First of all, despite having been here for over a year already, I find it hard to accept the fact that 15 degrees celsius, or 60 degrees fahrenheit or so, is "cold." To me, this is perfect fall weather. I've always loved the fall and spring and mild temperatures in general. As much as I love beachin' it, and love feeling the sun on my face, there's almost something equally as magically in the São Paulo autumn drizzle. SP is known as the "cidade da garoa," or... "drizzle city," because of the constant light rain in the city - which apparently was much more frequent way back when.
However, this week dropped down to about 10 degrees C or so and it was NOT cool. No pun intended - it was cold, okay? Let me explain why... most apartments, homes and buildings here do not have heat. This means that for my shower in the morning, I have to put together mini sauna by closing the window and then turning on the hot water until its warm enough in the bathroom for me to actually undress and bathe. And then, I had to put on a t-shirt, sweater, and fall jacket... but this wasn't bad because I like pulling out my cute fall jackets every once in a while. However, since I'm still not convinced it's "the coldest," I've come across, I go outside with my hair wet and regret it immediately.
For me, the crazy São Paulo fall weather doesn't differ much from New England fall weather... it's the trying to figure out what's cold and what isn't that gets to me. After walking outside with my hair wet, I kept wondering what I would do in the U.S., since I definitely don't recall ever using a hair dryer on a regular basis. What would I do in the winter?! And how have I forgotten this already? And when is it okay to accept the fact I'm not used to New England weather anymore and should wear a scarf in 15 degree C weather?
This past weekend, one of my great friends from high school, Bruna (pictured right, looking over SP's sunset), came to visit. She's Brazilian and lives in the US, and decided to come visit her family in Parana (near Foz do Iguaçu) for a month - and since she's the best ever, she took a 2 day stop over in SP! :-D We did all sorts of fun things like, hot dogs and bars in Vila Madalena, shopping trips downtown, caldinho de feijão at Benedito Calixto, watching the sunset on Praça do Por do Sol, all you can eat sushi rodízio, frolicking on Av. Paulista and parque Trianon, coffee at Fran's Café at 2 AM, and meeting my friends all over the place (including a friend of mine I hadn't seen in years, who recently moved to SP!)
One place we also went to, which I can't get over yet, is this little jazz joint called, "Jazz nos Fundos," which literally translates to "Jazz in the Backyard." And which is, no joke, behind a parking lot in a warehouse. Nobody has ever "found" it driving by, because you can't! You walk through the driveway and are suddenly pleasantly surprised with this greatly lit hallway and you can hear the guitarrist Edu Letti improvising away along with the rest of his quintet (sax, bass, keyboard, and drums). You walk through the crowd that's sitting and chatting and standing and grooving, and you make your way to the bar and are face to face with a tall, handsome bartender in a white tshirt, order your Eisenbahn, Erdinger, or sake caipirinha with carambola (mmm...) and just close your eyes to listen to the music. This was the exact experience I had (well, I had the Eisenbahn), and it was everything wonderful. The whole night, my friends and I just chatted, drank, and listened to wonderful jazz in a lovely environment. For those in SP or planning to visit, I highly recommend checking it out. There's a R$15 well worth cover and drinks are reasonable. They don't accept cards, so if you don't want to spend much, just bring your R$15 ;-)
Here's a video I found from a night @ Jazz nos Fundos, FYE:
What do I mean by a "Fusca Story?" Fuscas are practically the Brazilian national vehicle because of its history in the country and appreciation of it to this day. Everyone in Brazil who hasn't already owned a fusca or whose mother, grandfather, sister and/or uncle have owned one - is lying. And if they're not lying, they don't know what they're missing out on. There are so many fuscas in Brazil that we don't play "punch buggie" here but "fusca azul," - so you're only allowed to punch when you see a blue buggie!
My uncle here in SP was a mechanic (before becoming a yoga instructor - talk about 180, eh?) and only owns VW today, including 2 fuscas. He had one stolen towards the end of last year and my cousins still mourn that car as if it were a pet who'd been in the family for years. But if you think about it, it almost was...
Saturday night, I went out with my cousin and a bunch of friends for a friend's birthday party, and on the ride home, with his VW Gol packed with 6 people since we gave a few of our friends a ride home, my cousin and his friends start talking about "that time," they packed his '68 fusca with 8 people (not the smallest of people either) down to the beach and how hysterical it was.
Then Sunday, I went to my aunt's house for Mother's Day and we went to my uncle's cousin's house for lunch and his cousin starts talking about the time he and his wife were with their kids on their way back from the river for the day and in their fusca, in the pouring rain, all of a sudden the windshield wipers broke... and they went all ghetto and tied their son's shoelaces to the wipers to manually move them. Mind you, we were all pealing with laughter at their kitchen table during this story and his wife, also crying from laughing so much says, "We laugh now, but I was horribly miserable at the time."
Needless to say, I've heard a number of these fusca stories... and I'm curious - do you have any histórias de fusca yourself? :-) And don't forget, comments in Portuguese are ALWAYS welcome on this blog!
(pictured: my cousin with his fusca at the beach - a 5 hour drive from SP; and the speedometer on the way to the beach).