Sao Paulo (1)

Trip Start Jun 21, 2013
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59
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Trip End Sep 13, 2013


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Where I stayed
With a friend

Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Friday, August 16, 2013

Sunny in the morning but cloudier later with drizzle in Sao Paulo.
Took a taxi from the hotel to Santos Dumont Airport, the city airport in Rio which is situated near the Centro and by the bay. Nice airport, a bit like City Airport in London.
Had booked flights with GOL online whilst in London and chosen a window-seat. There are flights every 30 minutes between Rio and Sao Paulo with the flight taking an hour.
Great views over Guanabara Bay, Niteroi and Rio at take-off and then as we went down the Costa Verde over Isla Grande and probably Paraty. Had a great view over Sao Paulo before landing at Congonhas Airport which is the city airport of Sao Paulo on the south side and close to Vila Mariana where my friend, Leonor, lives. She met me at the airport and we drove to her apartment.
After lunch at a local kilo restaurant, we took a bus into the centre of the city to see the Cathedral, Sao Francisco and Sao Antonio churches, and the Teatro Muncipal. The Santander building was closed so we went to the Edificio Italia for a coffee and a wonderful view over the city from the 41st floor.
I didn't take many photos outside because Leonor told me to be wary of muggers.
We took the metro back to Vila Mariana. It was during the rush-hour so very crowded.
In the evening, we met my Leonor's son and his partner and went to a local padaria which also serves soups and sandwiches - a number of similar places in the city.
We then went to an Umbundu ceremony in the courtyard of a house which was used as an Umbundu temple. Umbundu, a word by intention or chance which is the same as the name of one of the main Bantu languages of Angola (one of the principal sources of slaves transported to Brazil), is a mixture of African religions such as animism, Judaism and Christianity. The service was held in Yoruba, one of the main languages of present-day Nigeria, from where slaves would also have come. The spirit is not within the persons who were the principals at the service but the spirit passes through them. I held hands with one of them and he asked if I had any problems. I wasn't very forthcoming but he said a few words. I was then blessed with popcorn, popcorn having a particular significance for the leader of this group of worshippers. The principals were dressed in white dresses. Someone seemed to be in a trance. Others wore headdresses made of  what seemed to be straw and they stooped because elderly people are revered and they are also expected to be stooping due to their age and the back problems older people often have. We held candles and placed them in a circle towards the end of the ceremony. There were shrines around the courtyard to gods and goddesses (probably the wrong words) such as the goddesses of the rivers and seas, and also to Saint George (of the Dragon fame) who was seen as a protector. It was a very quiet and contemplative ceremony and seemed to be providing solace and comfort to those attending.
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