in 2002) developed a funky-fresh inflight mapping system called the Airshow, that keeps track of your plane’s progress and throws up fact boxes about key destinations en route. There’s a stat ticker at the bottom of the screen and cool swoop-around graphics of the plane and the earth. I snapped a few shots (and some video) during the flight – in the dark, so as not to look like some star-struck kid – but it’s the very idea of hurtling across the equator on a Swiss jetliner to Zurich that just says fly.

Next up: Notes on Zurich

Please tweet your comments @FlyBrother, or email me (see About page). And don’t forget to “like” me on Facebook!

0 55

Last week, the good people over at TV Cultura, one of Brazil’s most respected public television networks, came to the Time Out São Paulo offices to see how we do things at the year-old local branch of the London-based entertainment and culture magazine. I was picked to represent our fair publication, and the crew followed me on an outing to the Museu da Imagem e do Som (Museum of Image and Sound) to update our review of the place. Our publisher talked about the importance of having Time Out in a burgeoning world city like São Paulo and my editor-in-chief seduced the crew with her take on how the city reveals itself to you, slowly.

The entire video is in Portuguese (with no subtitles yet – sorry), but essentially, I talk about the sections that I cover as assistant editor of the magazine, including music, nightlife, and travel. As an editor, I hardly ever leave the office during business hours, so I assumed the role of ‘reporter’ for the piece. We joked about me taking public transportation and how sometimes that’s the best way to meet Paulistanos and interact with the city. At the end, I talk about how I’ll go back to the office and compare my notes with what we’ve already got, screwing up a bit of the tongue-twisting Portuguese grammar in the process.

A bit of behind the scenes trivia: When we were taping in front of the MIS, someone shouted “It’s a lie!” from a passing car, hehe.

So, hope you folks enjoy my first foray on Brazilian TV:

0 56
As they say in Nueva Yol..."una Barbiela!" (Manuela Scarpa/Photo Rio News)

Here she is, folks…Miss Universe 2011, the breathtaking Leila Lopes of Angola.

I definitely have to say that I had expected a Latina to win – Puerto Rico was my personal favorite, and the pageant industry in Latin America is just that…they make Misses. Still, the Philippines!, USA, France, and Venezuela all represented well. Brazil? Meh. The buzz down here is surprisingly positive, though; people feel the judges (which included Connie Chung and Vivica A. Fox, both looking good!) were fair in their scoring.

Unfortunately, I was relegated to the press tent behind the auditorium (aka WiFi Central) and couldn’t see the goings-on live and in person, but it was fun chilling with journalists from around the globe (including the boisterous team from Colombia’s Caracol network). I did, however, get to line up along the red carpet and snap this photo of outgoing Miss U, Ximena Navarrete of Mexico.

Miss U 2010, wrappin’ it up for the ’11.

The coup of the night, though, was my one-question interview with Judge Fox as she glided into the auditorium. Obsoive:

(I swear, y’all…I wasn’t trying to cut off La Fox! Her media escort said I could only ask one question, was giving the ‘wrap it up’ and was tugging on her elbow. I got nuuuuurvus.)

On the whole, it was a good, good night.