Sonntag, 16. August 2009

new impressions and experiences

One week ago Marcelo, Aninha and I made a trip to Campos do Jordao which is considered to be the favourite winter holiday destination of the rich and famous in Brazil. It is located in 1628m of altidude in the mountains of the state Sao Paulo. The architecture of the city is similar to the one in a typical village in the swiss alps. There is an old bonde (tramway) which connects the two parts of the city Cristovao and Capivari. A very fascinating experience was the teleferico (chairlift) which carries you up the Morro de Elefante (Elephant mountain). It is like a chairlift which the Austrians of you know from skiiing, only that there is no snow;) (see foto) Campos do Jordao is said to be the coldest city in the state of Sao Paulo. But when Brazilians feel cold we Austrians still wear t-shirts and are sweating;)
Summarizing the trip was really great and we had a lot of fun and enjoyed great food and the famous BadenBaden Beer in a quite familiar atmosphere.

Of course I already enjoyed the sun and a marvelous beach in Caraguatatuba (Massaguacu Beach) I am just posting this pic to make you a little bit jealous ;)

On the 13th of August we celebrated my birthday in Sao Paulo in an Irish Pub which is called O'Malleys near metro station Consolacao. I can only recommend this place. It has fantastic imported beer, there is always a live band playing and a really nice and friendly attending. I celebrated with 2 friends of my apartment and FRIX a crazy Philippinan guy I met here in Sao Paulo at the first CS meeting.

By the way the CS meeting last week was absolutely awesome. There were more than 150 people (the majority Brazilians but also some gringos got lost in Sao Paulo and found there way to the meeting) I got to know some very interesting people and had some very nice conversations. It is really amazing how easy it is to make friends in Brazil. I tend to call this the Brazilian phenomenon. Not even one week in Sao Paulo has passed and the number of people I know here has almost trippeled. I had so many offers for partys and things to do on the weekend not even 5 people would have managed to fit all of this in their schedule. So it happens that the next 4 weekends to come are already planed out with trips and festas.

Before I forget my second mission to find a gym is already completed as well. I found one that meets my requirements and is 12min on foot from my apartment. So another thing less to worry about;)

Another interesting experience this week was to get to know Brazilian bureaucracy. In my opinion it should be spelled bureauCRAZY. I had to register my visum here in Brazil which turned out to be more complicated than just hand in a formular (like the nice lady in the Brazilian embassy in viena told me) I had to go to three different places to acquire some documents and pay an additional fee to the one I already paid in Austria. But nevertheless I have been successful and can now stay legally in Brazil for the rest of the time. The positive side of this experience is that I got to know the city better because I had to visit a lot of places which were quite far from each other and I got to know new people who shared the same faith with me. Like a polish girl, two germans, a Japanese and a Mexican guy. It was interesting to talk to them what they have experienced until now and the ones of us who live directly in Sao Paulo planed to meet each other for one or another beer. You can never know enough people in a big city like Sao Paulo ;) and you can never know enough people with which you can go out for a beer ;)

So tomorrow will be my first day of work! I am already quite curious how it is going to be. About I am not very curious is how it is going to be to go to work by crowded bus in a suit at about 27-30°C outside temperature. (and yes it is still winter here and the whole week in the morning it reached this temperature) So I think I am going to sweat a lot the next months;) What a lucky coincidence that I learned how to wash clothes the Brazilian way today ;)
Next time on my blog: Philipp's first week at the chamber of commerce in Sao Paulo! Check it out!

Dienstag, 11. August 2009

mission CS successful

After some trips in the inland and to the beaches of Sao Paulo and some couchsurfing in Sao Paulo city I can report my first mission as successfully completed. I have found a place in an apartment 20 min by bus from my work.(which for Sao Paulo is to be considered as really close) I am sharing it with 4 other brazilian students. This is a quite new and interessting experience for me. Like all Brazilians they are really friendly and welcoming. On my first evening we already went out together to have dinner and some beers. My room, as you can see on the foto is small but comfortable and for the little price I pay really more than I can expect. The district the apartment is situated in is considered as the second best and safest in Sao Paulo which is also a great advantage.(picture above: few from my new apartment) Everything you need from supermarkets, pharmacies, bars and discos is near by.
My second mission to find a gym near work and apartment is not completed yet but I have already made some helpful contacts in regard to this issue.
Tonight I am going to the CS meeting of Sao Paulo which is considered to be one of the biggest in the world. Let's see how this is going to be.
For more infos on this, my trips and yeah I nearly forgot next week will be my first day of work, see the following posts! I will keep you updated!

Sonntag, 2. August 2009

first impressions and experiences in Sao Paulo

So after having fought the swine flu and my first live experiences of the Brazilian healthcare system and medicines on my own body it was time for my first couchsurfing experience in Sao Paulo. I slept on the couch of Juliano, a young recently graduated Brazilian dentist. He lives next to Avenida Paulista, the principal avenue in the center of Sao Paulo. His apartment is in a luxurious building in the 35th floor. There is a gym, an outside and a heated inside pool, whirlpools, sauna and everything you may desire in the building. This can be quite welcome in Brazilian winter nights which as you can see in the picture above can be quite cold with 13 degrees celsius. (okay for an austrian who is sometimes happy when it has 13 degress in summer that's a joke but nevertheless i liked it)
Well this is one reality of Brazil and I am keane on getting to know the other side of it. I like couchsurfing more and more and it will still be very helpful on my journey through real Brazilian life.
Juliano was a really kind and friendly host like I am used to know it from Brazilians. He showed me around in the center, gave me some really helpful tips and even went with me the next day to show me my way to work and how to take the bus to go there.

The skyline of Sao Paulo is really impressing by night and by day. It is similar to the one in New York. This might be the reason why the call Sao Paulo the New York of Latin America. Although you can see by day that the buildings are older and not so well preserved like in the US-American metropole it does not lose in on it. Nevertheless I am starting to like Sao Paulo. I still have to localize me and find my way to this huge city. Unfortunately the public transport system is really far away from European standards and it can take you quite a while to go from A to B by bus or metro. So I will have to look for couchsurfing hosts who live in neighbourhood districts of my work in order to not having to travel one hour or even more in the morning. My first work day will be the 17th of August which leaves me still some time to get to know this conglomerate of millions of buildings, people and cars.
Yesterday I was invited to the house of my friend to eat the famous Brazilian dish feijoada (for more information see the brazilian food section of my blog) I really enjoyed it but also came to the conclusion that I will have to find a gym soon in order to fight the calories of the huge amounts of delicious Brazilian food I am enjoying every day.
So my next two missions are:
1) find a new CS home proximate to work (if possible with the option to stay longer)
2) find a gym with a reasonable price and also proximate to work
See my next entry for a report on my mission progress!