Day 36: Another Country, Another Sunday Market

Trip Start Jan 19, 2014
Trip End Mar 28, 2014

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Flag of Brazil  , São Paulo,
Sunday, February 23, 2014

Today I had only one plan, and that was to go with Osvaldo and his wife to the street market about 30 minutes outside of Sao Paulo.  This marks the second consecutive Sunday I would be visiting a street market in two different countries.  
Embu, also Embu das Artes, is a suburb of the Sao Paulo. It is a medium sized city, that has many brick and mortar shops that are open all the time, and on Sunday's they close down the street to let street vendors sell.  With that comes local musicians, food vendors, dog sellers and anybody else trying to make a buck.

We arrived around 11am, and luckily found one of the last remaining parking spaces.  It was different then the market in Buenos Aires, because everything was spread out more.  We had more room to walk, and the vendors sprawled out for blocks.  It was obvious that the main draw here was the hand crafted wood.  Every shop had some variety of a carved mask, animal statues, toys, and anything you can imagine made from wood.  

After browsing in a few stores, I was introduced to the most popular Brazilian liquor, called Cachaça.  Cachaça, pronounced Ka-sa-sha, is a distilled alcohol made from sugarcane juice that is very similar to rum.  The major difference between cachaça and rum is that rum is usually made from molasses, while cachaça is made from fresh sugarcane juice that is fermented and distilled. It is mainly used in cocktails, such as caipirinha's and rarely drank straight.  However, that didn't stop Osvaldo from offering me to try some of the samples from the wooden barrels.  I hadn't even ate breakfast yet, and I was sipping on 50% alcohol. Normal liquor in the US is between 30-40%!  I tried only a few of the many varieties and then ran out the door.  
We browsed at a few more shops then stopped for lunch. The name of the place was "O Casarao", which was basically like a grill.  We grabbed an outside seat to enjoy the nice 90 degree weather, and listen to the music coming from  the streets.  I tried my first local Brazilian beers called Skol and Bohemia.  I would compare them to Bud Light.  For appetizer, Osvaldo ordered a massive plate served on a hot grill of sausage and onions.  It was amazing.  It could have, and should have been our main meal.  But for our main course we got cut up steak, with onion, potato, tomato, and cheese.  Everything was amazing, and once again, my best meal may have come on the first day.

Once we were able to stand up and move, we wandered over to the coconut stand.  We had been watching these ladies from our seats at lunch, and they were working as fast as they could to keep up with demand.  They were using a tool to extract the coconut juice from inside the shell, and draining them through a machine, and into a plastic bottle.  Seeing that it was only a few dollars for a bottle, we all bought one. The taste was very unique.  It was a sweet taste, with a hint of coconut flavor, and a bit thicker than water. 

I returned to some of the shops I had already stopped at, and purchased the things that I wanted.  That included a wooden statue of a toucan bird, a wooden incense holder, a bird that grabs toothpicks with its beak, and a few other small items.  Everything was reasonably priced, and I even was able to barter some of the prices down.  

From there, we made our last stop at a museum.  It was not only a museum, but it was a 300 year old church.  Igreja do Rosário (the Church of the Rosary), was built in 1690 by the Jesuits.  The Jesuits mission was to convert the native population to Roman Catholicism, in an attempt to use them as farm workers in the region.  There wasn't much inside, other than security guards making sure you didn't take pictures, even though there was nothing to photograph.  The best part about this place was the views from the 2nd floor of the market.

The 90 degree heat was beginning to take its toll, and we were worn out.  We made one last stop at the homemade ice-cream shop, and Osvaldo treated me to Passion Fruit flavored ice cream.  It was very refreshing and cooled us down.  

I returned to the hotel, and began to prepare for the week.  I already have to check out of the hotel tomorrow.  I will be leaving the city and taking a 4 night adventure to the Brazilian Duke Hydro Plants. 

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Terri on

What a bunch of neat stuff!!

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