I often speak of ‘going to the village’ or ‘going into town’. It has occurred to me that there are a lot of misconceptions in those two phrases, especially to those who are fairly new to my friends list. Where I live is by no means a ‘village’ and ‘town’ is something of a misnomer.
I live in a neighbourhood called Vila Zelina. It holds the Lithuanian community of São Paulo. Vila Zelina is situated on the outskirts of the city. I call it the village more because of its atmosphere. The village is centered around the square (it’s round) and the church. Though there are many churches and denominations here, this Catholic church is known as ‘a igreja’ or ‘the church’. The houses are built on top of each other much like all São Paulo suburbs, but there are fewer apartment blocks. In the slide show, you’ll see a couple of photos of how we look down on the neighbouring suburbs. We’re very high up here, which is a good thing in terms of all the rain Brazil is capable of.
São Paulo, the city itself, is another story. Vila Zelina is in São Paulo. São Paulo is the financial center of Brazil. It consists of the central city and outlying municipalities, altogether known as the greater São Paulo. The greater São Paulo has a population of around 20 million. When I speak of going into town, I mean going into the São Paulo city center. Sê is the heart of São Paulo. All streets are numbered and named from that point. The edges of the greater São Paulo extend up to a radius of 30km (18 miles) from that central point. That is a lot of people to squeeze into that area! Our traffic jams here are measured in kilometers. Tonight the backed up traffic totalled to 197km (122 miles). This city is Big!
I hope this gives you all a better idea of the world I live in and why I often speak of going into town as though it’s a major adventure.