Saturday, May 08, 2004

American Airlines Lounge São Paulo International Airport

What a sorry excuse for an airport lounge. I guess I can´t expect much more than a free cup of coffee; this place has not been refurbished since the early 1980s, and all of the food is either breakfast pastries shinkwrapped or hot dog buns. At least it is quieter than the airport gate.

Thursday night we all went to this place called Miller, Goddard & Cia. Ltda. It was in the Brooklin area of São Paulo. The place was totally fun, it was like a nice pub. It was interesting, when you arrive you are given a card with a price for drinks on one side and a price for food on the other. You can choose either or both, and that much is required to be paid at least by the end of the evening. You can go over that price if you want, but you have at least that minimum. As you select things from the menu, they are checked off on the list. As you leave, they check your card at the door and add up the total, and you pay the minimum or the entire amount, whichever is greater. It ensures a minimum revenue for the bar and a way to track your budget for the customer.

Anyways, the place was very charming, with lots of tables and wood walls with photos and old magazine articles, photos of São Paulo. There was a band in the far corner, and they were VERY fun, starting with a disco version of "Killing Me Softly With His Song," then a disco version of "Have You Ever Seen The Rain." People were getting pretty drunk, and having a great time, and dancing around the tables. It was fun! Later, after a break, the band played all of these traditional Brazilian dance songs that my colleagues said are popular in Rio. It was really fun. I also had some cachaça finally - boy is that strong stuff! Caiprihinas are made with lime and cachaça, and are kind of like a strong margarita. I only had one and had a headache all the next day.

On Friday, it was raining so bad, I did work in my room and then decided to risk it and venture out to the Paulista and Jardim areas. Just as I arrived, the sun came out and it was beautiful! I walked all around the neighborhood, it is so incredibly gorgeous - big houses and apartment buildings, all either traditional or modern. Big walls around some houses, and very very lush with lots of trees. The hills are very steep, like in San Francisco. I walked along a street called Oscar Firiere (sp?). Extremely expensive but charming, lots of cute little boutiques. I got some traditional Brazilian art in one, and I also got a CD (Madonna - American Life - only R$12, which is like US$4).

I walked up to Avenida Paulista, which is the centre of the financial district. People everywhere, and the huge street - really a boulevard - was packed with people! It was very nice, and the sun was out. I ended up at the MASP - Museo Art da São Paulo - which is a stunningly modern building, but I had no time to get into it. My car back to the hotel was waiting!

Traffic was bad, but when I got back to the hotel, I was sad to say goodbye to everyone. A beautiful gift was on my bed, wrapped so nicely. I will really miss this place! Later in the evening, I went with some hotel staff to dinner at TriBeCa, which is in the Itaim district. Very nice place, and again, great food. I had duck ravioli. Yum.

Ok, I gotta go. My flight is waiting... next stop, Mendoza Argentina via Santiago Chile!

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