Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bank Account Question

Fellow foreigners,

Did any of you open bank accounts here with your Brazilian partners before you got any Brazilian IDs or proof of salary? Like, were you able to register as a dependent on your Brazilian partner's account with only your passport, CPF, and a bill in your name?

If so, was it a savings account or checking account?
And which bank did you have any luck at?

Last question: Can someone sedate me before I go postal on all the bureaucrats in this country? Thanks.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Brazilian Family Steps it Up

So this weekend Alexandre and I had a spat. I'm simplifying things but the point is, we were in each other's hair and at each other's throats and I needed a break. I decided to try a new route of dealing with our problems: I pulled out the big guns, a.k.a his family, for reinforcement.

His mother insisted to both of us separately on the phone that we would be fine, but we just needed some breathing room. We weren't so sure. She encouraged me to come to their house for a couple of days, reminding me that I could continue my Skype classes using their internet. Typically, my in-laws were the last people I'd want to involve in an argument with Alexandre, but I was kind of desperate to talk to people who know him (almost) as well as I do. Sleeping in their giant house in their quiet neighborhood and having the maids cook for me and clean up after me for a couple of nights didn't sound too bad, either.

I checked with Alexandre that he wouldn't feel like I was imposing by hijacking his family during the argument, but he was in grouchy boy mood and was indifferent. (Back story: Alexandre's a Brazilian guy and is therefore very close to his parents. When I first moved to Brazil and when Alexandre and I came to visit his family for the first time, I was very bothered by this weird thing that the kids adult children in his family do: his parents have a giant bed, and it's not uncommon for the parents to each lay on their side of the bed after lunch or whatever, and for Alexandre or his sister or his brother (though less so) to lay in the bed between the parents and have heart-to-heart chats. I'm not against parent-child chats, but I thought the whole "everyone lying in bed together" thing was a little too close to pillow talk for my comfort.)

OK, so on the bus I went. Because of people-leaving-the-beach-on-a-Sunday-night traffic, the bus took quite a while, and I didn't get to the in-laws' house until almost midnight. But they were ready. Even though they all had to get up early to go to work, they were sitting at the dining room table waiting for me -- even the typically insuportável sister-in-law! -- with dinner leftovers heated up for me and some juice and water and cake.

It didn't matter that they were tired, or that they had to work in a few hours, or that Alexandre is their first-born son and therefore can do no wrong. I was there and I was in pain and I was clearly in need in some good-old-fashioned family gossip and analysis. Obviously, while they reminded me to empathize a little with Alexandre, they agreed with everything I said on the whole, interpreted Alexandre's behavior the way I did, and reminded me that I'm not crazy and also that he and I do love each other very much and that spats among married couples are normal. The three of them each had helpful things to say, most of which included the fact that our current living situation isn't exactly conducive to a happy, healthy relationship. I went to bed much calmer.

This afternoon around lunch time, I got a call from Alexandre, who'd seen the error of his ways and asked me to hurry up and come home. I said my apologies too, and of course cried a little, because I cry easily. He informed me that he'd already checked into the bus schedule and that I could get a bus home at 7pm and that he'd pick me up from the bus station and could I please come back now?

I went downstairs to tell his parents, who had come home from work for lunch and were now relaxing in their bed and talking. I stood in the doorway and explained that Alexandre had called and had calmed down, too, and was asking me to come back. They smiled and said happy things.

Then his mother patted the middle of the bed, in the wide, white space between them. "Come on," she coaxed, "lay down right here!"

Me? Part of the in-bed chats? I hesitated, but then admitted how comforting it looked. I squeezed in between them, cautiously, but soon realized that it was quite a nice place to be, perhaps how kangaroo babies feel in their mother's pouch on a sunny hopping stroll, and I soon found myself lying on my stomach and merrily kicking my legs in the air.

Alexandre's mother suggested that I stay another day anyway, trying to lure me with visions of shoe shopping and Italian food for dinner. I said it would be better for me to go back sooner than later so Alexandre and I would be able to talk properly, after having had some time to think on our own.

They were so good to me. This isn't a method I'll employ for just any old reason, but it's comforting to know that they'll treat me like family if I need them to.

And, come on, I tattled to the mother-in-law AND I shared a weird in-bed-bonding moment with the parents. Am I Brazilian yet?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Alternative Sao Paulo Meetup this Saturday!

So the blogger meetup in Sao Paulo that I tried to initiate is on hold, but Diego from Inside São Paulo is organizing an even bigger and better one, and he's holding it this Saturday, November 26th.

Get discounts and drinks at a restaurant called Estação SP. Diego has worked with the restaurant to offer a really nice experience for anyone who can make it -- bloggers, foreigners, tourists and visitors, "gringo sympathizers" (that means you, friendly Brazilian readers!), and everyone's friends and families. The more the merrier! I encourage you all to go. If anything, Diego's really cool and you'll enjoy talking to him!

Get the details of Diego's Sao Paulo meetup by clicking here. I won't be able to go, but I hope you guys can check it out!

Monday, November 21, 2011

At a Loss

This town is really, really getting to me, and the fact that Alexandre's gone for work all the time doesn't make things any easier to deal with.

As some of you may know, there's a cultural phenomenon (bane?) in Brazil called the flanelinha. The most common type of flanelinha I see is the guy who stands in a parking lot or on a street with a lot of street parking. When you get out of your car, he calls out to you using gibberish sounds and gives you lots of thumbs-up signs. This means that he will "watch your car" for you and supposedly protect it from hijackers. If you acknowledge him, that means you enter into this contract and will give him your spare change when you come back to your car. If you refuse to acknowledge him or deny his services outright, you run the risk of him keying your car out of spite.

I detest this forced, mafia-like "agreement" and it annoys me that police do not intervene and shoo these guys away. I feel like my car is safer when these guys are not there. I mean, really? What are they going to do if a thief comes up to my car? Risk their lives to stop the guy because I agreed to give them 50 cents if I see them when I'm leaving the restaurant?

Peace-down-to-his-core Alexandre has long since accepted these guys. He is always friendly with them, and he always gives them change if he has any, even if the guy wasn't there when we pulled in but comes running up to us on our way out, insisting that he'd been "protecting our car" the whole time. 

Personally, I'd rather the guy just ask me for money directly than force me to play along in this act. When I'm alone, I return the thumbs up but then avoid them on my way back out to the car. I lived in Berkeley AND San Diego, so I've pretty much become desensitized to people begging for money. You can think it's heartless if you want and I'll understand you. I just had to decide a long time ago, "well, you can't give everyone a dollar, so you might as well not give anyone a dollar." I was stopped and asked for money by five different people, just today. I've gotta turn myself off to it or I'll go crazy.

Anyway, back to the flanelinhas. I was pulling the car out of a parking spot today and a flanelinha woman came running up to me. (I was surprised; they're usually men.) I was already out of the parking spot, but she was waving her arms around and pretending that she was helping to guide me out onto the street (where I already was). Then she ran up to the car window with her hands out, expectant. 

My purse was in the backseat and I was starting to block traffic, and it's not like she'd done anything anyway. If she'd just come up and asked me for money at that point, I would've said no because I was now driving, not stopped or anything. I looked down and saw a coin in the ashtray. I quickly gave it to her and then put the gar in gear. I didn't even look at what coin it was-- turns out it was a ten-cent piece.

Well. This woman was apparently offended that I gave her only ten cents for all of her hard work. She THREW THE COIN IN MY FACE and started yelling at me, stuff I couldn't understand but something unintelligible about how I could just keep my spare change for myself. I hightailed it out of there before things could get any worse.

The exchange just didn't really make any sense to me at all, for all the obvious reasons. It just reminded me of how I'm just so over living here in this town. 

On a social level, I'm isolated because my life experiences, my values, my social rules, my hobbies, and my appearance are different. Being poor in the US is not the same as being poor in Brazil, so just because I grew up in a working-class American family, it doesn't mean I identify with it today, and it certainly doesn't mean I've moved into this developing world urban sprawl and fit right in. 

On a more practical level, my Maslow's hierarchy of needs isn't really being met. (I don't feel safe and I don't sleep well with all the noise and basic daily tasks are stressful.) Things are tense and chaotic around here and this weird run-in with the flanelinha was just another example.

Just a couple more months to get through. In the meantime, I'm hoping Pernambuco Gypsy can write a funny spin on phenomena like these to help make them a little more bearable. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gender is not Gender (Nerdy Hour, Kind of)

All right. Most of you know (from being my real-life friend or from deducing it from the blog) that I consider myself a feminist. But there's this new trend in Portuguese that's really got feminist ideals all wrong, and it's breaking linguistic rules and really bothering me. Allow me to explain.

Portuguese is a language that has grammatical gender. In linguistics, the word gender just means "different categories of nouns that provoke agreement with other words." Read that again. In language, the word "gender" just means "different categories of nouns." Lots and lots of languages have gender. It's no big deal.

Most of you either study Portuguese or have studied some other, non-English language in your lives, so this concept is probably not strange to you.

A mesa está limpa. = The table is clean.
O ventilador está limpo. = The fan is clean.

The English sentences don't reflect it, but, as you can see in the changes to the Portuguese, the words mesa (table) and ventilador (fan) are in different noun categories. They have different genders (grammatical genders!). In Portuguese, a mesa (the table) is a feminine noun, while o ventilador (the fan) is a masculine noun.

The problem comes when we start talking about people in Portuguese.
A garçonete = the waitress
O garçom = the waiter
As garçonetes = the waitresses
Os garçons = the waiters OR a group of waiters and waitresses

As you can see above, when you talk about plural groups of people that include both human genders, you choose the masculine grammatical gender. So for example, the word for "parents" and the word for "fathers" are the same word (pais, literally "fathers") in Portuguese. The word for "Brazilians" and "Brazilian men" is the same (brasileiros).

It's just so unfortunate that someone in the history of linguistics decided to use the words "gender," "masculine," and "feminine" for this phenomenon, because people are getting things all mixed up. Some Portuguese speakers have decided that grammatical gender is sexist! President Dilma (a woman) refuses to use the masculine grammatical gender to refer to women, so she says things like "brasileiros e brasileiras" "senadores e senadoras" and "professores e professoras." It was witty the first, ya know, 4 times. Now it's just cumbersome (and ungrammatical!). And now, it's all the rage in the blog world to write words like this: brasileir@s; sendaor@s; professor@s and the word tod@s for "everyone".


As you can see in the title of this blog entry, GENDER IS NOT GENDER. The fact that the masculine gender is used for groups of people has nothing to do with human gender or sexism or oppressing women or anything. It's a coincidence!

It's not like some proto-Indo-European-speaking cavemen sat around their fire and said "let's talk about people in the plural as men! It'll be a great way to subconsciously convince women that they should quietly fade into the background if men are present!" I mean, really.  I want people who buy into this whole idea to really think it through. The word for "person" (a pessoa) is grammatically feminine. Does that mean we insult a man's masculinity by calling him a person? A group of children (as crianças) is also grammatically feminine. How do we fairly account for the boys in the group?

Oh wait. we already do. Because the word is plural, and it means "a group of kids that may be all boys or all girls or a mixture of the two human genders and we know from context because that's how our language works".

And what about our good old friends, the table and the fan? Should we stop saying a mesa because men eat at tables, too? Should we stop saying o ventilador because women use fans?

Grammatical gender is arbitrary. As my friend Bianca has so kindly informed me, German and Italian default to feminine nouns when they're plural. Does that mean Germany and Italy have got all of their women's rights issues covered? Is Italy less misogynistic than Brazil? Or is the US less so because English grammar doesn't have this issue at all? Plus, German has 3 grammatical genders! What are you gonna do about that? As you can see, this notion of gender neutrality in a language with grammatical gender really is ridiculous if you think about it for more than five seconds.

So, to the @ people: I'm with you on the feminist movement, but this is not the right way to go about it. You're just making communication more difficult. If you want to get back on track with helping fight the good fight as a feminist, read this book. You're welcome.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Birds in the New City

So a couple of weekends ago, Alexandre and I went to the city we'll be living in next year for a visit. (In case you forgot, we're only living here in the poor beach town [which seemed much nicer in the pics from Google Images] until the end of the year, when Alexandre finishes the military service and starts his residency.) I'm not going to say the name, but I'll say we're going back to the interior, but not nearly as far inland as Caipirópolis was. São Paulo is only a (kind of) short bus ride away (far enough to make the rent prices a little more accessible!).

Anyway, we decided to start our apartment search in our new city. (Once I move there and learn more about it, I'll make up a funny name for you guys.) It's a little early to look for a place, but we mostly wanted to at least get an idea of the neighborhoods that we can consider. (We're also considering renting a small house, if I can talk Alexandre into it and if I can work with the leasing office people to convince him that we're not going to get robbed/pillaged/left for dead. I think apartment living is a false sense of security! Thoughts?)

Anyway, holy cow. It's a whole other world. It's one of the bigger cities in the state and it has a high standard of living. I'd been there before but not looking at it with "where do I want to live in this place?" perspective. The poverty of this beach town and the stress and chaos of our neighborhood are really, really getting to me. So is not being able to work very much. This visit was nice because it gave me some freakin' hope.

Blog reader-turned-buddy Bianca is actually from this city, and was kind enough to take us around to show us some nice parts. She took us to a lake/trail area and I got to see soooo many birds! I've missed my feathered friends! I didn't have my camera with me (drat!), so Wikipedia pictures will have to suffice:

I FINALLY got to see a green kingfisher (because it was the male, its chest was actually red, not green) and got to sing the Joanna song and stare at it for a little while, much to Bianca and Alexandre's dismay. But I enjoyed the moment. I'd been waiting for it ever since I bought my bird book in Foz do Iguaçu a couple of years ago.
"Kingfisher, sound the alarm!" (credit)
We saw a green ibis (a.k.a. coró-coró):

And also a lineated woodpecker, which is called pica-pau-de-banda-branca in Portuguese. Man, we were SO close to it. My picture would've been amazing, but here's one from the internet:

Then of course we saw some smooth-billed anis, but those are old hat:

the name in Portuguese is anu preto. Read Bittersweet's beautiful post about them here.

It's a good chance we'll end up living close to this reserve where all the birds were. I can't wait!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Don't Suck Out that Baby!

So recently, Alexandre had to go to the illustrious city of Cubatão for some work stuff. I know that Alex from Bossa Breezes is familiar with it, but for those of you who have never heard of it, you're missing out! It's a real gem. You know, a testament to the industrial revolution. Go ahead and do a Google Images search to see how pristine and clean it is. It's famous for being one of the most polluted cities in the world, so much so that babies started being born without brains. (Read more of the fun on Wikipedia.) Supposedly it's better now, but I've driven through it. It's not pretty.

Anyway, Alexandre was handed an anti-abortion flyer from someone from "the Association in Defense of the Source of Life and Family". From Cubatão. I FIND THIS EXTREMELY IRONIC.

I'll let you bask in that irony for a bit.

Now I'm going to show you the flyer, which Alexandre saved for the specific purpose of my sharing it with all of you. (He's so good to us!)

Here it is, in all its glory:

I don't want to translate all of it; I think the pictures are really what make the flyer what it is. Notice the tiny little baby in the adult man's hands at the top. And then there's the tiny little baby under the side that says "VIDA SIM!" (Yes to life!).

 Above it, it says, "the baby's tiny little heart starts beating at approximately 20 days." Then, the baby, which apparently can already crawl in the mother's uterus, says, "I'm completely formed, but I have to wait until it's time to be born!" This is the baby's status at the 12-week mark, according to the flyer. (Damn, I thought I was a cool baby for walking at 9 months, and for thinking at 1 year!)

 Then there's the little fetus crying. It says, "I'm innocent, and I've been condemned to death. I can't cry. I can't run. I can't call for help. Won't you do anything to defend me?"

Then, under the part that says "ABORTO NÃO!" (No to abortion!), the pictures of how abortion happens are even better.

I mean, look at that one of the baby getting sucked out of the uterus and broken up into tiny bits. Look at its little face of panic!

And when the abortion occurs through "curreting" (#2), it seems as though the baby's suffering face is left for last, and the baby can still feel pain, even when the rest of its body has been chopped up.

Oh yes, and apparently, babies cry when they're aborted. And according to type of abortion #3, which is "a c-section to kill the baby," "sometimes, the baby comes out still alive and is murdered afterwards."

I don't want this post to turn into a debate on abortion. I think my opinion is pretty clear here, and that's not the point. My first point of this post is to entertain you with the flyer's over-the-top nature. My second point is that this flyer is ineffective, because the few people whose sympathies would be swayed by a flyer like this (evangelical grandmothers) are already against abortion. I doubt that this misinformation and this oversimplified attempt to humanize a fetus are going to convince anyone new to join the pro-life movement. Try appealing to my intelligence rather than drawing and photocopying cartoons, ya know? I mean, try telling me something logical, rather than insisting, "but the poor little wittle baby's little wittle heart is beating and the wittle baby's gonna just be so saaaaad!"

Um, also, Cubatão? You're anti-abortion? Really? Because forcing all babies to come to full term has proven wildly successful for you in the past...?

One more point: Abortion's already illegal in Brazil, so this flyer is moot. Shouldn't the other side be the one making the flyers? I'll bet I'd be able to find some nice and gruesome pictures from this "Valley of Death" showing what happens when a woman isn't allowed to get an abortion, even if doctors know early on that her baby is going to look like this. Because that's the law right now in Brazil, and that's much scarier than anything this Christian cartoonist could think up.

I'll go ahead and publish all of your comments on this one! Just know that if you try to use my blog comments section as your soapbox, it's going to be about as effective as this flyer was on me. If you're offended, then please, by all means, call up the organization in Cubatão to offer your support, and stop reading my blog.

Bad Words

So I can't figure out why Brazilians are surprised when I know and say bad words in Portuguese. When I've sworn, quite a few people have asked, "how did you learn that word?!!?!"

I really, really don't understand this question.

Brazilians are people; that means they use bad words (except, of course, for the Catholic grandmothers who believe that words have power to call up demons or something). I live here, so I hear them. I memorize them because they're useful ways to translate the typical cornucopia of vulgarity-mixed-with-formal-English running through my brain.

I would understand if people were surprised that someone as seemingly sweet and innocent as I would use these words. I would also understand if they were amused by hearing bad words from their native language spoken with an accent: it's a centuries-old source of human entertainment. But what I don't get is how people are confused by where I could've possibly picked the word up.

Umm... I have 4 words for them: Alexandre. X-Box. FIFA 2010. (Let's count the year as one word.)

One of my favorite bad words in Portuguese is biscate. It means "slut." (I prefer "whore" in English, but the translation [puta, an easy one for you Spanish speakers] is just too literal in Portuguese and doesn't work as well.) Unfortunately, biscate seems to lack an adjectival equivalent ("slutty"). My friends back in Caipirópolis did not ask me this strange question about my swear word acquisition (they knew I'd learned at least half the words from them). They were, however, bemused by my attempts at using the word biscate as an adjective, putting it into phrases like Ela falou uma coisa meio biscate.  Not correct, but the girls got my drift. They also approved of my correct deduction that led to the word biscatinha, which translates to "little slut" (usually in the porno way to use that term) but which I prefer to use to mean "just a little bit slutty" or as a term of endearment for a friend who is acting like a slut (it's OK, she knows who she is).

While Mary was here, she heard the ever-popular puta que pariu, which functions as a slightly stronger form of "god damn it!" but which literally translates to "whore that gave birth!" Once I supplied her with that translation, I realized just how ridiculous the term is, and now it's hard for me to take Alexandre seriously when he's mad.

Don't feel bad for him. He laughs at me every time I say "piece of shit!" for the same reason. He also laughed at me when I tried to really dig in an insult by translating it, saying Isso é preguiça paRA caralho! instead of pa' caralho. I failed, clearly. My mistake was akin to that of a foreigner saying "I'm piss-ed off!" and clearly enunciating the -ed.

But my conclusion is: bad words are fun and necessary in the right time and place. Sociolinguistics dictates that informal language is not wrong; it's just wrong in the wrong context. So that's fine if you're one of those people who say, "Oh no, I never use bad words! 'Fiddlesticks' is as far as I go!" but just so you know, you're distancing yourself from all the cool people that could be your friends and no one will even realize why. They'll just think something like, "man, that girl's not very accessible!" Scientific fact.*

*That second link quotes that, when used in the right context and not to express aggression or violence toward someone else, that swear words can "promote social harmony or cohesion."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sao Paulo People --

Hey, so. I think it's high time we organize a São Paulo blogger meetup before people start dispersing for the holidays. This meetup would include all of you ex-pats living in and around São Paulo, plus the handful of Brazilians with blogs / ties to the US / an interest in meeting people and speaking English and having a good day, plus anyone else (ahem LindseycomevisitagainfromRio), plus everyone's kids and partners. The more the merrier!

Thoughts? Would you go?

If you're shy and/or wary of the idea, read about the success of our Rio blogger meetup here and here.

If you were feeling shy and/or wary but went to the Rio blogger meetup anyway and had a great time, say so in the comments to encourage your fellow hesitators (not a word).


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mary's Visit (belated post!)

I know, I took way too long to write this post about Mary's trip! It doesn't mean I didn't have a great time -- it means I've just been busy since she left.

Mary was only able to come for a week, but we definitely made the most of it.

We went straight from the airport to the in-law's beach house.

 Barbecue, beach, and books in hammocks!
(yeah, I kinda burned that garlic bread a bit. The perils of barbecuing without Alexandre!)

Mary had her first taste of fresh coconut water juice...

...and her first caipirinha:

We used one of the cloudier days to explore the more untamed parts of the fancy beach town. It sure was some gorgeous greenery.

anyone know what this plant is called? I've seen it in a few different places, but I don't know the name. It's so cool. Its "leaves" (?) fill with water and other plant debris when it rains.

What about this one?

We got this picture of the creepy Snow White figurine phenomenon, just for my buddy at Born Again Brazilian:

On our hike, we also literally stumbled upon a squirrel cuckoo, as in, practically stepped on its tail and didn't notice it until it flew up into the tree next to us! (I explain that to make sure you know that I know how to use the word "literally" correctly.)  The whole thing was so fast that we couldn't get a decent picture, but luckily I recognized it from my bird book (its giant tail and beady red eyes make it unique). Here's a picture from UNESP's website:

They're actually good-sized birds, and they're so elegant. Fun fact: their name in Portuguese is alma-de-gato, which means "cat soul". Anyone know why? I don't, and I'm curious!

Speaking of birds, we were pretty lucky with our sightings during Mary's trip, what with spring and all. We didn't see as many different birds as Jamie and I saw during her trip during the summer, but Mary did get to experience...

a whole bunch of Brazilian tanagers, often collecting nesting materials with their frumpy mates

A lot of rufous-bellied thrushes doing the same thing (I took those pics! Click to make them larger)

 southern lawpings (quero-queros) and their babies (see the little baby?! eeeeee)

a blue heron (I was excited by how close we got, obviously)

and some black skimmers (a.k.a. talha-mar), which I've seen around our beach town since we moved here but which I never knew the name of until now -- this picture is from Wikipedia

So we I definitely got some bird time in during the trip. :)

After the beach house, we went back to my apartment. Not much to do around here, and it was raining, so that limited our beach options. Mary got to meet Gatinha and try real açaí for the first time (much better as a fruit than a supplement):

Then we took a boat ride around the bay. Because of the rain, it was only us and a bunch of kids on a field trip. They were very interested in / confused by Mary's height and inability to understand Portuguese. But they took to her once she won the captain's raffle and passed on her potato chip prize to the kids next to her.
 Even with the rain, the boat ride was really pretty. I learned that there are some pristine isolated beaches just a boat ride away from my apartment! Now I just need to find someone with a boat to take us to them...

my smile looks innocent enough, but I'm secretly plotting a way to get on that beach behind me
To entertain the kids, the captain played some Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. He also tried to get a laugh out of them with "My Heart Will Go On," but it kind of went over their heads. We adults on board enjoyed it, though.

During Mary's trip, we took her to an obligatory all-you-can-eat sushi dinner:
shaky pic courtesy of the waitress, who was too busy obsessing about the fact that Mary spoke another language, telling Alexandre "Make her say something in English!" and then gawking in amazement at their mutual unintelligibility to get a good picture.

Oh, and Mary got a stealth picture of that "Gonna!" store:

And we went to the big farmer's market by my apartment. Mary got to try all kinds of Brazilian fruits, like caju, pinha, jabuticaba, and, of course, perfect, fresh mangoes.

After a couple of nights in our apartment, Mary and I went off to Sao Paulo for her last day before going home. Again, more rain, but luckily Mary is enjoyable and optimistic company.

We went to a "Museum of Brazilian Art" (the FAAP Museu). Don't go there. It's 2 rooms of BS. There is so much better Brazilian art out there -- don't let this place give you a bad impression.

We walked up and down Avenida Paulista. We checked out the botanical garden. We had lunch at a simple yet tasty per-kilo place. We got some fancy coffee. 

It was a nice final day for Mary in Brazil. She got an idea of the world's second-largest city (mostly by spending half of the day on transportation of some sort).

I was sad when she left!!!!

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