Clayton, Brett, and I landed back in São Paulo around Saturday afternoon and found an Airbnb in the Vila Madalena district — just in the heart of the artistic center of the city. It was a stylish, modern apartment owned by a married couple who lived somewhere else in the building, and — of course, as Brett would always prefer — it had a pool.
We walked around the neighborhood a little bit, and found a small garage that was converted to a European-style storefront that served craft beers from around Brazil. It was there that I decided to buy my roommate a particular brand of IPA and attempt to smuggle it back to the US. It also started to rain. Oddly, though it was a complete downpour, the afternoon sun was still shining. Now if there was anything that I’ve learned about Brazil, everything about the country is beautiful: the peculiar weather and setting sun cast a warm, golden glow between the alleys and hilly roads of Vila Madalena, it almost looked like a Fanta soda video — the one where a bunch of scantily clad models in purple and orange bask in the golden, afternoon sun and someone decides to open a fire hydrant and pass around free bottles of pop. You can almost say it looked like a golden shower you’d want to be caught under.
After the skies cleared up, we walked to Beco Do Batman, the famous series of alleys known for their government-protected street art. I was naturally enamored with the graffiti and had to take photos, so much so that the memory on my cellphone filled up and I was forced to delete some precious images from elsewhere on my trip. There’s something about the art in Brazil that is completely distinct from anything I’ve seen in New York or even around the world; perhaps — at least in my opinion — Brazil’s unique style combines Japanese, French, and American aesthetics when it comes to graphic design and street art, but there is a definitive touch of tropical sensibility mixed into their artists’ work.
Ultimately, we called it an early night. None of us really wanted us to deal with the saturated nightlife of Vila Madalena, as the bars and clubs tend to spill over into the streets, and maneuvering around anywhere by foot is frustrating. I checked my email, worked on some videos I wanted to publish, and went to bed.
The next day (with only a few hours remaining before I flew back to New York), the three of us found Coffee Lab near our Airbnb, a neat cafe located in a two-story house that also serves as the manufacturing facility for their somewhat renowned coffee. I had some delicious pour over espresso and for breakfast, a coffee-braised beef stew over toast. The coffee was so good, I decided to buy packages of beans for both Gino/Monica and my roommates. I figured it’d be a nice gift from Brazil, especially since they love fresh ground coffee as much as they do drinking themselves stupid with alcohol.
After finishing our coffee, Clayton, Brett and I had one last beer together at a nearby bar, and then we headed downtown to attend Brett’s friend Marcel’s Easter dinner. After finishing a traditional meal of eggs, fish, and rice (as well as a few glasses of wine), I took a taxi to Guarulhos Airport to return back to New York, back to reality.
Tchau, Brazil! Obrigado.
I’ll write a post-mortem on the entirety of my Brazil trip (along with photos from my DSLR), but in the meantime, here are some pics from my cellphone: