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Out of the bubble......... One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.-- Henry Miller

Our first “little” weekend in the 7th biggest city in the world.

BRAZIL | Wednesday, 16 October 2019 | Views [74]

São Paulo

São Paulo

Note: world nomads won’t let me insert any links or photos right now....I will try later...

October 14th.

Somehow we landed us a WarmShower gig at a retired university professor with his wife and her momma. 

Riding up from the coast AND through São Paul to his home was one enormous day! Our park security friends back on our dream road had warned us about the favelas entering the city with it’s 12. + million people. My awareness was extremely heightened when we exited the highway following google directions. I felt like I had grown eyes all around my head and sadly enough every person was suspicious to me wanting to take parts of my Gurly, all of her, me, James, my money, my passport..... I don’t want to be that way!!! But I also don’t want to be “blue eyed”.....ignorant....... if not to say: stupid! We’ve been so lucky...no need to push it!

Keep moving...and -of course- we entered smack into rush hour traffic on a Friday afternoon. 

Off the highway, we crossed an 18 lane road (both ways) on a pedestrian pass which had a nice, wide, easy ramp up and then down on the other side. Now we had a sweet little bike path to follow for a while,  but then we stood in front of some steep stairs with a 15 inch wide “ramp” at an almost 45 degree angle on a pedestrian bridge leading across a bunch of railways......: Not with our bikes....not with 60kg each. That narrow, sweet little bike path led us to this disaster, spiced with some shady personalities, undesirable fragrances and no other way out, no elevator, no handicap access.......railways on one side and 18 lane traffic on the other. James tried to scout out some alternatives, while I watched both bikes like a hawk. Two young guys watched us...others just picked up their feather light commuter bikes and hurried up and down the stairs while I got to watch. I chewed on my dirty fingers while I waited for James to hopefully come back with better news. It took way too long...with no rewarding news, except that there was an easy ramp down on the other side where we eventually needed to go.

How? Take the bags off the bikes? Leave them unattended while running up and down this thing? Leave the bikes unattended while picking up the bags? Not quite as bad as Sophie’s choice, but still....

The two guys were still watching...then they talked to each other....I looked at them....they approached....and in unmistakable gestures showed us that they are going to help us carry our bikes to the top. And they did!! Good people everywhere! Don’t forget! Big smiles....heartfelt “OBRIGADOS” (for that and other reasons: my faith in humanity restored..... yet again.) Our first human connection in the city of São Paulo: ✅

Our professor has much energy and seems to be delighted to take it out on us! With no days rest (after our arrival in São Paulo which was an adventure of and in itself as you probably read prior to this entry), we were invited to cycle to his little birth village of 

Vila de Paranapiacaba. 

This charming village was established during the middle of the 19th century; it was designed by Jeremy Bentham according to a prison model style.It was founded by the British-owned São Paulo Railway Company. The construction of this zig-zag railway line in the hilly local terrain was considered a feat by the British engineers and workers at the time. The town was built when the company built the railway line to export coffee beans from the area through the port Santos. The village prospered for 30 years, until automated machinery replaced the funicular, which was labor-intensive. The village's population suddenly declined and many of its buildings were abandoned.At one time, there were 4,000 workers, most of them British citizens. The last steam train in Paranapiacaba was deactivated for labor work in 1982.

 

Arnaldo’s father’s job was to keep this Lokomotive running.

City design:

Paranapiacaba was designed in a special model style. Because of its remoteness, the town has been well preserved. The buildings were all of English style (even the large homes were of Victorian style) built with wood and bricks.The houses in the town are all made of timber and looks like a mofussil area of Surrey. The town was laid out in the 1890s in a grid pattern. Even though Brazil attained independence in 1822, its architectural styles were influenced by Portuguese colonizers and by the British.The town is stated as having more English architecture than perhaps anywhere else in the country.

Here it’s remote location, so you get an idea.

Santo André - State of São Paulo, Brazil

https://goo.gl/maps/R6HgnTdUSK5EdYCt6

 

Sunday, Funday!

We met up with our host’s friend

 

and were safely escorted by the two of them through the funnest parts of the city’s downtown where the main road “Avenida Paulista” 

 

first constructed in 1891

 

is closed to motor vehicles on Sundays. Here the history of Sao Paulo’s battle to become a cycle-able city. Super sad and terrifying but successful at the end:

 

and it’s famous park: Ibirapuera.

 

was packed full with “happy campers” of the city.

 

During the week, cycling is more about commuting and our host advised us to stay in his comfy home and rest. He has some night rides plant for us when the city is calmer and the “have to hurry” traffic is more subdued. 

It is a pleasure to be guests in his house with his family members and the energy of cycling as a high priority.

We are pretty much staying put until that “big metal bird” will take us next Monday straight across the Atlantic, to another city, to another country, to another continent called: Cape-Town, South Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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