Today we went to the Pinacoteca, an art museum here in São Paulo, it was really cool. Pretty small, as far as museums go, but had a big range of stuff--lots of native Brazilian painters and landscapes etc from around Brazil, weird French sculptures and exhibitions, Brazilian photography, some old old landscapes of Rio from the 1800s which were fascinating, etc etc. It was really nice, and it's in a park, Parque de Luz which was really pretty too--way back when it used to be the botanical garden of the city. I should be able to upload pics pretty soon and I'll see what I can do to put some up here, though really I haven't been taking too too many yet.
I love the metro and bus systems here. Haha Olimpia hates the bus, and I see why usually, it's kinda dirty, sometimes depending on the bus driver it feels quite life-threatening, and no matter what it's always bumpy enough to be uncomfortable. plus it feels way slower than the metro, but the closest stop to us is a good 10-15 minute walk, all uphill, and so in the end the buses are probably usually faster. But yea I think the buses are fun, I've always liked them, both in Brazil and like last year when I was in Albuquerque and took the bus everday. But yep. The metro system here is also really good-- the stations and trains are always large and clean, and we haven't had any problems with it yet. It doesn't really go that many places (there are only 3 lines, though really kinda 2.5 since the third isn't too big) but enough for anywhere we've had to /wanted to go so far.
Anyway yesterday we went to a favela. Like a real one. Jose, a coworker of Heidi's who has been showing us around a lot, grew up in one and took us there. Just getting there was an experience in and of itself, and that was mainly when we felt like we were going to die on the bus, hahaha. We went and toured his old grade school, which was really interesting. Trying to get IN was the hardest part, we had to assure them over and over we didn't have cameras etc, had to tell them were Olimpia and I were from, where we were born, haha all this stuff. And all of this in spite of the fact that the lady at the fron desk REMEBERED him from when he was there 25 years ago! Haha but then finally she took us around and showed us, and that was really interesting. It was a pretty small place but she said they have like 1,700 students, but they also have three periods of schooling. 8-11:30am, 12-3:30pm and like 5-8:30 or something like that. And so people choose which time they attend, so they can fit more kids. It was a K-Jr High school, which in Brazil means like 6 through 14 yrs old I think.
But yea the favela was... unsettling. He took us into the "deep favela"which only had tiny little passages, horribly paved and/or not at all, in which we hadroom to walk single-file, full (again) of dog poop and water (or pee?), houses, if you can call the 2-buildings made of cement blocks houses, towering on either side of us. We went inside one of them to visit some old friends of his. He told us all sorts of stories from when he was a kid and it was a lot more violent and dangerous there and he saw people getting shot right in front of him. He showed us his old house and said standing in his doorway as a 5-yr-old he saw police chase down a 14yrold boy and shoot him twice down the road, and then drag him over and shot him in the head right in front of his house to "finish the job." Yea. He's lucky to have gotten out of there, he says almost all of his childhood friends are dead by now, and he's only 34. He's now a successful lawyer, works with international prisoners' rights, but even his parents still live in the favela. Crazy shit, crazy shit.
Anyway got to run to dinner, we're at Heidi's and if we don't make it back to the Casa in time we'll only get rice and beans cuz the meat will have run out. Hah.