The time had finally arrived, time to leave Trindade. Goodbye to days spent meandering between the beach and a bean bag. There really is no comparison between going to the park in the morning or for a swim in the ocean, which is why I am now sitting in this Sao Paulo hostel feeling a little confused by life. I just wish everything was simpler. Need to buy some cake? Go to the corner shop. Need to buy some cachaca? Go to the corner shop. Ice? Corner shop. How about a drink? The beach. A swim? Beach. You get the idea, for the last four weeks I’ve only ever had about four options for all my day-to-day goings-ons (although this is slightly a lie seeing as beach in Trindade means about seven different beaches and going for a swim could be the sea or the river). Now I have a multitude of options, Sao Paolo is the third biggest city in the world, and truth is I think it’s swallowing me up!
It’s a good job then that I had some kind of clear objective for when I arrived here. Last time I came I just wanted to discover a little of Sao Paulo. Without any particular aim this is kind of tricky. I meandered between museums and fruit markets, which dazzled my eyes for short interludes, but then when I got back on the street, took my map out and got metro’d away to another stop, I was none the wiser for where I had been or even if I knew what the hell this place is. I am still struggling to find out its identity, and am increasingly thinking it has none. Whereas Rio seems to act as the first point as Brazil starts to become more Northern (despite being geographically in the South), where the african influence begins to have a greater say over colonial memories, Sao Paulo is outweighed by the feeling of being very Southern. With my newly-Trindade-assisted-tan I look more Brazilian than many of these chalky-white Brazilians walking the streets (although strangely I’ve been asked if I am Italian three times in the last two days).
Truth is that maybe everyone living in this city are here to party and/or work, neither of which are things that I feel inclined to do. Work is definitely out of favour at the moment, and money is too low to think about spending it on club entrance fees or over-priced caipirinhas. My job here is to find vinyl records and go to a football game. Both of which have been achieved quite successfully. I now have a rucksack weighed down by old MPB (Brazilian pop music), thanks to record fayres, various flea markets and a gallery (Galeria Nova Barao) that is filled with vinyl record shops – Sao Paulo is definitely a great place to buy records! Out of three records that I dreamed of owning I managed to get two. Tropicalia – Ou Panis et Circensis and Os Novos Baianos’ Acabou Chorare are now officially mine, Jorge Ben’s Africa Brasil unfortunately the one that got away.
On the football side I got lucky that the Sao Paulo classic was taking place, Corinthians v Sao Paulo, which meant the chance to see Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos playing live for the first time in my life. There seemed to be something else on Ronaldo’s mind but Roberto Carlos didn’t look too far off his former glories, speeding down the left at every opportunity and setting up one goal with a free kick that was too hot for the keeper to handle. Corinthians took a 2-1 lead into half-time, along with a one-man advantage as one of the Sao Paulo managed to get sent off for some ridiculous foul which I never got the chance to see because I was still celebrating Corinthians last goal. Corinthians then made it 3-1 before inexplicably Sao Paulo lofted over two free kicks in 5 minutes to bring it level. As the atmosphere in the Corinthians end started to turn sour and I was starting to feel like I really didn’t want to be there they got the winner in the last minute. An absolute classic!
And that’s about it. Today I head off to Rio for a final few days before the big plane heads into the sky and takes me away from this place.