Brazil... wow!! We may have only been to São Paulo but we love it already!! After a tricky journey to get here, including 3 local buses (in rush hour with our rucksacks) just to get to the bus station at Foz do Iguaçu, we reached the main bus station and got a 17 hour (should have been 15) to the city where a little boy kicked our chair constantly, very enjoyable! Apparently one of the most dangerous bus rides to do, but we survived (as always).
We were met by our friend Feliphe (one of our Brazilian friends from Fraser Island, Australia) and that night went out and partied into Sam's birthday, singing various versions of the song to her at 12 o'clock. After getting in at 6am we were up and out again to Luis's house for 11am to watch the Brazil game and after the disappointing 0-0 draw we went round to another friends house where we were treated to our first Brazilian BBQ. This is where we realised how wrong we do things at home. For a start when we enter a house, party etc we usually say hi to a few people and just a general 'hey' to everyone else, but in Brazil they make the effort to go round to everyone individually to say hi, giving a kiss and hug (very nice when there's hot people involved). Secondly, at home when we have BBQs we all pile our plates up with food whilst here they cook gorgeous food (yes lots of steak) and cut it up and pass it around, sounds strange but it is such a good idea, sharing food gradually!
Some people were working so it got a bit busier later and even his Grandparents (who were so cute) called round. The boys play in bands so after a few drinks the instruments were out and we got our first taste of Brazilian music. Everyone got involved in the Samba playing at some point, even us (yes we do have some rhythm). We went round to a girl's house to get changed (and lend clothes because we didn't realise we wouldn't be going back home) then all headed off to a samba club. At first we weren't too sure about the music, partly because we hadn't heard it before, but it gradually grew on us and now we're big fans =)
The rest of São Paulo is the same really, getting in at 6/7am, sleeping for a few hours then starting all over again! It's the holidays here now so although a few people work, the first few weeks people just enjoy themselves. We didn't go to any nightclubs (keeping that for Rio) but we went to lots of bars and clubs that play different music (live bands, jazz etc). We watched one of the Brazil games at another friend's apartment and got the incredible view of the city in both the day and the night, people come to São Paulo just to see this! One evening we went to Ibirapuera Park and walked around the lake which was really nice, very similar to Central Park in New York in the sense that it's in the middle of the city.
As well as being the largest city in Brazil, São Paulo is the largest city in the southern hemisphere and the worlds 7th largest metropolitan area. No matter what time of day it is the roads are always busy, especially in the evenings when people finish work.
Feliphe's parents don't speak any English but luckily both his sister and brother do so they were our translators. We spent a fair bit of time with his Mum and sister and despite the language barrier, got on really well with them. Because we were both away for our birthdays his family took us out to a Brazilian restaurant the first Sunday we were there and it was incredible! There is every type of food imaginable set up as a buffet that you help yourself to, then waiters come round to the table with skewers of different steaks that they carve at the table! It was amazing!!
We went to the beach for a few days and stayed at Feliphe's beach house, and wow it was incredible! The house is something you would expect to see on cribs, big glass front with a spiral staircase and in the garden a pool that connects to the sauna, we had a nice relaxing time here. When we stayed, there was only some furniture as everything was being imported from Miami, but a few days later we all went down as the truck had arrived and when everything is all unpacked the house will be unbelievable!
On our last night we met up with Eduardo and Marco (two of the other guys from Fraser) which was really nice, chatting about Australia brought back all the memories that feel like so long ago but at the same time just like yesterday.
All Felipe's friends were so welcoming and even though English isn't their first language they made such an effort to speak it around us and include us in everything. The girls went on the beer run one night and we had 90s boy band music playing in the car, felt so at home and yet we'd only just met them! One thing we did find strange was where they drink, along with bars we would drink at bakeries and petrol stations! Yes bizarre as it sounds everyone would meet at the gas station to have drinks then head to a club afterwards, or after a club head to the bakery to carry on drinking, definitely something we wouldn't do at home.
The original plan was to stay a week but two weeks later we were still in São Paulo. Saying goodbye to everyone, especially his family who had made us so welcome, was a bit sad but we've told them we'll be back at some point, which made it easier. Feliphe decided he was going to come to Rio with us and when his friends heard, those who weren't working decided they wanted to come too, so we set off in two cars to Rio. Hello lads weekend (+ Sam and Dani), hello World Cup Final, hello Rio!!!