I woke up Monday morning, turned on my phone to see what Monday emails I needed to handle and my Google Calendar lovingly reminded me that today was Presidents Day in the US. YES! A day to go out and see Sao Paulo. My son was very nice, and woke up at 6 am because Day Light Saving time has ended and his little body has not adjusted. I am pretty sure that after Monday he’s adjusted (nope still wakes up at 6am). As this Saturday was a waste, I thought I would try and see the Mercado Municipal today– this time by train.
I took Frank, as he speaks Portuguese, and I thought he could be of help in navigating the train system. That was a mistake, as I then relied on his judgement and his understanding of words, and blindly followed. Frank DOES speak Portuguese, but he’s not from Sao Paulo any more than I am, so wasn’t much help in navigating. In fact, after a brief conversation with some women on the train he said that we should get off one stop late, and one transfer less at Dom Pedro II, as it was “a closer walk.” As you can see from the map we got off on the other side of the freeways, which meant we got to walk alongside/underneath the freeway down an empty road with the filthy river on one side, and a large open grass field on the other. Well we weren’t completely alone, there were all the squatters that called this area home. Yeah, not the smartest area for some white chic from LA to be walking through with her little baby.
I have since learned that Brazilian’s are helpful people. Even if they don’t know how to get somewhere they’ll give you directions anyway. This probably explains why Frank asked for directions no less than 3 different times every time he had to ask for direction (which was quite a few). Even better was when we crossed over the bridge into the “bum park” as I lovingly called the park with piles of rotting vegetables scattered through out, and little outcroppings of bums of all ages sitting around fires or food, or just sitting. As we entered the park it began to
unleash the fury of mother nature rain on us. Yay for me.
The Mercado itself isn’t somewhere I would make time to to to in the future. It’s kind of a “hey, I’ve seen it. It’s cool,” kind of thing. Lots of cheese, spice, fruit and meat stands everywhere. I bought a bunch of spices for cooking, and for the most part, I think it was a nice deal.
But I’m sure I could have picked them up at my neighborhood Fiera or the grocery store too. The fruit prices were crazy expensive, and the types of fruit were also crazy. Giant strawberry’s were R$89 a kilo. The below photos, show Caju fruit, Mangosteen, and Rambutan. I guess if you really wanted to try these exotic fruits fresh, this would be a place to do it.
There were a lot of little sandwich shops to eat at. Below is a photo of Pão Paulistano (a Paulistano is someone from Sao Paulo). They’re big on baking their luncheon meat (which I detest as it just doesn’t seem like real meat, but the cheapest luncheon meat you can buy) and cheese into bread.
And lots of salted and cured meat to go with all of the cheese.
They also really love their salt cod here. Who knew. I haven’t yet ventured a taste, but there were large bins of it everywhere.
Towards the back are the butchers. I guess if I was in the mood for buying a whole pig this would be the place to go! The last little piggy I find slightly disturbing as I can see his little tail and everything, looks less like meat and more like Babe!