The main reason for the trip to São Paulo was to be padrinhos for our friend's wedding. On Saturday evening, we got to play dress up and take part in their special day.
We clean up nicely! :) (My dress is from Japanese designer Tadashi Shoji)
Traditions: (from what I learned)
-padrinhos are chosen as couples by the bride and groom respectively. We were chosen by the groom and got to sit on his side of the altar. Padrinhos are like the "godparents" of the marriage. I believe there were 6 couples on each side.
-Men wear suit and tie, women (madrinha) must wear a floor length gown, not black (funeral) or white.
The wedding was beautiful, and the bride and groom looked so freaking happy to be standing up saying their vows in front of several hundred people. I might have even shed a few tears ;)
The bride wore a custom designed dress and looked absolutely beautiful, the groom wore an all white suit which was just plain awesome.
The coffee here is amazing. It's strong, dark, and served in a small cup- no venti, green mermaid drinks found here. (Ok ok, there are a few Starbucks, but Brasilian tradition is for the smaller potent coffees, larger coffees are lost on people here)
These smaller coffees are something that I'll be adopting in the US. I see no need to drink 20oz of coffee, when a small shot will do just fine. The cappuccinos were a little larger and quite delicious! Muito Bom!
Traditionally, they are made by muddling cut up pieces of lime with sugar, add some ice and then cachaça. Easiest mixed drink ever! In any restaurant you go in SP, you can find endless varieties of fruits and liqueurs. (Sake, and vodka are also popular alternatives to cachaça)
My favorite- with passion fruit, red fruits, tangerine and sake. It also came with a passion fruit Popsicle. So refreshing on a summer day!
The 9 others I had-
Row 1: passion fruit, lemon, strawberry basil.
Row 2: cashew fruit, grape/star fruit, seriguela fruit.
Row 3: lychee, basil/tangerine/ginger, kiwi.
While cachaca is traditional, I prefer sake because the flavor of the alcohol doesn't overpower the fruit.
Overall, Brasilian women "dress up." While walking in old town, I saw a very pregnant woman walking around looking chic in a dress and high heels. People are not afraid to wear colors and stand out.
I saw a woman working out in the gym in a similar getup. This is something I cannot get on board with ;)
I was blown away by the quality of the produce here. Even in the restaurants, the food tasted so much fresher and of better quality than in the USA.
Coxinha from the best place in São Paulo- Frango! Coxinha are made of shredded chicken and then deep fried. These were delicious with some cold beer and weren't greasy at all.
São Paulo is a fantastic large city. Crime is definitely something to be concerned about while visiting. For this reason, as well as São Paulo not being a touristy place, I would absolutely not recommend visiting here unless you know people who can take you around. Since you must take a cab nearly everywhere- and this city is massive and spread out, you would need to know fluent Portuguese and also the exact directions on how to get to your destination because cab drivers don't always know the correct way. I'm sure Rio is a little more tourist friendly.
In regards to FIFA World Cup 2014, and the 2016 Olympics, Brasil is not equipped to handle the influx of visitors. Nearly all international flights land in São Paulo and the airport is not large enough to handle it. Above are the lines for 4-5 different airlines on Sunday night. And L was surprised it wasn't busy. I thought it was chaos!
On another note, I am absolutely humbled by how L's friends and family welcomed me into their family even though I can't speak Portuguese. They went out of their way to make me feel comfortable, which made this visit an amazing experience.
I'm counting the days until I am able to return to this beautiful country.