The Otium Post

The Otium Post


A day on Avenida Paulista in the mega-town of São Paulo

The Avenida Paulista takes longer than I thought to cover entirely. I go up there, from Trianon-MASP Metro Station at 7:45 AM a Thursday, the streets still half empty, the shops closed. The day is beautiful, sunless, but pretty clear, everything: air, bicycle lanes, even the asphalt. It had rained hard the night before. The smell of coffee is remarkable. This scent always causes me tast sensations. It brings back memories of the first time I lived in São Paulo, nearby, at the corner of Brigadeiro Luis Antonio. 

Building on the United Nations, gringo of all, I, in 1980. I remember with shame, even today, having raised my voice and fought a pub in Paulista for refusing to serve me feijoada on a Tuesday. When I arrived there was little of the United States. I already spoke Portuguese reasonably. But it was my first time alone in the country, independent and free. At that time the menu of pubs followed a strict schedule. I did not know that. Was upset to Paulista in the second, the steak rolê on Tuesday, feijoada on Wednesday, macar-Ram chicken on Thursday, fish on Friday and again on Saturday feijoada. Learned, over time, to feel the right course at the right day of the week. But it took a while. At the very beginning of my stay I decided, on a Tuesday, I would eat feijoada, and found inexplicable refusal. The barman looked at me with pity. A case of hospitality,you may have thought. I imagine him telling the story to his woman at night. Just the smell of coffee in the street to cause this memory. 

I am in São Paulo to attend a lecture on the Olympics at Casper Libero School, which is in the Gazette building. I arrived early for a change. I decide to seek an express across the street in the São Paulo beach building on Alameda Joaquim Eugenio de Lima. I worked there once, an English language school in 1980. Today it is Hooters restaurant chain, I realize with some amazement. 

In the lecture. a Spanish academic, Beatriz Garcia, defends the 2016 Games as a unique cultural opportunity, not only for the host city, but also for the country hosting the event. Sounds like music to my ears that idea. She gives examples of exhibitions and displays promoted outside of London, England, in 2012. The greatest legacy of the event is cultural, memory, says Beatriz. World (all) are looking at the moment, curious, at your country, she explains. It's good to think about how you want to be remembered. I can think of ideas for São Paulo. I'm a fan of megae-winds, I confess. I think in the Olympic festival of graphite, with the entire planet artists in our city. Maybe this-already being planned. I do not know if it's possible. Hope so. Would not it be great? 

Back to Paulista, ready for lunch, I go out toward the Consolation. The sidewalk is crowded out and about, as they say. Passing a young man tied to a new type of vehicle, skating mixed with unicycle, also known as unicycle, according to was hospitalized. This is going to work, I think. Maybe you should walk up the cycle path? The streets buzz gladdens my heart. I'm going in search for a spaghetti with chicken. Can you still get that? It's Thursday, after all.

VEJA Sao Paulo - 18 December 2015

Sorry about the poor OCR/translation...

Nothing to do with the problems of the world, just a peaceful  stroll along Avenida Paulista in the country of my retirement.

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