Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mama Hen’s Day

Sunday was rest day for the band.  Moana went out shopping with the CAO Danna to have a little girl time.  Funny how this trip proved to be the antithesis of my prior trip.  Last one was full of estrogen; this one had a lot more testosterone.  Keola, Jeff and I joked like teenage boys for most of the adventure, and Moana rolled her eyes at we three juveniles.

I did a little reconnaissance work on Avenida Paulista and found a craft market and antique market.  I found a metal Don Quijote statue fashioned of copper wire, keys and Brazilian metal emblems.  I bargained for it, then paid the merchant full price because Don Quijote was worth so much to me.  I also found a wonderful antiques market that featured booths and booths of relics under the MASPA- (SP art museum).

I returned to fetch Keola and Jeff and took them up to the markets.  I introduced them to the Brazilian-Lebanese snack kibbe, ground beef with mint and parsley rolled in bulgar and deep fried.  Kibbe has a turd-shaped quality to it, so that was fodder for much laughing.  Once the jokes died down, the kibbe was pretty delicious to them.  After a lil wandering through the markets, we decided to try to find a nice café in a park area where we could people-watch and sip caiprinhas.  I picked a place called Bom Retiro (“Good Rest”), which my lil guide book made sound interesting. 

We hopped a cab and sped through the streets.  The areas were starting to look a lil more ominous, as we started passing more and more shuttered buildings, working girls and homeless splayed out on the street.  The driver pulled up to a shuttered street and tried to let us off at the place I had asked for.  Umm…this Virgil had led us astray.  I told the driver that this was not exactly what we wanted and tried to explain what we were looking for (café, park, caiprinhas, etc).  He drove us on another ten minutes and left us just slightly better than nowhere.  I was about to put us in another taxi and write off the misadventure, but we decided to venture away from the homeless park and hope we found something a little better.  We wandered the streets for about ten minutes and found some more life in the form of a Sunday produce market.

We stopped for a lil snack in the form of pastel, which is a flaky long, rectangular crust stuffed with various fillings.  To make up for the misadventure, I bought the group one filled with ground beef, one with shredded chicken and one with hearts of palm mash.  We sat on small plastic stools, munching the fried treat covered in hot sauce, and sipping fresh coconut water.  We wandered through the local market which was starting to close, past large pineapples, papayas and chirimoyas.  We stopped at a little bar/café and got a large beer which we sipped communally out of small cups.  Then we got out of a neighborhood we had no business in.

We took a cab back into our neighborhood, past plenty of places on Avenida Paulista which would have served for exactly what we were looking for, and down to a nice café near the hotel where we spent the rest of the afternoon sipping caiprinhas and red wine. 

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