Sunday, February 20, 2022

[SÃO PAULO] But What If You Actually Lived Here?

And that’s the bad side. The itinerary for the day was originally meant for the Museu de Lingua Portuguesa which is also at the Luz railway station but since entrance is free on Saturdays, the line was just too long. And so, I decided to just ditch that plan and head to the huge park across the street for a stroll. The park is called Parque Jardim da Luz and is a peaceful sanctuary in the middle of SP’s urban chaos. The park has a small pond with koi and some big fish swimming in green, moldy, shallow waters.

The land area is big enough to find a quiet spot of your own, although it is not that extensive if all you want to do is cross it to get to the next Metro station which is Tiradentes. Yes, the northern edge of the park is closer to that MRT station, while the southern edge is right across the street from Luz, that iconic old railway station I was talking about earlier. Anyway, the park also houses a building called Pinacoteca, an art museum. Since I am not a fan of art, I said pass.

The next day was reserved for another park, this time farther down south. It’s called Ibirapuera and is a must-see according to many people here, locals and tourists alike. Before heading there, I decided to indulge on some TGI Fridays whiskey glazed chicken first, which had me malling at Shopping Morumbi. It took two MRT transfers to get there from Sé, but well worth it in my opinion. The weird thing is that malls here in Brazil seem all too quiet on Sunday mornings. Most of the shops were closed when I arrived at 12 in the afternoon and only started opening at around past 1.

Now this area seems to be more upscale than the old city center. High rise buildings are visible everywhere you look, even though the overall motif they subscribe to tend to be the boring and uniform white with a dash of primary colors here and there. The mall is upscale alright, and people started to multiply as the shops opened their doors. After my sumptuous lunch, I decided to take a stroll all the way to Brooklin station to avoid an extra half hour travel time on the Metro.

I hopped off Purple Line 5 at AACD Servidor, which is right by the entrance of a hospital. The walk to Ibirapuera park takes a bit longer from there. But then again, what can I do? This is the nearest MRT station, and I didn’t want to figure out São Paulo’s bus system, you know. The stroll was chill, though, as long as you can find some shade. En route to one of the park’s south entrances, I passed by an open-gate subdivision with gated big houses. A bit Green Meadows but not quite Forbes Park. In any case, the exclusive feel made the stroll way different than when you are walking down the alleys of Praça da Sé.

The park entrance was rather unassuming and quiet, which led me to believe that perhaps the stroll was not going to be worth it. However, look at the map again and you will see how huge this park actually is. As I walked farther and farther in, that was when the place came alive with throngs of people biking, rollerblading, skateboarding, jogging, working out. That’s when I appreciated the place much more. I mean, it is full of people, but still manages to give off a chill and peaceful vibe, which is what I was really looking for that afternoon to be honest.

Since the park is huge, it also houses a museum or two and two lakes. If you came for sightseeing, then you might want to check out either São Paulo’s Museum of Modern Art or the Afro-Brazil Museum. The Contemporary Art Museum is also within the vicinity, not in the park itself like the other two but rather across the road via the Passarela Ciccilo Matarazzo. Back to the park, there’s also a Japanese pavilion there somewhere. Vendors hawk their stuff all over the park and they accept all kinds of payment options including credit cards, so it’s not really a big deal if you didn’t bring anything for your picnic.

As for me, I came to chill. Choose a random patch of green grass. Sit down. Watch the skater boys and skater girls try their luck with the paved concrete. All chill. All in all, this is perhaps the best way to end this São Paulo trip. The next time I come back or if I decide to live here temporarily, at least I’d know where to establish a home base.

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