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The streets of São Paulo

11 Aug

SP streets

I went in this morning to collect my sewing machine. When Jorge called for the quote, he was told that the bobbin was cracked (it is plastic). I said… no way. I’m going in myself to check. Turns out the guy he spoke to though tit was cracked, but what he was seeing was the slot for securing the thread. My machine is purring like a well-oiled engine. Music to my ears! The guy who worked on it has probably been working on those machines since the the old treadle machines.

The bus we took was one of those that take you on a ‘tour’ of the city before you get to your destination. Talk about a long drawn-out route. We arrived close to our destination with just a few blocks to walk. I was in for a surprise.

One thing I continually find fascinating about São Paulo is the sectorised shopping. If you’re looking for jeans, there will be an entire street, often a few streets, that only sell jeans. The same goes for wedding dresses, kitchen implements, shoes, trainers (yes, trainers have their own ‘section’). Whatever you’re looking for, there is bound to be a sector selling just varieties of that item. Today, we were in the fabrics, needlework, and sewing machine sectors.

Walking to the street with the sewing machines was a treat… fabric stores both sides of the road with tons of variety! The area was surprisingly clean and well kept considering it was close to the center of town. What a pleasure. Apparently, it used to be the old Jewish quarter. We passed a fairly run-down synagogue on our way out, which was still in use. Today, the area has more Koreans in, apparently. Now I know where the fabrics are, I replenish my stock when I’m done sewing up what I’ve got. I saw the tracksuiting was only R$13/meter… a pretty good price. Hm… that is about US$8/yard. I don’t know how that compares to overseas prices.

When we’d done there, we went to see if we could get a new seal for my pressure cooker. That was trickier. They don’t work with serial numbers, but want to see the parts, so we’ll have to go back. Jorge can do that another day. The walk back was long. We left the Jewish quarter and went home via Estação da Luz, through the center of the city, past Sê Cathedral, and on to Liberdade, the Japanese quarter. We arrived just in time to get the bus going home.

On our way home, there was a bit of a fracas over some street kids who were riding holding onto the back of a bus ahead of us. Just a slip and those kids would fall under the car or bus behind. Very dangerous. Later, an old lady got on the bus. I think she must have been quite a beauty in her heyday. She greeted everyone, then looked over our way and commented on my, to put it euphemistically, rosy cheeks. The reality was that I was toasting and I always look like a broiled lobster when hot. Without a word from me (I had given her a rather embarrassed smile), she went on about how her grandparents on one side were German and Italian and on the other side were Spanish and Arab. She then looked at me again and said, "You don’t speak Portuguese, do you?" in Portuguese, of course. I said ‘no’ and she went on, slower, with hand signals, that underneath all our blood is red and how she wishes me well from her heart to mine. She was so sweet. I spoke about two words the whole time. She just chattered away : ) I love chatting to the old folk. I get frustrated here when I don’t understand them. I think this lady had a wealth of stories to tell. Our trip home then took us through the favela where I learned something interesting. I’ll post on that later.
 
In short, it was a fairly successful morning. The skies are clear, the air fresh, the sun shining… a great day for getting out. 

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Posted by on August 11, 2008 in brazil, sao-paulo

 

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