Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The São Paulo Museum of Art (in Portuguese, Museu de Arte de São Paulo, or MASP)

Also over the weekend, we went to the MASP (pronounced Mash-P) which is a very famous art museum located on Paulista Ave. It's well-known for its acutal building, a 1968 concrete and glass structure design whose main body is supported by two lateral beams over a 74 meters freestanding space, considered an landmark of the city and a main symbol of modern Brazilian architecture.

Near the entrance to the MASP, we were stopped for a survey. This is Ben being interviewed (in Portuguese) by some university students. They were asking him questions about what he liked and disliked about São Paulo. He is so good!!

While the museum was very nice and had a great selection of artists works, we were both suprised by how small the museum was overall.

"Romantismo — A Arte do Entusiasmo" (Romanticism - The Art of Enthusiasm). The paintings of Bosch, El Greco, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Dali, León Ferrari, Tomie Ohtake (Paulista artist) and dozens of others show that the ideals of Romanticism in this exhibition.

The works are limited to 2 floors elevated above the freestanding space of the structure. You purchased your tickets under the building in the open air and then when you hand over your ticket for entry, you are escorted to the elevator leading to the floors above to see the exhibits.

"Cala Boca Sylvester Stallone" (portuguese for "Shut up Sylvester Stallone")

On Friday night we decided to go to the movies. Our options were limited as A) movies from the US don't make it here until much later if even released here and B) we needed it to be in English. :) So, much to Ben's hesitation, we went to see The Expendables.... For the record, it was a such a terrible movie that it was really funny and we had a great time. It is definitely one of those movies that you could play a drinking game to....take a drink everytime something explodes.

We found out later in the weekend that the movie was actually filmed in Brazil...and that Stallone had said some disrespectful things about Brazil in an interview and had lost many Brazilian fans.

"You can shoot people and blow things up and they say, ‘Thank you! Take a monkey home with you!’ We couldn’t have pulled off what we did [somewhere else]. We blew up huge plots of land. It was like, Everybody bring their hot dogs. We’re having a BBQ today. We’re gonna blow up this village.”
Apparently he was quickly attacked with the Brazilian twitter mafia for his politically incorrect comments. Media here now reports that Stallone issued an apology because he didn't want to be known as the Mel Gibson over here. Ha!
Sylvester did issue an apology, but apparently hasn't settle all of his movie making debts incurred while filming here, so he isn't out of hot water yet here at least. Also, in a later interview to promote the movie with a Brazilian reporter, Sly was presented with plush monkey in an ironic slap back for his dumb comment.
Oh Sly! You should know better than that! Shame on you. Sigh.

Ibirapuera Park - The Central Park of São Paulo, Brazil

This weekend we spent a lot of time at the park. The weather was amazing and there were tons of people enjoying the sunshine in the park as well. Ibirapuera Park is a major urban park in São Paulo. It has a large area for leisure, jogging and walking, as well as a convention center and many museums. It's importance to São Paulo is comparable to that of the Central Park to NYC.

We spent lots of time just wandering around the park and the museums both Saturday and Sunday.

Within the park, there are plenty of vendors around with food and drink. Coconut water is very popular as well. They just crack into it and pour the water into a glass for you. It is kind of strange tasting. Like water but with a strange after taste.

Art or seating area made from a fallen tree. Very pretty.

There is also an amazing array of trees and plants in the park. There is an entire nusery that we walked through where they grow everything that is later put into the park when ready. It is really something to see.

This one was just so strange I had to take a picture.

Cherry Blossoms.

They call this winter? Sign me up! :)

There was also a bonsai exhibit as well. They were teaching classes on how to manage your tree. Ben really digs these and wanted to check it out.

Such a unique art.

This tree is 105 years old. Isn't that amazing?

We also went to a modern art museum in the park. We couldn't take pictures inside, but here is some of the work on the outside of the building.

What a fun time we had relaxing in the park.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dinner at Mestiço

We had a lovely dinner with our friends Suzie and João last week at this wonderful little restaurant. It was a small place with a fun atmosphere. It certainly has a curious variety of cuisine. At Mestiço (mestizo) it's possible to find the spice seasoned dish from Bahia, the Indian curry, the Thai chili paste, the Chinese Teriyaki sauce or even the Japanese tare.

Check it out: http://www.mestico.com.br/.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Random Adventures at the Shopping (AKA the mall)

We have been to a few shopping malls here. They are not referred to as a mall here, it is only shopping. Well, at this one shopping we went to the other day, they had a store that looks exactly like LUSH from the UK, but it was called Passion. I even asked if they were related to Lush and they weren't. Ha! Compare for yourself:

We also ate at a churrascaria but for pizza. Basically they would bring over all kinds of different pizzas to your table and offer you a slice. The broccoli pizza was terrible; however, the pizza with little french fried potatoes on it was surprisingly tasty. :)

The biggest box of Tic Tacs in the world is here.......in a shopping in Brasil....

...and I was there to see it! :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Beach weekend - Maresias, SP

Saturday we left on a little getaway to the coast. This required us to rent a car and navigate our way through the city and drive about 2.5 hours to our beach destination. Here is Ben in front of our chariot of adventure - a FIAT!

It was actually a pretty nice ride. Ben did a great job of getting us through the city with no major problems. And believe you me, it was hairy during certain times.

We decided to take the scenic route to the beach and drove through the mountains. It was kind of like driving in the mountains of Colorado we decided, but with all the wrong trees. Sadly, none of my pics of the mountain areas came out - they were all too blurry.
Here was a little spot that we stopped at on the side of the road to admire this lovely waterfall. Strangely enough, there were other tourists there swimming there as well.

The views of the coast were amazing as well. What an amazing drive.

Finally we made it to our destination - Maresias!

It is a beautiful beach town surrounded by mountains. The weather was warm in the sun and cooler in the evening.

There were plenty of people out on the beach enjoying the great weather, even though it is winter here now.

We ate at a great beachside restaurant appropriately called "The German"! Ben was happy.

Such a lovely lunch with a great view.

We had this amazing meal of pumpkin shrimp served in a baked pumpkin. It was fresh shrimp served in a pumkin cheese sauce with rice. OMG it was amazing.

We stayed at a great little hotel right on the beach.

Relaxing in the lounge before hitting the beach.

It was such a lovely view. This is the hotels pool and beach access area. So nice to have breakfast while enjoying the sounds of the ocean.

We spent the morning walking down the beach. At one point, we ran into a surfing competition.

Hang loose, Ben! Surfs up!

The mountains running into the ocean......Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwah!

Overall, it was an amazing adventure. It is hard to believe that it is winter here and we were enjoying cocktails on the beach in our bathing suits. We loved it!!
Not sure what out next adventure will be. Hmmmmm.......

Making Dinner in our tiny kitchen

We can barely both fit in our kitchen, but it is fully equipped with the basics. We fumbled around a bit trying to figure out how to light the burners and the oven, trying to chop and bake and boil and steam all at the same time, etc. It was fun. While everything tastes different, we were pleased with our result.

Some pics of the grocery store just down from our flat. Yummy seafood. Very impressive.


Lots and lots of meat to chose from....

Elvis Tribute Dinner - Aug 16

On the anniversary of Elvis' Death, we went to have dinner at "The Fifties" - a little burger joint that is supposed to be fashioned after a 50's diner. It was different for sure.

Oddly enough, the most popular thing on the menu was the special fries, which was made up of fries, covered in almost fluorescent cheese sauce and bacon bits. This french fry is for you EP!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pet stores, birds and the Ceasa Market

We had some fun adventures with our friends Joao and his wife Suzi last Sunday. We went to this enormous outdoor market. It was at least several footballs feilds big. We tried fruits we had never even seen before. They had everything from plants to sea food to fruit to flowers to spices to veggies to...well you get the picture.

We went to a pet store where they had some amazing birds. We also had some fun with the translations of different pet products.

These aren't your typical birds from a US pet store.

For that matter, this isn't your typical monkey either. Ha! Not sure why they had these masks in the pet store. Maybe it was to scare your dog?

Tucan Sam at your service!

Back to the market. My pics are out of order. This is me eating fresh passion fruit. I felt very Anthony Bourdain at the time. It was slimy and weird, but tasted pretty good if you could get past the texture. :)

Meet Joao and Suzi. This is us at the market grabbing a traditional brazilian snack from a vendor. It is a fried pastry shell with cheese and chicken (or whatever you want in it) along with a drink that is made or fresh squeezed sugar cane and the fruit of your choice. We had it mixed with Pineapple. Yum!